Getting your inventory online and managing e-commerce is difficult enough, before factoring in design, marketing, customer experience and logistics. Auto parts adds another layer of complexity, where data fitment and vehicle compatibility are crucial for a successful e-commerce strategy
We've put together this guide to help you weight up the different platforms and options available in the market. To begin, these are some considerations to take into account.
1. Opportunity for multi-channel sales
To maximize your reach online, you may consider selling to multiple sales channels alongside your own website, such as eBay, amazon and your local marketplace. You want to be able to keep your stock levels and prices in sync.
The stage of your business may determine your choice of platform. There are solutions that are easier and cheaper to implement, and you can add features and third party integrations as you scale.
If you are a enterprise level business and have the resource behind you, or your e-commerce strategy requires features outside standard offering, you may need a more standard offering.
4. Data fitment solution
A crucial factor in selling auto parts online is having parts data fitment. Buyers will be able to browse your website with Year Make Model Filters, and check vehicle compatibility before buying (checking that the parts will fit their car).
E-commerce software for small to medium auto parts retailers: Shopify or Bigcommerce
Top e-commerce software for large auto part businesses or manufacturers: Magento or Shopify Plus
*We are not paid to promote or support any of these brands.
Shopify is one of the biggest names in e-commerce.
Their out of the box solution makes it really straightforward to get started, and you can have a functioning store running in a short time without a team of developers/coding needed. They have all the sales features, with a plethora of 3rd party apps from design and marketing to accounting.
Shopify is ideal for small to medium auto parts business wanting to get their online store fast with small overheads, and have many apps for the business scaling needs.
Their code editor allows for customizing the theme, and there are pre-built auto themes available on the market.
However as Shopify is a hosted solution, there are inevitable limitations to the customization. In terms of the fundamental functions that auto parts businesses need, Shopify alone is not enough. For example, Shopify's tag system is not suitable for a YMM filter , which is why PartsPal provides an API which integrates seamlessly to Shopify.
Overall Shopify is one of the best solutions to get started selling online for small to medium businesses and has plenty of options to scale. Shopify Plus, their enterprise solution, may be worth exploring as well for larger businesses.
In many ways, BigCommerce is similar to Shopify. They are both dedicated platforms, and make it easy for users to get started selling. They are feature rich, and similarly to Shopify is an affordable option for businesses to get online without developers. One of the big differences between BigCommerce and Shopify is that BigCommerce has a lot of tools built-in. Shopify on the other hand, has their app store with 3rd party app developers, which means that BigCommerce will be cheaper.
Some other advantages of Bigcommerce is that because of their integrations and flexible APIs and webhooks, it has more opportunities for customization.
Magento is quite different from Shopify and Bigcommerce. It is an open source platform, which means it will need custom development and self hosting. It used by some of the largest brands in the world, like HP and Under Armour but also some medium to large businesses that have the resource and scalability in mind.
Needless to say, being open-sourced, the customization possibilities are almost endless if you have the resources and team with the necessary skills.
As powerful as these platforms are, there are some limitations in functionality due to the complexities of auto parts, and boilerplate nature of the platforms
This is why PartsPal is the perfect tool for your auto parts e-commerce strategy. There are 3 ways PartsPal works with your chosen e-commerce platform, be it Shopify, BigCommerce or Magento. - Inventory Management - Data Fitment Management - E-commerce Management You can automatically match part to fitment data, install a YMM filter on your website, allow buyers to check for vehicle compatibility on the product page.