Automotive Aftermarket eCommerce – How to Choose The Best Platform?
Every successive year, we see an increasing number of customers willing to buy online all their essentials and needful. Ultimately, this is bound to happen as online stores are more convenient, easy and more personalised than their brick and mortar counterparts. On top of all these, online stores also offer clear cost and pricing advantages over offline e-commerce stores.
Naturally, understanding this increasing customer preference and favour for online stores, traditional business niches are also appearing online. Without exception, automotive parts dealers and brands are also coming with their online stores for making sales.
Do you want to hire an eCommerce development company for your automotive store? Well, online automotive parts selling may be trending but it is important to know about the e-commerce platforms that are most suitable for this niche. Here we are going to provide some helpful tips to choose the best platforms for online automotive parts sales.
Know Your Objectives Clearly
Now that you have made up your mind about selling automotive parts online, it is important to set clear objectives that fit your business. Some of the key considerations that you need to focus upon include the following.
- How speedily do you want your online sales of parts to grow?
- Do you want to make your online sales supplement your offline sales or you want to make the online store the prime channel for sales?
- Which platforms do you prefer for making your presence? Do you want to build your own website or want to sell through ready platforms like Amazon?
- Do you want to target the local market or the national and international market as well?
Meeting Customer Experience Expectations
One major thing that determines your sales and success with online sales of automotive parts is meeting expectations about customer experience. Since the market of online automotive parts sales is highly competitive, unmatched customer experience will be the key to win the competition and make sales happen.
Before choosing any platform for your e-commerce store it is important to ask for a demo that clearly shows the user experience attributes of similar stores. Instead of thinking from the perspective of the dealer, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and evaluate the customer experience.
From faster loading speed, easier navigation to easy checkout options, you need to keep an eye on every aspect of the shopping experience. Obviously, the choice of platform and further development will be crucial for delivering great shopping experience. Android automotive platform has already launched with its own car infotainment system and we can expect the automotive industry to modernise with android app development. In this context, for the automotive stores to deliver optimum mobile shopping experience will be crucial.
Consider Choosing a Mobile Optimised Platform
E-commerce is fast turning into mobile commerce as an increasing number of businesses and their customers are turning to mobile web or mobile apps for selling and buying products and services. So, the future of e-commerce irrespective of the niches is intertwined with the mobile apps.
Moreover, even leading search engines have started to give priority to mobile friendly websites and mobile pages over desktop-only websites and pages for their search ranks. This mobile-first priority and indexing is forcing e-commerce stores to turn their traditional online stores to mobile-friendly ones. For the stores selling automotive parts this cannot be otherwise.
When building a mobile-friendly e-commerce store for selling automotive parts, consider these following attributes.
- Does the e-commerce store offer easy navigation?
- Can a customer see the parts with clear visuals on his mobile screen?
- Can the customer easily verify the makes and brands of the parts along with specifications?
- How easily customers can make purchases and how many steps are involved in the purchase process?
- Are the CTA buttons and checkout page easy and designed for mobile screens?
SaaS eCommerce Platform Choices
Shopify as a completely managed e-commerce solution is already popular among most small and medium enterprises who don’t want the hardships of building a web store from scratch. Shoplift basically comes as a popular Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that offers awesome scalability, flexible set of features and extensive range of tools to build an online store as per the business needs and customer expectations.
But in spite of all the benefits of managed services where a business doesn’t need to take care of hosting and site building, Shopify may not suit the automotive parts businesses considering the extensive range of intricacies such stores involve. This is not surprising that Shopify in their theme store doesn’t have any specified theme for the automotive sales.
Among the other managed platforms, BigCommerce can be a credible choice with equally strong offerings in respect of scalability, flexibility, features and toolset. The best thing is, already there are some automotive stores using this platform for online presence. In spite of all these, BigCommerce as a platform has not been built keeping the automotive niche in mind and hence there are several shortcomings as well.
Finally, let us admit that both Shopify and igCommerce can fit into automotive e-commerce needs provided you can tweak the shopping experience appropriately with inclusion and exclusion of several elements. Maybe, for some selective use cases that sounds quite credible but not for all.
Choosing Between Magento and WooCommerce
Magento comes as the single most robust platform with unlimited scope of customisation and naturally any automotive parts retailer selling auto parts and accessories will find Magento quite relevant as a platform. The greatest strength of Magento is its ecosystem of plugins, themes and tools that allows building a highly customisable web store with a unique look, feel and shopping experience.
Since the automotive aftermarket industry requires a lot of filters and parameter options for the customers to search their required products, Magento’s ecosystem suits the bill quite appropriately. The best thing about Magento is that it can easily accommodate a number of custom requirements typical to the automotive industry.
WooCommerce is also a robust e-commerce platform that suits beginners most. It is an open-source platform that any business can start using without spending a single dime. In contrast to Magento that requires more expert management, Woocommerce just suits any size of business including obviously the startups and small and medium category aftermarket parts dealers.
As for comparison, Magento has an edge over Woocommerce as it offers an unprecedented level of customisation. The downside of Magento is that you need expert hands to shape the web store and need experienced support to take care of the workflows. Woccommerce can also be challenging in respect of finding experienced support who can take care of each and every development aspect with ease.
For automotive aftermarket sales, you need to start slow and small with the option to grow fast and big. Start with a simple, clean and easy to use web store with a minimum number of features and then grow into a fully fledged web store over time through upgrades and updates. That’s also one way to scale your business gradually while starting small.
Author Bio: Manev Dave is the senior developer at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading eCommerce development company with 8+ years of experience. He loves to write about eCommerce technology, startups, entrepreneurship, and business. His creative abilities, academic track record, and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.
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