Automobile process and also have an “omni-channel” experience.

Automobile Aftermarket challenges unravelled!

Aftermarket industry is the market for spare parts, accessories, and components for motor vehicles. This industry is evolving fast and is expected to reach more than $486 billion by 2025. That’s great news for businesses looking to sell auto parts! That being said, it is found that the traditional aftermarket industry comes with several challenges. One of the most important challenges it faced was to have an online presence! To support that, it is found that the trend of customer intention to buy auto parts online, doubled, in a span of 3 years. Also, it is an interesting find that there are 70 million auto parts searches every month on google! This goes to show that aftermarket industry can have great success online! Also, this led to the dealers to seek for a solid ecommerce solution to meet their own needs as well as their customers. Also, aftermarket customers expect an omni-channel experience when they want to buy auto parts.

Automobile aftermarket industry’s challenges are huge given the complexities it entails. One solution to solve these complexities is to have an online presence i.e aPM1  good ecommerce solution. This is also great because ecommerce businesses are trending and the need for it for the aftermarket industry is explained. Let us identify the pain points of the aftermarket industry and find out how they can be addressed with an ecommerce system (online presencePM2 ). Further to this the business can also go for an integrated system. An integrated system predominantly is a connected system which will integrate your physical store, your ecommerce system, ERP (An ERP management information system integrates areas such as planning, purchasing, inventory, sales, marketing, finance and human resources. It is a data repository that holds informationPM3 .), online marketplace (An online marketplace (or online e-commerce marketplace) is a type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operatorPM4 ) and many other systems. This will lead to having same information on all the systems at all time. This will make it easier for businesses to have a streamlined process and also have an “omni-channel” experience.

Following are some of the challenges of an Automobile aftermarket industry:

1.       Difficulty in order processing (Talk about Omni channel and multi channel and how it helps them in easy order processing)

Order processing in the automobile aftermarket industry can be complex because it comprises of multiple components and customizations. Selling multiple components on a daily basis in a physical store requires manpower and is a tedious task. It can take up a lot of time and effort. Most aftermarket businesses use ERP to store all the product information. Order processing is a work-flow associated with the picking, packing and delivery of the packed items to a shipping system.  Picking, packing and delivery of the automobile parts can be a tedious task. If you have a physical store, the customer would be completely oblivious of these processes or might have to contact the sales agent to get information about it.  

Firstly having your business online or an ecommerce solution can eliminate having to sell products individually with the help of manpower. So investment in getting manpower can be eliminated. By having an ERP system in place, one can store all the details related to inventory, shipping details, packaging details etc in one system.

What you need to have is an integrated solution between your ERP and eCommerce platform. What an integrated solution does is it connects your ERP and your ecommerce site and have all your data stored in both ERP and well as your ecommercePM5  site.  With an ecommerce site, the customer places an order online. With an integrated solution, the customer can log in to the online site, view the order, download the invoice and track the shipment. Similarly, if a customer places an order online and then calls to speak to a representative, the order details will also be available to the person handling the ERP.PM6 

Giving your customers the freedom to place orders online and giving your sales team continuous access to real-time information is a massive step that can be taken toward simplifying your order processes.

2.       Product search complexityPM7 

Another aspect that costs a lot of time and effort in the aftermarket industry is finding the right product that the customer is looking for. In a physical store you need a person or group of people showing the kind of products that the buyer is interested in buying. But with an ecommerce site, all the product details can be shown with a click of a button. In a physical store, the customer has to go through a vast product catalogue before he decides to buy any product. This can cost a lot of time and energy. Building an ecommerce site with the help of an ecommerce platform, the customer can search the specific product he/she is looking for by using the product search functionality. The product search functionality asks for you to feed in details related to the product after which it searches for the exact product the customer is looking for.

3.       Payment and shipping prone to errors

 

Aftermarket has an overwhelming number of products to keep track of and some products may need many people to install it. Shipping involves transport of products from the inventory or warehouse to the customer’s delivery address. Shipping details are ideally stored in the ERP. For shipping to be done, one needs to have the customer address details to where the product is to be shipped. Without having an online presence the sales agent might have to take the address details manually from the customer which can lead to errors.

With the establishment of an ecommerce site one can easily find the delivery address details of the customer. Further to this, with integration between ecommerce site and ERP, customers can see the shipping details on the ecommerce site. There is complete transparency when you integrate ecommerce site and your ERP.PM8 

Payment of automobile parts in a physical store involves selling the product and accepting cash or credit card and completing the procedure. The challenge is that the customer needs to visit the physical store everytime he wants to make a payment. It gets even more difficult when he does not have cash at that particular time when he is buyingPM9 .

With an ecommerce site the customer can make the payment at his own convenient time with various payment options. In a good ecommerce platform one can integrate different payment methods.

4.       Difficult to cross sell and up sell Products to Customers

 

Selling of auto parts presents us with a host of opportunities to upsell and cross sell products and boost overall sales. An example of cross sell in automobile industries is offering a warranty on a new car purchase. An example of upselling would be selling a car with an upgraded version like a better engine capacity or a car with more seating capacity. In a physical store you need a sales agent who can cross sell and upsell merely by interacting with the customer. While upselling and cross selling is possible in a physical store, it requires lot of time and energy.

With an ecommerce solution i.e having an online presence, businesses have the opportunity to cross sell and up sell their products in a more efficient way. Any ecommerce platform has up sell and cross sell functionality options. In Magento ecommerce platform, cross-sell products are displayed in the shopping cart. The reasoning is, if you place a product in the cart, they want to entice you to add one of the associated cross sell products, also. The up-sell relation is to sell a better, newer, or generally more expensive variation of the product the customer is viewing. They are displayed on the product detail page.PM10 

 

5.       Inaccuracy in sales forecasts

Sales forecasting means identifying how much sales can happen in the future. The inaccuracies in the sales forecasts from the dealers in the aftermarket industry can lead to over stock and under stock of the products. Over stocking happens when a customer asks for a product and you say that the stock is not available but in reality the product is available. Under stock is when you say the product is available but there is no stock in the inventory. In a physical store this may lead to customer dissatisfaction and because of which you may lose a customer.

Inorder to avoid this problem, not only will an online presence of the store be helpful, a seamless integrated system is necessary. One of the greatest challenges decision-makers face is the availability of accurate and actionable information. In this case dealers who are the decision makers might end up making errors in forecasting sales. For a business lacking integration between critical systems like ecommerce and ERP, loss can happen. So an integration between ecommerce and ERP can help businesses get access to reliable and accurate data, which can be used for sales forecasting. Not only that you can now use data analytics to get actionable insights and build reports with data collected from multiple systems. The insights gathered can then be used to drive more sales with targeted campaigns and informed sales decisions.

What more can you have with integration and an ecommerce solution!

Personalization: Personalisations create a sense of individuality and uniqueness for the customers. Customers feel special. You can know things like order history, personalized product recommendations, personalized social proof notifications, personalized triggered emails, repeat ordering etc. An ecommerce solution can let you have all this. PM11 

Good customer experience: A good customer experience is paramount inorder to have customer loyalty. With an integrated system between ERP and ecommerce site it’s easy for customers to find the right product, and have enough product information. Also have simplified checkout process, order status details, shipping status details and multiple payment options.

                Here are some stats for you!

Some of the biggest players in automobile aftermarket ecommerce industry are Alibaba group, Amazon.com,Inc., Auto Zone, Pep Boys, Tire Rack and so on. As per estimates provided by a report by Transparency Market Research, the global e-commerce automotive aftermarket is likely to register a phenomenal 18.5% CAGR for the forecast period between 2017 and 2025. Expanding at this pace, the market will be valued at US$137 bn by 2025 vis-à-vis revenue. In terms of volume, 2.4 million shipments were recorded in the overall market in 2016.

I95dev always aims to help you!PM12 

Automobile aftermarket industry is shifting its gear towards ecommerce business as the sales of Auto parts continue to grow. Also, i95dev recognizes that the need for an integrated system in an automobile aftermarket industry is crucial. I95dev specialises in magento development and integration services. I95dev has constantly helped its clients have a seamless integrated system across industries. I95dev would be glad to help your business have a great online presence as well as a robust integrated e-commerce solution.