The shift in sales from brick-and-mortar to the online platform is a disruption in itself. Consumers are increasingly leaning towards digital transactions for most of their purchases. According to Salesforce, even if the customers wish to buy offline, 85% of them consider conducting online research first. As far as the automotive eCommerce trends are concerned, car buying might still continue to follow the research online buy offline model, but for auto parts, users are certainly embracing the research online and buy online approach.
The auto industry—which includes sales of cars, light trucks, auto parts, and accessories—represents 23.7% of all US retail sales, making it the largest retail sector – eMarketer
An eMarketer forecast predicts e-commerce spending on automotive (including parts) to reach $81.64 billion by 2022.
These stats indicate an enormous scope and opportunity for an eCommerce platform where consumers can discover, research, and conveniently buy auto parts. The automotive retail business model promises considerable revenues.
While you decide to venture in automotive commerce and draw a strategy for your business, here’s the most widely asked question:
Is Selling Through an Intermediate Good for an Automotive eCommerce Business?
Most businesses have been selling through Amazon or eBay to avoid the inflated costs that go into building a distinctive online store. But, that’s not a very favorable decision, especially when you are sharing a fragment of profit with another eCommerce platform.
Why not work towards establishing your own platform? In this era, where reaching the consumer is possible with multiple digital touchpoints, the chances of standing out and making your presence felt are quite high.
Here’s a relatable example – We helped Euro Car Parts, UK’s largest car parts supplier build a multi-channel eCommerce solution and a dedicated content management system to manage their product catalog. The solution not only assisted them in optimizing the website speed but also helped organize their data in a single, manageable repository. You can hover onto the case study link provided at the end of this post to know more.
Building an Automotive eCommerce Store – What Does it Take?
When building an automotive eCommerce business, several customer journey touchpoints need to fall in place. What are they? Let’s find out.
1. A Delightful Overall User Experience
An interactive and neat eCommerce platform is the first thing that a visitor notices. The overall design should look welcoming and attractive to help visitors engage better. A good approach will be to track the latest UX design trends and implement the ones that look promising.
That done right, make sure the user can easily browse through the categories, view the product details, and add it to the cart. Anything that makes the visitor abandon the cart should be avoided. Whether it is the ability to alter the cart, add the address, or enable a secure payment gateway, every step of the customer journey should be considered.
2. Product Filters
When an individual visits an auto parts eCommerce website, they are likely to have already decided on what to look for or buy. You just need to understand their needs without them having to scout much. This is possible by infusing the right filters on your product pages.
Make sure the year, make, model, and warranty-related filters are in place. You could also try something like what Euro Car Parts has been doing. Their automotive eCommerce platform supports an embedded filter, wherein a visitor can find authentic auto parts by just entering their vehicle registration number. This is what the interface looks like.
Euro Car Parts lets you find auto parts through just entering the reg no of your vehicle.
Also, focus on making the discovery journey a 3-4 click task, before the results get displayed on the page. You could also try implementing a recommendation system that can present existing customers with auto parts that are related to their past purchases.
3. An Easygoing On-Site Search
Do not miss out on embedding an on-site search bar if you wish to create a delightful navigation and search experience. The better the search experience, the more are the chances of customer retention. The simplest of strategies that brands have been embracing nowadays are – chatbots. You can easily leverage this technology to make for an overall engaging experience.
Whenever a user lands on your automotive eCommerce website, the chatbot pop-up should act as a virtual assistant that guides them through. You can also build a Facebook Messenger bot for your business, owing to its overwhelming popularity.
Facebook Messenger Stats:
Businesses are leveraging video content to drive overall user engagement. Detailed videos that cover the features and information about the product help establish the authenticity of the product and the business. Especially with an auto parts business eCommerce platform, it would be a good idea to offer an option of a DIY installation video demos to help consumers independently install them.
72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video – Hubspot
You can also use these videos for email marketing as well as social advertising. The acceptable formats for videos include; .mp4 and .webm. Here is a complete comparison of the two to help you make a data-driven decision.
Highlighting the differences between WebM and MP4:
Additionally, you can also use YouTube/Vimeo plugins on your website. They will not have a huge impact on website speed, which is a critical factor to consider.
A Google search trend for “how to fix a radiator,” shows how eagerly people wish to learn more about these DIY tricks
5. Diving into the Mobile-First Wave
Online sales of auto parts & accessories purchased from mobile will be over $10 billion by 2021 – Hedges & Company
Having responsive automotive eCommerce solutions both for desktop and mobile devices is what will get you a competitive edge in the market. Since Google has introduced the mobile-first indexing, the need to optimize the mobile eCommerce experience has become even more important.
Mobile share of eCommerce transactions for an optimized and a non-optimized site
Therefore, to make for a stellar mobile-experience, optimizing your platform for mobile is a must. You can either hire an in-house team or partner with an experienced custom eCommerce development company that is proficient with building credible mobile experiences. From making your mobile website fast, visually attractive, and responsive, to adding a minimal click navigation journey, everything should be covered to equate for great customer experience.
eCommerce Automotive Industry: Conclusion
Digital transformation is changing the way people buy and sell. This is an indication for businesses focusing on an automotive eCommerce platform to invest in omnichannel strategies and customer experiences to tap into online traffic. The points, as mentioned above, can highly contribute to building an engaging platform. eCommerce is all set to reshape and transform the automotive eCommerce industry, and it’s time for businesses to seize the opportunity.