In the United States, sales of new automotive parts and accessories will hit $16 billion in 2020. Hedges & Company predicts that over $10 billion of those sales will be on mobile devices. Is your company ready for the next wave in automotive eCommerce solutions? Here are 5 ways you can make changes to your automotive eCommerce business and improve your customer experience and your eCommerce sales in 2021.
Optimize for Voice
Alexa and Siri are here to stay. The number of smart speaker consumers is expected to rise by 18% in 2021. A 2019 Adobe survey found that 85% of people surveyed use voice to control their phone and 39% were using voice on smart speakers.
Voice search is the signal of the future. It’s not just teens using voice. Voice search is used as well by those in the key 30 to 43 age demographic and even 38% of those 54 and older are relying on voice.
You’ve got to make sure your website is optimized for voice search. Recognize that voice search queries tend to be longer and more conversational. In addition, they make frequent use of the query words such as who, how, and where. So, work these into your keyword strategy.
Provide a Rich, Visual Experience
Denizens of the interwebs feed on rich, visual experiences. Gone are the days when they contently grazed on giant walls of text.
Your 2021 automotive eCommerce website needs to be clean and loaded with eye catching graphics and visuals.
Lawson Products uses eye grabbing graphics, icons, and colors. The design isn’t busy and provides the visitor an easy, intuitive interface. There’s no searching for the log in spot, quick order forms are just a click away, and the search bar is exactly where you would expect it to be located, at the top of the page.
You’ll also note the mix of photography with graphics. That’s another trend that will continue well in 2021.
TruPar follows the same design principles. A mix of graphics and photography, prominent search bar, easy to find log in space, quick order form, and access to customer service. If your automotive parts and accessories eCommerce website is being refreshed in 2021, follow in the design steps of these industry leaders.
Incorporate 360° Images
The eCommerce landscape is no longer limited to a flat, 2D view.
Rotating product technology is transforming the eCommerce industry. In the real world, buyers and researchers want to interact with a product from all angles. It’s the same in the virtual world as well.
When buyers can literally take the product for a spin, they see key details that provide better insight. Not only is this type of photography a delight to the eye, it has the capability to reduce your rates of return. Buyers clearly see the entire product from all angles. They know accurately what they are getting when they make the purchase.
Some sellers have reported higher conversion rates when site visitors can take products for a spin. These conversion rates vary from 10% to 40% over images on the same site that don’t rotate. So, in addition to reducing returns, there’s the ability to improve your conversion rates.
Don’t let rotating product technology frighten you. Many smartphone apps will let you take basic 360°-degree photography. Panorama 360 for Android or FOV for iOS is a simple way to get started. If you wish for to up your game, invest in a basic digital camera, a tripod, and a turntable.
Make sure your eCommerce platform has a CMS or integration that can handle images and viewers smoothly as well.
Leverage CRM for Targeted Marketing
If 2020 was the year for targeted marketing, 2021 will be the year for hyper-targeted marketing.
Buyers are looking for superior experiences, and targeted and personalized marketing approaches will pay off.
With 86% of customers willing to pay more for a better experience, you can capitalize on this desire by forming the experience with highly personalized and targeted messages with live chat. But you need to leverage your CRM to make this happen.
eCommerce technology and CRM technology go hand-in hand. Make sure you use the most of it. Let the CRM give you a 360° degree of your customer the way your customers take a 360° view of your products. Know what products your customer is viewing and then follow-up with targeted messages.
Then use the power of your CRM to track your leads through the pipeline and continue to deliver highly relevant messages at just the right time.
Whether you target by vertical, geographic market, or some other segment, rely on your CRM to offer the data and reporting you need to create campaigns and then evaluate their effectiveness.
If your eCommerce platform doesn’t include a CRM, look for a CRM that will integrate in a chameleon manner with your website.
Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are bringing enhanced capabilities to any user in any location using any device. They may look and act like native apps, but they aren’t.
PWAs run in the browser, but act like they are an application running on the device. They provide excellent mobile experiences and have been used by giants like Walmart and Alibaba.
Why are they so popular? One reason is speed. Google says 53% of users will abandon a site if it doesn’t load in at least 3 seconds. PWAs are designed to be speedy and will provide fast response on low quality networks. That keeps users happy.
Users also like the anonymity of PWAs. Since no personal information is collected, there’s no reliance on email messaging. However, PWAs are masters of push notifications. And today’s users that are data security conscious will accept push notifications over providing information like an email address.
PWAs also support headless eCommerce, where the front-end and back-end are decoupled to craft the optimum customer experience. And remember in 2021, customer experience is the name of the game.
Make sure your e-Commerce platform has a robust API so you can make the best use of PWAs. In addition, there are many e-Commerce platform with great self hosted e-commerce companies.
The Future of Automotive eCommerce is Bright
The marriage of automotive parts and accessories sales with eCommerce is providing a happy ever after ending for those who pick their partner wisely.
If you are looking to replatform your automotive eCommerce business, consider the following:
Built for any business model. Many B2B solutions are just repurposed B2C platforms that can’t handle the complexities of B2B eCommerce. Make sure your platform will handle any business model you use, from B2B to B2C and marketplaces.
Out of the box functionality. No solution comes out of the box perfect with everything you need. Look for a solution that gets you 80% there for the fastest ROI.
Ecosystem and integration. Look at the solution ecosystem. What partners and community are available? You’ll find open source solutions have larger and more active communities and greater options for plug-ins, extensions, themes, and widgets. And of course, make sure your platform integrates seamlessly with your ERP, WMS, PIM and other business solutions.
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