The automotive aftermarket, like a lot of industries today, is feeling the “Amazon Effect.” Customers want convenience, which means being able to search for products, buy, track orders and manage their accounts online – or have the option to order online and pick up in-store.
In addition to the need to add digital commerce options, the challenges facing businesses now include: competing with Amazon and other ecommerce channels with customer experience and ease of doing business; adding new delivery or pickup options; making your sales and customer service teams more effective.
Adding retail-inspired delivery and pickup options like curbside or contactless pickup, new delivery options and more frequent and consistent communication with customers could be a game changer for aftermarket businesses.
To create a united customer experience, you must:
- Understand your customer and deliver an experience designed around customer needs
- Maintain the same level of service whether the customer experience is digital or in-person
- Have a modern and scalable platform that runs on the latest technology and can be easily configured to support the latest CX trends from voice commerce to in-store pickup
- Attract and train new employees via an easy-to-use platform where they can quickly learn product information and availability
Five must-haves for a unified customer experience are:
- Enterprise-grade ecommerce platform for B2B, B2C, B2E and dropship fulfillment business models
- Customer experience focus and mobile responsive with powerfully simple product search user interface
- Cloud-based turnkey solution built for automotive and related industries such as light, medium and heavy duty, as well as off-highway
- Integration with your existing business systems and parts catalog systems
- Configuration to your business, branding and marketing needs
When a vehicle or equipment breaks down, your customers need to quickly find precisely the part they need – and know how quickly they can get it. The cost and consequences of ordering the wrong part are high. Aftermarket companies need to provide expert guidance to customers even through digital channels. Industry expertise is a key competitive advantage over pure digital players like Amazon.
Key questions aftermarket businesses need to ask themselves include:
- Will Amazon and other pure digital ecommerce players learn my business faster than we could learn and accelerate digital commerce for my business?
- What is our defensive playbook to protect and offensive playbook to grow our business?
- Who should lead our ecommerce business transformation? Should my business or IT lead the ecommerce project and how long would it take to launch my online business?
- What should be my criteria for success in online business? How do I justify the investment and efforts necessary to launch my eCommerce platform? How would we empower our employees and customers with convenience and ease of doing business? What are the risks if I do not move forward soon?
- Should I upgrade my business system before I launch my online business, or can I launch now and seamlessly migrate to the new business system when necessary?
- How do I align my internal stakeholders and employees to make the digital commerce journey a success?
How’s this for a real-life example: a global manufacturer wants to consolidate 100-plus legacy websites to deliver a unified customer experience.
The objectives are:
- To provide a uniform customer experience for every market and brand across all lines of business
- Grow digital sales and ease of doing business for all direct customers
- Make product information and availability readily accessible
- Streamline operations to expedite fulfillment
The solution is:
- Four product lines, multiple brands, multiple country sites consolidated on a single platform and experience
- Single experience for customer self-service and assisted sales
- Consolidation of more than 500,000 parts from six global catalogs with rich media and supporting collateral
- 10x digital sales growth
- Serving 6,000-plus registered business customers
- 500% SEO growth
- Handling 80%-plus of PO lines
- Business model enabled by headless commerce integrations
It’s time to accelerate your digital sales with a unified digital commerce platform that works seamlessly with your brick-and-mortar stores, sales and customer service.
Accelerate your digital business with a unified customer experience platform.
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