UPDATED: Image Search Engine Optimization 101 for the Automotive Aftermarket

UPDATED: Image Search Engine Optimization 101 for the Automotive Aftermarket

What’s the first thing that shoppers look for when considering a new aftermarket upgrade for their cars? Pictures, usually. More specifically, pictures featured on platforms like Google Images, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

Whether it’s aftermarket modifications or DIY maintenance components, modern automotive shoppers generally do their research online. As noted by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in a meta analysis, automotive aftermarket “shopping starts with an inspiration, which for this generation begins online.” Browsing images of cars similar to their own is what “stirs their emotions and encourages them to formulate dreams.” In other words, they want to see their car “trying on” the component before they make a purchase.

There’s no doubting that unique, quality images are integral to your automotive web store. The challenge is getting your images in front of the eyes of potential customers when all of your competitors are trying to do the same thing.

In that regard, the journey to maximizing the visibility of your images across platforms – and using that visibility to boost traffic to your website – begins with some proper SEO and image optimization. For a great example of product images, check out Putco’s webstore

Compress to Conserve Data

Google doesn’t like it when you waste users’ bandwidth – especially mobile users, who are often restricted by monthly data caps from their ISPs. Taking a large image and simply shrinking it down via HTML tags only changes the appearance of the image. The same unnecessarily large file is still loaded on users’ devices, it’s simply displayed smaller on their screens.

That creates a couple of problems. For one, Google’s algorithm notices those oversized image files wasting data and dings your site for not being optimized. Secondly, larger files equal longer load times, which Google also penalizes. Having your website populated with unnecessarily large image files can even make it hang up or freeze on some users’ devices, hitting you with the third and final blow of an increased bounce rate.

Create Relevant File Names

It’s only a small bump in SEO friendliness, but every bump counts. Edit the image file names on your server to something unique and relevant. For example, you might name an image of a chrome wheel something like “20_inch_mag_wheel_chrome.jpg” instead of the random string of characters that it’s named by default.

Those relevant keywords in the file name give search engines another opportunity to properly categorize and rank your images. Furthermore, it makes them more user-friendly: users who open your images in new browser tabs or download them will be met with a nice, descriptive file name.

Write Unique and Descriptive ALT Tags

ALT tags give you yet another opportunity to sprinkle your images with some SEO- and user-friendliness. Essentially, the whole purpose of an ALT tag is to describe the content of an image for algorithms as well as visually-impaired users. Make sure all of your images have brief, relevant ALT tags peppered with some of the keywords your page is targeting.

Combining the descriptive file name and ALT tag, you’re left with a nice SEO-friendly image tag that looks like this:

Surround the Images with Relevant Text

Of course, in the end it all comes down to content. No amount of optimization will propel your site and web images to the top of search results if the written content isn’t unique, relevant, and well-executed.

When it comes to images, the page text will further help search algorithms categorize and rank you by subject and quality. For example, an image of a chrome wheel could appear on an automotive aftermarket web store, a bicycle shop, a page offering Google Chrome icon packs, etc. It’s the text on the page in the vicinity of the image – most notably the caption – that tells algorithms what they’re looking at. Below, you’ll see a great example of this:

Conclusion

Once you get all of your web images compressed, optimized, and placed correctly for SEO purposes, you’ll have a solid foundation from which to build platform-specific image marketing strategies. Create unique, high-quality images, tag and market them effectively on Google and social media, then you’ll really have a leg up on your competitors’ stores when shoppers go browsing on their favorite image platforms for some automotive inspiration. Reach out to us today and let’s discuss how to make this magic happen on your own automotive eCommerce site.

March 2021 Automotive Aftermarket Orange Report

March 2021 Automotive Aftermarket Orange Report

March 2021 ORANGE REPORT

The March 20201 Orange Report features our best & most recent blogs and guides on Magento, Big Commerce, eCommerce, and Digital Marketing. 

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Everything you need to know about eCommerce, digital marketing, and Magento.

SaaS eCommerce: Weighing the Pros & Cons

In Part 1 of our Saas & Open Source series we examine Saas Platforms and how they are unique built to power your eCommerce business.

7 Simple A/B Tests to Improve Your Automotive eCommerce Site

A/B Testing is vital to the improvement of your eCommerce site and your business. But what elements should you A/B test? Find out in our latest guide.

Dropshipping Primer and How Shopify and BigCommerce Perform

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method that uses a third-party supplier to ship goods sold by a retailer, avoiding the costs associated with a warehouse and a brick and mortar storefront. But how does it work on Shopify and Big Commerce?

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eCommerce UX and Web Design Trends We’re Noticing

New UX strategies and tactics are being pioneered every day, and it’s up to you to ensure that your brand is keeping up with the latest trends in UX and web design.

February Automotive Orange Report

February Automotive Orange Report

February 2020 ORANGE REPORT

For this month’s Orange Report, we’re sharing a few of our best and most recent blogs that speak on all things Magento, eCommerce, and Digital Marketing. Like always, we encourage everyone using Magento to make the most of its functionalities by incorporating the very best Magento extensions and news.

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Everything you need to know about eCommerce, digital marketing, and Magento.

Decrease These Website Distractions; Increase Your Conversions

No matter what segment of the eCommerce industry your webstore is in, odds are there are an astonishing number of site elements on your site that overwhelm guests with useless tools, elements, and features.

5 Reasons Why Customer Reviews Drive Sales for Auto Aftermarket Sites

Visibility leads to Trust. Trust leads to Engagement. Engagement leads to Sales.

Volusion to Magento 2 Migration Video

Putco, the automotive aftermarket brand, tasked InteractOne with migrating their Volusion site to Magento 2, while also improving the interactive user experience.

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Marc Phillips Video Case Study

Marc Phillips, the high-end rug company, partnered with InteractOne to build a sleek, modern webstore that focused on user experience and elevated the luxury brand.

7 Simple A/B Tests to Improve Your Automotive eCommerce Site

7 Simple A/B Tests to Improve Your Automotive eCommerce Site

No matter how much time and resources you devote to building the most modern, most user-friendly automotive eCommerce website, there are always going to be features that can be improved upon. That’s where A/B testing comes in. 

 A/B testing comes down to making small adjustments to your website until you find the combination that resonates most with your audience. This means that there are few “ah-ha!” moments; with A/B testing it’s all about baby steps. But be patient, let the testing data inform you, and you will reap serious rewards. 

 Whether this is your first attempt at A/B testing or you’re already on a never-ending quest for ways to improve your eCommerce site and increase sales conversions, here are seven simple A/B tests to try for your automotive eCommerce site.

Show Your Product Alone or In Context?

Of course, you are going to feature your products with great, high-res images, but what’s the best way to display them? Do users want to see your parts and products as part of the total package, or by themselves against a solid background? There’s a good chance your shoppers will want to see your products in both types of images, and some sites such as Vivid Racing use a mix of both, but A/B testing will tell you if one product image type resonates with your audience more strongly than the other.

Product Videos

Every single bit of research and data shows that video is the future. Even the most crisp, beautiful high-res images have limitations. Video is as close as merchants can get to bringing their product to life, short of having customers physically hold the parts or products in their hands. If you haven’t yet fully committed to product videos, start with a few for some select products and see how they perform. If you already have product videos, test out an auto-play option and add captions to make it accessible and to catch the eye of customers surfing your site with their sound off.

List View vs Mosaic

It’s the job of your website to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the right product. But, what’s the best way to organize your products visually? For some, a grid view is more successful. For others, a mosaic produces better results. Try A/B testing the visual layout of your product pages and compare the user engagement for a list view versus a mosaic view. You could also ultimately provide both view options via small buttons above the product results, as CARiD does, if you find that your shoppers respond well to having the choice.

BIGGER calls to action

Customers should never have to search for what they’re looking for on your page. It should always be fairly obvious where they should go for what they need. If they can’t find where to check out or add to cart then your site is failing. Those are the two most important elements of your store and when it comes to those CTAs, bigger is better. But what design, color scheme, and wording on your buttons work best? Test it out. 

Feature Contact Information

It may seem like something small, but adding your contact information can have a big impact on your conversions. Relationships are built on trust, and customer/merchant relationships are no different. Customers want to know how to get in touch with you if something goes awry. Try prominently listing your email address, phone number, and (if applicable) physical location across the top of your site and see if your conversions are boosted. 

Static Image over Carousel

Carousels have fallen out of favor in recent years. Testing has shown they can often be distracting to customers, causing them to overlook details that merchants are often trying to get noticed, such as sales and new products. Automotive eCommerce customers also crave control, which auto-carousels remove. So if you’re using a carousel (banner slider) at the top of your pages, try swapping that out for a static hero image with a single, clear proposition. You may find that one bold image and message resonates more than a flurry of images and options. CARiD’s homepage is a great example, enabling shoppers to immediately enter their vehicle’s details to find the best products for their needs.

Highlight a Price Reduction

If you’ve recently reduced the price of an item, make sure your customers know about it by showing them visually. But what’s the most effective way to show them? That’s what you need to test. Perhaps it’s a ‘slashed’ price like JEGS uses on their website, different colored text, or an icon on the product image. There’s only one way to find out which works best for your site: A/B test it.

What to Prioritize With A/B Testing

You can avoid costly mistakes with your A/B testing if you know what to prioritize. Here are some things to do and keep in mind as you begin.

Test Your Most Profitable Pages First 

Start where the money is. Begin testing on the pages that bring you the most traffic and the most money to build on that success.

Assign A/B Testing to a Single Person 

Give one person on your team the responsibility of A/B testing management, implementation, monitoring, and reporting. The term “too many cooks in the kitchen” definitely applies to A/B testing. Keep things simple and empower a single person to handle these aspects.

Don’t Forget About Mobile 

Perform A/B tests on both mobile and desktop. Results for mobile can be 180 degrees from results you see on the desktop. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.

Start Big 

Begin by testing the larger elements on your pages; hero images, purchase buttons, product descriptions. Don’t get bogged down with testing the smaller elements until you’ve tested the larger elements and improved those first.

 Test a Single Element at a Time 

Select one element at a time to test, otherwise, your results are going to be skewed and you won’t be able to determine what elements that are being tested are affecting the page.

 

Our team has a lot of experience in A/B testing to determine the most profitable outcome for automotive eCommerce websites. If you’re ready to get the absolute most out of your website, contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

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5 Reasons Why Customer Reviews Drive Sales for Auto Aftermarket Sites

5 Reasons Why Customer Reviews Drive Sales for Auto Aftermarket Sites

Visibility leads to Trust. Trust leads to Engagement. Engagement leads to Sales.

Customer reviews play an increasingly impactful role in the success and online presence of auto aftermarket eCommerce stores. In recent months we’ve discussed customer reviews and recommended extensions for powering reviews, but one topic we haven’t explored is why you need reviews in the first place. In this blog we’ll take a look at why every auto aftermarket eCommerce website needs customer reviews, and the direct benefits they can bring.

1. Reviews Encourage Engagement With Your Site—Before and After a Sale

Reviews for your auto aftermarket products help inform the customer’s decisions. During the decision-making process, shoppers take note of what other people are saying about your products. This may even cause them to change their mind and look at a different product than the one they were initially searching for. Research shows that 70% of customers look at reviews on products and stores before making a final purchase.

Customer reviews are the ultimate user-generated content. They provide a unique level of insight on a product that a seller can’t provide, giving your product and brand true validation if a large enough number of positive reviews are flowing in. This is especially true for auto aftermarket products. Without the ability to try the products out to ensure they fit with their vehicle, your website visitors will look to reviews to learn more about the product specifications and features from unbiased individuals with first-hand experience.

2. Reviews Increase Revenue and Conversion Rates

All of the engagement, trust, and visibility that builds up with genuine customer reviews leads to increased revenue and traffic. According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. And 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews, according to iPerceptions. Simply put, customers are more likely to convert because of review representation on products.

That’s because reviews are a form of social proof, which removes some of the friction and uncertainty of shopping online. People are much more likely to believe the third-party perspective of what their peers are saying about your product than what you wrote in your product description. Personal shopper experience trumps a seller’s sales pitch every time—especially when that shopper shares how great their customer service was, in addition to how happy they are with the product, as one shopper on CARiD did. 

3. Reviews Increase Site Traffic

Customer reviews can increase site traffic in several key ways. Adding a review schema to your auto aftermarket web store ensures that your reviews are readable by search engines. This makes your appearance in search result pages more appealing to the searcher and can make your business rank higher in the local pack when applicable. More visibility in these areas can equal more traffic. For example, AutoZone appears towards the top of Google search results for cargo liners, in part because of its excellent customer reviews.

4. Reviews Keep Your Offerings Competitive

Google, Bing, Amazon and other platforms you may use to showcase your business’s offerings all utilize reviews to show potential customers relevant products based on what they have previously searched for. Reviews are free content, but the trick is getting them from your customers. Usually, all it takes is a small reminder, and there are tools out there that will follow up with your customers for you so that you don’t let any possible reviews slip through the cracks. These include automation from review services like Yotpo to a myriad of other tools like Bazaarvoice and OutReach Frog.

5. Real Reviews Reaffirm Your Brand

Shopify has revealed that 63% of customers are more likely to convert after seeing reviews. Good reviews, bad reviews—no problem! Having an overwhelming amount of positive reviews may make your customer wonder if the reviews may not be from actual customers. That’s why you should make sure to utilize reviews of any kind, wherever possible. Advance Auto Parts does a great job of this, by featuring the most popular positive and negative reviews, to win shoppers’ trust.

JEGS also incorporates a range of reviews on their product pages, along with recommended items with similar ratings from customers.

Conclusion

Customer reviews make a dramatic impact on conversion rates and remain key to maximizing your revenue-per-visit. They add a layer of trust and legitimacy to your website and brand that no marketing initiative or campaign can purchase. This all makes customer reviews a must-have for any eCommerce brand. To learn more about how to choose and install a product review system on your auto aftermarket eCommerce site, or for assistance with how to make the most of your current system, reach out to our team of specialists.

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Auto Aftermarket Merchants: Extend Your Holiday Success Throughout 2021

Auto Aftermarket Merchants: Extend Your Holiday Success Throughout 2021

By now you should be making the most of this unusual holiday season with some great promotions and marketing plans. But there’s more to get on top of than simply maintaining stock levels of popular products and ensuring tracking info is working correctly in automated emails. Proactivity over many areas is key to ensuring that any potential pitfalls are taken care of, so that you can focus on sales and engagement rather than returns and technical issues. With that in mind, here are seven tips for auto aftermarket web stores to ensure that this busy shopping period continues well into the New Year. 

Ensure Parts Are Tagged Correctly

One study found that 84% of auto parts eCommerce website visitors were ready to make a purchase but weren’t sure if the part they were looking at fit their vehicle. This kind of confusion can lead to browse abandonment, increased customer service queries and product returns if the wrong part is purchased.

You can avoid all of these issues and save your time-poor holiday shoppers the effort by including accurate parts data and having auto parts fitment search enabled on your web store. When a user’s search begins with entering their vehicle’s information—such as year, make and model—this data can then be saved for their future visits to your store. This means that their searches are personalized to their preferences, and they only see results that suit their specific vehicle.

Use Data Automation & Solid SEO

When you have thousands of individual parts that you’re selling, it’s wise to use a data automation service or plug-in. This automatically adds new products, changes product information as needed and synchronizes supplier inventory. It means that all of your product listings are kept up to date uniformly and seamlessly, without the need for you to make manual updates.

You can also ensure that any personalized naming systems you use to individualize your store, target certain audiences or improve your SEO remain consistent. Follow our SEO checklist for what to fix to drive sales through better search rankings and more traffic. One example of a data automation service is Data Here-To-There, but there are also other data automation processes and software available, depending on your store size and budget.

Utilize Your Existing Feedback

Comb through all of your communication channels—emails, voicemails, direct messages on social media, text messages, etc—and look for what questions your customers ask most often. Also look at reviews on websites, and any notes you’ve taken from customer phone calls. Analyze what your past customers have said and what they are currently saying to get to the root of their issues.

Is their problem lack of clarity (they couldn’t understand) or lack of visibility (they couldn’t find the information they were looking for)? Can you identify a theme or pattern behind their questions, complaints and feedback? What could you make clearer for them? Where could you add further information so that customers could help themselves more without needing to reach out to you?

Have a System for Handling Queries

Delegate tasks and have a clear process for keeping customer queries on your social media pages organized and answered in a timely fashion. This goes for both private messages and public comments on your posts. Assign the responsibilities of notifications and replies to a single person, in order to eliminate any confusion. That person needs to make sure that digital notifications are reaching them, either via text or email. As more and more people shop online and the bar continues to be raised, great customer service can set your store apart and be the reason you make a sale over your competitor.

Update Your Messaging & Be Upfront About Issues

New times call for new communications. Shoppers are savvy and can tell when your communications and pre-written customer service responses are out of date. This is an unusual time and shipping is likely to be even more delayed than usual these holidays. Preempt customer frustration by clearly and widely communicating this information via email marketing, your website (product page, checkout page, homepage), SMS marketing and social media. Be clear and concise and link to your FAQ and/or Q&A pages. When sending emails offering assistance, make it clear when a human will be involved to help.

Offer Multiple Payment Installment Options

After the tumultuous year that 2020 has been, it’s likely that more shoppers will be turning to payment installment options during their holiday shopping and beyond. Ensure that your web store is equipped with popular options such as Afterpay, Klarna, Affirm and Quadpay. Also enable popular alternative payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay—if you haven’t already, now is the time to get it set up. The more digital payment options you can offer, the more likely you are to make that sale.

Employ Automated Chat Tools

This year, many web stores are facing the combined challenges of increased traffic and decreased staff to manage customer service. Automated tools like chatbots can be useful for starting the conversation with your visitors and answering basic queries, allowing your human team to focus on more complex issues. Just be sure to write your chatbot responses in a way that’s human enough (like how you would speak to them in-store), but not so human that the customer thinks they’re talking to an actual human! Like with your emails, be clear about when they will be talking to one of your staff members, if necessary. For more on this, read our detailed guide to the best live chat practices for your eCommerce site.

Conclusion

It’s an unusual holiday season and if we’ve learned anything from this year it’s to expect the unexpected. InteractOne can help you navigate these common challenges and tailor solutions to your business. Contact us today and we’ll help you stay on top of any potential issues now and into the New Year.

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3 Mobile Strategies to Light Up Your Automotive Holiday Sales

3 Mobile Strategies to Light Up Your Automotive Holiday Sales

Once your automotive eCommerce store is up and running, one of your first priorities should be to set up email autoresponder campaigns. Autoresponder campaigns allow you to maintain engagement and contact with your customers through a series of emails, and convert this engagement into sales.

Despite what the name may imply, autoresponder emails aren’t simply emails sent to anyone who sends a query or complaint to your business. They’re targeted to customers at different stages of the buying journey. Their purpose is to maintain contact with your customers at key moments. 

Different types od autoresponder emails include:

  • Welcome emails — for new subscribers to your newsletter or new additions to your membership program 
  • Thank you emails — sent after someone signs up for your newsletter or makes a purchase at your store 
  • Transactional emails — receipts, bills, order confirmations 
  • Activation emails — providing more information on how to use a product purchased 
  • Post-purchase emails — surveys to gauge customer satisfaction or emails to request customer product reviews 
  • Upsell or cross-sell emails — promoting products based on past purchases 
  • Date-triggered emails — for birthdays, anniversaries or subscription renewals 
  • Event countdown emails — for sales, competitions or other special promotions 
  • Re-engagement emails — for winning back customers who haven’t visited or engaged with your business in a while 

Shopping cart abandonment emails — to entice or remind customers to complete their purchases

As you can see, autoresponder emails come in many shapes and sizes, and vary depending on when they’re sent and what they aim to accomplish. 

Once you have determined your demographics and the auto-responder emails you’d like to send, it’s time to start crafting your emails. Here are some tips on how to create effective autoresponder content for your automotive eCommerce store.

Compose compelling subject lines

Crafting effective autoresponder campaigns begins with writing the perfect subject line. After all, competition is fierce and open rates are notoriously challenging. Once you’ve segmented and targeted your subscribers, craft compelling subject lines that will inspire them to click open on your emails.

For some types of autoresponder emails (such as welcome or thank you emails) this can be pretty self-explanatory and basic, but you can always get creative with it. Instead of writing “Thanks for subscribing” you could write “Welcome to the club!” to make it more engaging. Cross-promotional emails might require a little more creativity to convert customers. For example, “Love your seat covers? Complete the look!” or “This will go great with your trunk or hatchback organizer…”

Use the right tone in your email content

After the all-important subject line is written to perfection, you need to ensure the content of your email is also delivered the right way. Each email needs to be written in the appropriate tone for its purpose—and for your brand. Extend the style you used in your subject line and use a headline, a few sentences, or a short paragraph, as well as a clear call to action.

Stay true to your brand voice, but focus on the matter at hand. As we mentioned above, different autoresponder emails have different purposes—some are informational, some are promotional, others are requests. Keep this in mind when you’re crafting the content of your email and ensure the tone follows suit.

Promotional emails for sales, birthdays or events might work well with a more playful and experimental style than informative emails, which need to clearly communicate order confirmations, information about returns, or receipts. Competition emails fall somewhere in the middle; you might find that a more playful tone is effective in the headline and subject line, but then more straightforward copy is required later on to disclose the terms of the contest.

Design your emails for maximum impact

Similarly with the copy, your autoresponder email design should also be adjusted depending on the type of email you are sending. Order confirmation emails are best kept clean and simple in order to display important information clearly and quickly. But event-related emails such as for big sales or promotions are a cause for celebration, and so the email design should also reflect that excitement. Inspire this feeling in your readers with different, interesting visual elements.

Regardless of the type of autoresponder email you’re sending, a balance of text and images is key. Be mindful of using relevant images that make sense to the reader and what they’re interested in. Use personalization to ensure your content is engaging. For example, set autoresponder emails to be sent to a customer after a certain amount of time has passed since they purchased a product that will now likely need to be replaced, for safety reasons or because they’ve likely used it up. Include an image of the product they bought, along with a subject line like, “[Name], it’s time for a new [product]” or “Need a refill on [product]?” Speaking to them directly about a specific item they bought will be more effective at engaging them.

A/B test your emails to see what’s working

Not all shoppers will commit to buying straight away—some may browse your products for a while and then leave, others may get as To ensure your emails hit the mark, send different variations to different segments of your audience, otherwise known as A/B testing. This will give you an idea of what your audience responds positively to, and what they don’t, as you’ll see what’s opened and clicked on, and what’s ignored. You can then adjust your designs and copy accordingly.

Conclusion

This has been a basic introduction to autoresponder emails for automotive eCommerce stores. For more information on the types of autoresponder emails your automotive eCommerce business should be sending, and for help crafting them, please get in touch with us.

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Grow Your Automotive eCommerce Through Community Building

Grow Your Automotive eCommerce Through Community Building

Increase Your Sales, Customer Retention, SEO, and Brand Loyalty with On-Site Social Platforming.

Bringing shoppers through the virtual doors of your automotive web store is one thing; turning your traffic into paying, repeat customers is far more than half the battle.

Creating an actively engaged community within and around your web store ensures that you have a steady base of users signing on to browse your products month after month. More importantly, an active digital community holistically optimizes your website for eCommerce by improving your brand authority, customer loyalty, SEO, and social networking outreach.

The Importance of User Engagment 

In the world of eCommerce, increased user engagement translates to increased sales conversions. Essentially, every second that a user spends browsing your website is another opportunity to convert them into a paying customer.

Populate your site with unique content to engage with, integrate some social media features so users can socialize while they browse, then sit back and watch your time-on-site stats climb.

Just as important as the increase in average user on-site time are, the branding benefits you’ll enjoy when you integrate engaging content with social platforming. Quality content makes your site an authority figure on a given automotive niche, while social platforming makes your store the virtual garage in which all your gearhead customers hang out and talk shop.

Establishing a Dialogue with Your Shoppers

Content is meant to be commented on, and social platforming was intended to be a two-way street. 

Take an active role in responding to user comments, questions, and reviews. When users write comments on your blogs and social media posts, jump into the conversation. When they post pictures of their cars and components, comment back and compliment their rides. Doing so personifies your store as an active member of the car enthusiast community, which will do wonders for your branding efforts.

Most importantly, when users post product questions or unsatisfactory reviews, respond professionally with an informative post that addresses all of their concerns. If one user has a product question or negative experience, chances are that other users are concerned with the same issues.

Public comments from your store not only address the specific shopper you’re responding to, they address the unwritten concerns of every shopper who lands on that product page.

How to Build a Community Around Your Automotive Aftermarket Shop

  • Comments and Commentary Everywhere 

Bring your product pages to life with prominent sections for user comments, product questions, and reviews. You want to separate yourself from the myriad of aftermarket shops that feature generic car parts with only a spec listing and stock photo.

Your product pages will become authoritative, with written posts addressing the most common product questions and concerns. All of that quality content will be supplemented by an abundance of user-generated content related to the product.

Google will reward your efforts with improved SEO rankings. Shoppers who land on the page will be more likely to stay on-site and convert into sales.

  • Create a Blog and Integrate It

A site blog can be the centerpiece of your brand and webstore. It’s a hub where all of the best content you post across the web is aggregated. For your shoppers, it’s the water cooler they gather around whenever they sign on to shop for car parts.

An effective eCommerce blog will have a mix of content. Tech articles related to the automotive niches you serve are a great way to showcase your products while adding to your on-site SEO. Insider updates about your shop are a great way to establish a more personal connection between your brand and customers.

Recurring content series such as a shop project car, real-world automotive event coverage, or a product comparison series are all great ways to keep your shoppers tuning back in.

  • Tune Your Shoppers in on YouTube 

YouTube is an especially useful marketing tool when it comes to automotive aftermarket retailers. Whether you’re selling ceramic wax spray or performance exhaust headers, shoppers want to see (and often hear) their aftermarket accessories in action, ideally showcased on the same make and model of vehicle that they drive.

Whether you build a full-blown channel to make your automotive shop famous or you simply use YouTube as a glorified hosting platform, it’s an invaluable tool for creating product videos to showcase on your blog and landing pages. After all, 72% of shoppers prefer learning about products through videos as opposed to written content.

  • Use Social Media as a Megaphone 

Cross-post your content to all of your social media channels. A steady stream of posts will significantly increase your social media outreach over time, and every post is essentially free advertising for your store. Additionally, every social media post is an opportunity to interact with your shoppers in the comment threads. Doing so consistently will further improve your brand awareness and authority.

  • Engage and Interact 

As mentioned above, meaningful customer engagement and interaction are paramount. From the little questions that shoppers post on low-traffic product pages to the headline content you showcase on your blog and social media pages, be pervasive with your user engagement. Treat every comment or reply that you write like a unique piece of professional content capable of adding to your overall branding and marketing strategy – because it is.

Conclusion

Creating a user-driven community around your website won’t happen over night. You have to integrate the framework into your overall content strategy, then grow your on-site community over time alongside your blog and social media channels.

However, once you do have a vital community integrated around your web store, you’ll have a long-term sustainable platform to amp up your marketing ROI. You’ll also have a reliable customer base clicking through your content (and checkout lanes) every day.

Of course, if you ever need help turbocharging any stage of the automotive eCommerce process, get in touch with InteractOne and let’s talk shop.

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Taking Your Automotive eCommerce Store to the Real World: A Guide to Offline Marketing Tactics for Online Auto Retailers

Taking Your Automotive eCommerce Store to the Real World: A Guide to Offline Marketing Tactics for Online Auto Retailers

When you run a website and social media channels and have digital marketing campaigns running alongside them, it can be easy to feel like you live and work completely online. But as you fine-tune your automotive eCommerce shop’s digital presence, you also need to ensure you don’t lose sight of your shop’s physical, offline marketing presence. 

This blog provides guidance on traditional real-world marketing for automotive eCommerce stores that want to grow their audience.

Inject Your Brand Into the Real World

This may sound old-fashioned with all the sophisticated technology at our fingertips nowadays, but simple branded products and advertising still go a long way. Car-related accessories like keychains, glove box tools, tire valve stems, stickers and vinyl that has your web store’s branding on it are all great ways to start injecting your automotive brand into the real world.

Beyond those basics, branded clothing and accessories such as T-shirts and caps are also effective means of promoting your store on the streets. Brands benefit greatly from their supporters sporting their logo, especially at relevant automotive events. However, this kind of advertising is only as good as your branding, so ensure you have a strong logo before you make this investment. If you haven’t already, invest in a graphic designer to get your logo and branding up to scratch and to make sure it will translate well to these mediums.

Get Your Shop Involved in Your Local Car Scene

Put your store in front of people who are actively looking for automotive accessories by going to local automotive events and immersing your brand in your local scene. Whether you’re sponsoring or simply attending, having your brand at special events, parts swaps, races and car shows, both big and small, enables you to get to know your community and build brand recognition and credibility. It can also be lucrative, particularly if your automotive web store specializes in performance aftermarket—as we all know, track car people buy lots of car parts. Start by looking up what’s happening in your area and contacting them to see how you can get involved.

Start Small with Cars and Coffee

If races and shows seem like an investment you’re not quite ready for, don’t worry; there are plenty of smaller-scale but still-worthwhile events for your automotive store to have a presence at. Car-and-coffee meetups, local cruise-ins and amateur car shows all provide valuable in-person brand awareness at a grassroots, community level. While not as flashy as the large events, they can still be valuable in getting your brand name and image out there. Also, remember that sponsorship doesn’t necessarily have to entail a financial investment. Think about products or services you could offer in lieu of cash for events, competitions and charity fundraisers.

Move on to the Big Shows

Once you’ve warmed up and gotten some experience showcasing your brand at the smaller events, it’s time to get involved in the bigger car shows and custom car parades. An on-site presence at an event like Cavalcade of Customs or annual new car Auto Expos will give your brand a chance to showcase your logo and display and distribute your branded marketing content. You could also potentially gain media mentions if you’re a sponsor. These larger professional events require a different marketing approach, however, which is why it’s best to start small with local events and build up to them.

Tie It All Back into Google to Improve Your SEO

Whatever actions you take offline, make sure your brand can be found online, by driving traffic to your eCommerce store. Include your website address in all of your real-world promotional efforts, and set up a free Business Profile with Google My Business to claim and update your store’s information. This will also improve your local ranking on Google, which is crucial for making sure your business comes up in search results on Google Maps.

You can also improve your SEO by starting or sponsoring an event on Facebook for free social media advertising and then tying that back into Google Events, and blogging about the event in order to hit Google News.

Conclusion

These are just some of the ways you can take your automotive eCommerce store into the real world. For a more comprehensive solution on aligning your digital and physical presences, reach out to InteractOne’s team of experts.

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The Future Is Electric – What the Electric Car Revolution Means for Automotive Aftermarket Websites

The Future Is Electric – What the Electric Car Revolution Means for Automotive Aftermarket Websites

Edgy analysts have been heralding the death of the internal combustion engine for decades, yet gasoline cars keep chugging along with ever more efficiency. Nevertheless, all good rides must come to an end, and it seems like the conventional internal combustion car is finally being overtaken on the highway by the almighty electric vehicle (EV).

Millions of electric cars are already on the road, and sales are predicted to surpass 220 million by 2030. The good news for automotive ecommerce stores is that EVs still burn through a lot of consumable components, and they accept many of the same aftermarket upgrades that your store probably already sells to so-called petrol heads. All you have to do is shake up your inventory and marketing strategies a bit to cater to EV drivers.

Maintenance Parts: Say Goodbye to Engine Oil and Ignition Coils

Oil changes are undoubtedly the most common car maintenance procedure. As such, engine oil and oil filters are among the best sellers for a lot of aftermarket shops. Unfortunately, electric cars require neither of those consumables.

In fact, electric cars run without a lot of the maintenance items that you’re probably used to selling. Air intake filters, spark plugs and ignition components, transmission and differential fluids, manifold gaskets, catalytic converters…powering a vehicle with electricity makes all of those components obsolete.

While EVs may drive differently than internal combustion engines they still need to stop. EVs do require brake maintenance components like pads, rotors, and brake fluid, though maintenance will be less frequent than their gasoline counterparts due to regenerative braking technology. Tires, cabin air filters, and car cleaning accessories will all still be fair game also.

As for the powertrain – electric motors and batteries require very little maintenance unless they’re damaged or worn out from extremely high mileage. When either of those things happen, the cost and complexity of the repairs generally necessitate a specialized technician.

In other words, driveway mechanics purchasing maintenance parts to install at home will be a much smaller demographic.

Powertrain Upgrades: Out with Hardware, In with Software

Unfortunately, pretty much all of the traditional aftermarket engine upgrades are off the table as well. Cold-air intakes, performance exhaust systems, turbo system components…any upgrade that bolts onto the engine will be incompatible with electric powertrains.

Some new potential mods are entering the market though in the form of software packages. Tesla already offers different software tunes to suit different performance targets, including their famous “Ludicrous” mode that temporarily amps up the Model S’s power output for straight-line sprints and drag races. Aftermarket tuners are already getting in the game too, such as Genovation with their custom electric power train swaps and tuning products. Less extensive software modifications are also possible, such as artificial engine notes that play through the car’s audio system as the driver accelerates.

No matter how complex electric cars and their computer systems become, there will always be an aftermarket engineer somewhere finding ways to squeeze more power and sportiness out of them. Whether they do so using a wrench or keyboard, you’ll still have a performance product to add to your digital shelves.

Electric Cars Can Still Dance with Handling Upgrades

Automotive technology may continuously evolve, but physics stays the same. If you want to modify a car to go around a turn faster, you lower the center of gravity, stiffen the chassis and suspension, then wrap the wheels in sticky tires. Electric motors don’t prohibit any of those upgrades.

Performance driving enthusiasts and weekend racers will still be in the market for mods that improve driving dynamics and handling. In fact, the market for chassis and suspension upgrades may even grow as enthusiasts have less options to inject performance and personality into their engines and transmissions.

Good Looks Never Go Away

When it comes to aftermarket suspension upgrades, handling improvements are only half the story. There are just as many enthusiasts who purchase performance lowering springs and shocks simply for the low-profile stance of the upgraded suspension. 

Aftermarket wheel sets go hand in hand with lowered suspension setups. From there, the sky’s the limit when it comes to aftermarket aesthetic modifications. Sporty bumpers and ground effects, custom hoods and headlights, along with the increasingly-popular trend of custom vinyl graphics and full exterior vinyl wraps are what enthusiasts will use to make their electric cars scream rather than a set of unmuffled exhaust pipes.

Hot-Rodding Is Forever

People have been modifying their rides since the invention of the wheel. Speed addicts in the 19th century were figuring out ways to cram more heat into their steam engines, wealthy ancient Egyptians and Europeans rode around in tricked-out chariots – it’s absurd to think that driving enthusiasts will suddenly lose the itch to tinker with their cars once they’re powered by electrons instead of gasoline.

Conclusion

The challenge is simply keeping yourself and your automotive store up to date with the aftermarket trends that will lead the way into the future of electric hot-rodding. For assistance with keeping your auto webstore tuned to the changing marketplace, please feel free to reach out to us.