mCommerce Insights

Big Inventories. Massive Opportunity. Apps Make Fast Work of Auto Parts Ordering

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As an auto parts retailer, things move fast for you. Between updating inventories, keeping in contact with suppliers and managing logistics, keeping your mobile site optimized and updated might not always seem like a top priority. But with online sales in the industry expected to top $8 billion in 2017, failing to heed the mobile opportunity could be a serious detriment to the future of your company in e-commerce.

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Each of the next four years is expected to break a new billion-dollar barrier

With the gap between brick and mortar and eCommerce transactions continuing to narrow, online sales of auto parts are projected to grow 16% this year, following a 21% increase in 2015. As online sales grow, customers are more frequently engaging in purchasing that’s influenced by multiple touchpoints, such as in-store research, followed by online buying. For retailers with both types of storefronts, it’s vital to provide customers with consistent experiences that maintain the integrity of your brand, no matter where they find it.

By nature, an online auto parts business can become massively complicated, fast. However, it can also create uniquely fruitful opportunity to meet users where they are – on mobile. For the on-the-go mechanic or casual weekend car guy, the ease of ordering parts online is becoming the norm, and ordering via mobile is proving to be a lucrative extension of this convenience.

With a robust, user-friendly mobile presence, your brand can be the go-to resource for your customers, one that’s available anywhere they go, anytime they need it. However, simply having a mobile website isn’t enough to effectively capture the market. With the huge number of SKUs that most automotive retailers have, the user’s mobile experience is often sacrificed in the name of inclusiveness. Clicking through pages and pages of categories, searching filter after filter, brands on top of brands – the convenience factor can be lost.

Enter: mobile apps.

Even more important than simply being present on mobile, auto retailers need their mobile experiences to be easy to navigate, quick to load, and straightforward enough for any customer to understand. With an app, customers can easily search your large inventory, and find the right product using smart categories and intuitive interfaces.

Coming back for more

Once you’ve provided customers with a painless system of re-ordering, you’ll substantially increase the likelihood of repeat purchase. When the process is as easy as pulling out their smartphone, tapping the app icon, searching a few keywords and ordering with a fingerprint, the decision to return to your store is obvious.

Automatic inventory updates

The Shopgate app solution is a plugin that connects directly with your existing eCommerce platform. Which means you don’t have to lose sleep over keeping separate systems up to date with pricing and inventory. Because of the sizeable product catalog you keep, this can save an incredible amount of time and effort. Some app platforms don’t allow for this seamless integration, seriously compromising the efficiency of their performance.

Reordering in a snap

Leveraging the existing features of a smartphone, a mobile app can give your customers even easier access to your products. Tools like a QR code scanner allow your customers to capture a quick scan of an item they’ve already ordered, and be directed right to it with absolutely no searching or navigating. It doesn’t get easier than that. Pair this feature with tools like push notifications to spread the word on promotions and re-stocks, and built-in order tracking, and you’ll have customers hooked on your mobile app in no time.

See how reordering contributes to ongoing customer retention, and learn actionable tips for building a strategy focused on retaining your most loyal customersin our whitepaper, The Loyalty Factor: How to turn one-time visitors into loyal, lifetime customers.  

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Amanda Laviana

Written by Amanda Laviana

Marketing Communications Manager | Amanda is an experienced content marketer, with a background in advertising copywriting. She manages content across an array of platforms for Shopgate, including blogs, whitepapers, webinars, social media and video.

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