3 Automotive Challenges You Can Solve With E-Commerce

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While the digital revolution presents businesses with many challenges, it also presents huge opportunities, and the automotive aftermarket is a shining example of that. With online auto parts sales expected to increase by 16% in 2017 to a total of $8.9 billion, it’s clear that the future of automotive parts sales is online.

In addition to paving the way to more sales, a good e-commerce solution also solves many age-old problems for automotive parts suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. In this blog, we’re taking a look at three of these challenges and how an integrated online sales platform helps you master them.



1.    Complex Order Processing

Automotive parts orders typically comprise a wide range of components and customizations, and as the complexity of an order increases, so does the likelihood of manual processing errors.

The first step toward staying in control of all this product data is to use your ERP system as the single source of truth. When your web store is built on your ERP system, it enables you to automate processes, simplify them, and reduce the margin of error. This is because your web store uses your ERP’s business logic and data. It also ensures that the information entered in your web store is available directly in your ERP.

Complex order processing

Seamless Exchange of Information

With an integrated solution, the inventory information, product details and client information in your ERP will be available in your web store in real time. If a sales agent places a manual order in the ERP, for example, the client will then be able to log in to the online sales portal and view the order, download the invoice, and track the shipment.

Likewise, if a client places an order online and then calls to speak to a representative, the order will be available to the sales agent in the ERP.

Giving your clients the freedom to place orders online and giving your sales team continuous access to real-time information is a huge step toward simplifying your order processes.

Simplified Product Search

Another aspect of the automotive parts order process that costs a lot of time and effort is finding the part your client is looking for. Narrowing down a vast product catalog to find a single part can cost a lot of time and effort, and if you or your client takes one wrong turn, their search results will be fruitless.

Integrating your web store with your ERP, however, allows your online product search functionality to be based on the make, model and year of the vehicle, rather than the article number. This puts the power in your clients’ hands, offering them ease, flexibility and convenience. It’s also a fantastic resource for employees.

2.    Frequent Errors on Conditions, Payment and Shipping

Still, it may seem unrealistic that any one solution could eliminate all errors. There are many complicated variables to consider with every order, such as special conditions, payment options and shipping requirements. Particularly when it comes to larger orders and B2B orders, a lot of custom work can be involved.

Frequent errors on conditions, payment and shipping

An integrated web store, however, offers the freedom and flexibility to provide all of the necessary options and information during checkout, which ensures that even custom orders can be placed online.

This is possible with a Sana integrated web store, because Sana Commerce was built with B2B purchasing needs in mind. As such, Sana sales platforms support important B2B buyer needs such as:

    • Multiple shipping addresses
    • Different payment addresses
    • Special delivery instructions
    • Uploading attachments to orders and returns

3.    Difficult to Promote Relevant Related Products to Customers

Selling auto parts online presents a myriad of opportunities to upsell and cross-sell your products and boost your overall sales. The special thing about doing this with an integrated web store, is that it allows you to link related products in your ERP so that your web store displays them to customers either during checkout or when they’re on relevant product pages.

If a customer is looking at a radiator in your web store, for instance, then your web store can suggest options for tubing, fans and coolant fluid. Likewise, if they’re looking at a basic low-budget car part, you can display suggestions for superior products that your client might prefer.

Difficult to promote relevant related products to customers

With integrated e-commerce, your web store can be the helpful 24/7 sales agent you’ve been looking for.

Moving forward

There’s no question that e-commerce is the way forward for automotive parts suppliers, manufacturers and dealers. The industry beat its forecast of $7.4 billion in 2016, and is expected to reach over $10 billion by 2018, proving that now is the time to act.

If you’d like to learn more about e-commerce developments in the automotive industry and how you can prepare for the future, access your free copy of our 2017 Automotive Industry Trend Report.

Automotive trend report

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