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 Holiday Sales

3 Mobile Strategies to Light Up Your 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.

Putco Video Case Study

Putco Video Case Study

Putco

Putco’s original Volusion website was showing its age, lacking in mobile-friendly responsiveness, limited design and functionality. Putco tasked InteractOne with migrating their Volusion site to Magento 2. This migration included a new responsive design with custom development of a vehicle parts lookup (year, make, model) and lighting application guide, including the ability to save a vehicle in account information. In this Case Study video we’ll be taking a deeper look at the features and functionality the InteractOne team brought to Putco webstore and how they create a greater Customer Experience that keeps visitors engaged and shopping.

See the new M2 Putco site for yourself here.

Click here to learn more about InteractOne’s experience in the automotive aftermarket industry:

Contact the certified Magento developers & their team at InteractOne here.

Putco manufactures and sells aftermarket automotive accessories including chrome trim, LED lighting, step bars, truck accessories, and stainless steel fender trim. With its dedication to domestic manufacturing and innovative line of high-quality LED lighting products, Putco continues ahead of the change curve in the industry.

Since 1998, InteractOne has been helping our clients grow and compete online, always keeping in mind to do whats best for our clients. We build, maintain and market great eCommerce experiences.

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Grow Your Automotive eCommerce Through Community Building

Amplify Your Automotive eCommerce Store With a User-Driven Community

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.

Get in Touch

Connect with one of our experts today to discuss your eCommerce needs!

Contact Us

Build a YouTube “How To” Channel to Turbocharge Traffic to Your Automotive Webstore

Build a YouTube “How To” Channel to Turbocharge Traffic to Your Automotive Webstore

Traditionally, home DIY mechanics and weekend garage warriors always kept a trusty shop manual on their workbenches. Even today, Haynes and Chilton still publish comprehensive maintenance books for virtually every make and model.

However, most gearheads have long left their printed shop manuals by the wayside. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find a smartphone or tablet lying on the shop manual’s former garage pedestal, with the screen open to a YouTube playlist of vehicle maintenance and aftermarket installation videos. 

YouTube is ubiquitous in today’s aftermarket automotive world. Car enthusiasts constantly tune into the platform for everything from customized car showcases to racing coverage to basic aftermarket installation and repair guides.

The latter can be a goldmine for your automotive eCommerce store.

Why Your Store Needs a YouTube Channel

One glance at the stats should convince you: video consumption accounts for over 80% of all Internet traffic, and users spend an average of 2.6 times as long on pages with embedded videos versus those without. 

YouTube is essentially a second incarnation of the Google search engine at this point – the majority of users looking for any type of video content search for it on YouTube, mostly by default. If your automotive store isn’t on the platform, your site is essentially invisible to a huge swath of the market.

Going beyond the surface, there are a myriad of additional benefits. Properly embedded, relevant videos can add a ton of SEO juice to your product pages. That’s doubly true when you’re posting unique video content and Google begins to categorize your site not just as another generic web store, but as an authority in the automotive aftermarket world with a library of quality videos to back up your products.

How to Build an Automotive YouTube Channel 101

  • Brainstorm a Personality for Your Channel

Whether you’re writing content for your store’s blog, product pages, social media channels, or video scripts, your content should maintain an effective and consistent voice. Obviously, what that entails will heavily depend on your unique brand and personality.

For example, you could create a series of purely technical how-to videos with straightforward narration and easy-to-reference tips like tool lists and torque specs. Jegs does a great job of this style in their installation and product videos.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could create a lifestyle-focused channel that showcases products and how-to guides with a lot more flair and personality. American Muscle is a good example of this style with their videos showcasing custom car builds, exhaust sound clips, and generally more creative content.

  • Handpick Your Hot-Ticket Products

Obviously it’s not practical to produce a video for every single aftermarket product you offer. You have to carefully choose the products that will benefit the most from a video showcase to maximize the return on your investment of time and money.

One way to do that is with some good old keyword research. Identify which products receive a large volume of searches alongside related DIY terms like “how-to”, “installation”, “guide”, et cetera. You should also research your competition to see which product videos of theirs receive the most traffic, then capture some of their thunder by publishing your own video highlighting the same product.

A third method of research is to engage directly with your customers. Read their reviews and product feedback, search Google and automotive forums for direct information on the aftermarket brands and products they’re most interested in. Use that research to choose which products to highlight, then use your video to address the most common questions and issues that shoppers bring up.

  • Get Your Videos Seen

The biggest barrier of entry to the YouTube spotlight is the sheer number of videos that are out there. Over 500 hours of video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute! That’s a lot of competition for attention.
However, if you take it one step at a time – consistently publish quality videos with relevant formatting, SEO, and meta content – your channel will begin to naturally climb up the ranks to the top-tier of YouTube. Of course, you can always throw in some paid advertising or clever viral marketing to shift your channel into a higher gear.

Examples of Automotive Sites That Are Doing It RightWhy Brands Partner with Nano and Influencers

We already mentioned American Muscle and Jegs for the quality of their YouTube channels. Now let’s take a look at how those companies integrate their channels with their product pages.

American Muscle makes their product videos immediately visible by placing them directly in their product image galleries.

A shopper who is interested in the product has instant access to a product review, showcase, and/or installation guide. That keeps them from leaving the store to seek out the content elsewhere, which makes them far more likely to refrain from cross-shopping or changing their mind.

American Muscle does another clever thing with the videos on their product pages by including transcripts. Below the fold of the page they embed the full-sized video so shoppers can watch it straight on the page without a popup or external link. Beneath that is a transcript of the video which provides ample opportunities for additional keyword targeting.

Jegs does something similar with their product pages. They don’t go so far as to post full transcripts, but when available they always include a full-sized video embedded at the top of their product specifications. As mentioned, that keeps shoppers on-site and far more likely to complete a purchase.

It’s a Long Road to the Top

If you want your automotive store to compete with the aforementioned big dogs, you’ll have to use every wrench in the digital toolbox to get your site to the front pages of the Internet. Whether it’s YouTube, Google, product aggregators, or social networks, there are a lot of web shops all clamoring for their spot in the limelight.

Building a quality YouTube channel for your aftermarket eCommerce store is one of many major steps in the right direction. If you need help navigating the rest of the way to the top, InteractOne can help you turbocharge the marketing engine of your website so you reach the summit ahead of your competition.

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How to Diagnose and Solve Bounce Rate Issues on Your Automotive Aftermarket Site

How to Diagnose and Solve Bounce Rate Issues on Your Automotive Aftermarket Site

Traditionally, bounce rates in the automotive aftermarket world may have referred to hydraulic suspension kits on low-rider cars, or the spring rate curves on a set of coil-overs. Nowadays, automotive web stores have a different bounce rate to consider: the rate at which users “bounce” off of your page immediately. 

Put simply, high bounce rates are bad: every bounced user is a potential customer that is lost back into cyberspace, likely to search engine page results (SERPs) that link to your biggest competitors. You also get hit with SEO penalties that lower your page ranking.

Use this guide to identify the issues causing your automotive web store to have a high bounce rate, fix the problems, and keep your traffic from flowing straight down the road of Google to your competitors’ sites. If you need more of a primer on bounce rates in general, check out our Bounce Rates 101 blog

 

Solving the Most Common Bounce Rate Issues in Automotive Ecommerce

Naturally, aftermarket automotive sites are subject to all of the usual bounce rate rules as discussed in our aforementioned 101 blog. However, there are also some common issues that tend to plague automotive shops specifically.

  1. Incorrect Part Numbers

The Problem

Many shoppers find parts numbers on OEM and aftermarket manufacturer websites, then copy-paste those numbers into Google. (It’s way more convenient than trying to search by the name of the part and navigating a myriad of filter options.) If your product listing doesn’t match the part number anchoring your page, all of those users are going to click their “back” buttons immediately with a bad taste in their mouths.

The Solution

You’ll have to open up the hood of your website and get the correct part numbers posted. Double-check the parts numbers with the ones listed directly on the manufacturers’ sites. If you pull your product information automatically from a database, you should probably look into using a different database before inaccurate product info drags your site down in the SERPs even further.

  1. Inaccurate Product Images

The Problem

An even more common issue is using inaccurate or generic product images. If a user is shopping for a cold-air intake and they see a picture of a catalytic converter pop up, they’re most likely going to bounce regardless of whether or not the rest of the product listing features accurate, quality information.

The Solution

It’s not feasible to post a specific image of every single aftermarket component you sell – that would practically be a full-time job just keeping up with a single make and model. Tiny, inexpensive components such as connectors, fasteners, and gaskets are bound to be given generic images.

However, that’s not the case with your big-ticket items. When a user is shopping for a $1,000 exhaust system or a $2,000 set of wheels, they definitely want to see multiple unique, high-quality images of the product before they make a purchase. They certainly don’t want to see a generic press image of their vehicle, much less an image of a completely different component.

Update the pictures with high-resolution images straight from the manufacturer’s website, or if you have the product on hand, snap a few unique photos of it yourself. That’ll go a long way to keeping users on the product page, as well as improving the overall quality and authority of your website.

  1. Sold Out or Discontinued Parts

The Problem

Online shoppers are generally an impatient bunch. If they’re searching Google for a specific aftermarket car part, it’s probably because they’re ready to make a purchase. If the product in your listing is sold out or discontinued, those shoppers are likely going to bounce in frustration.

The Solution

There are a few things you can do if you can’t get a product stocked. One option is to update the listing to prominently feature related products from other brands that fit the same make and model – that will potentially keep the user shopping on your page and encourage them to look into other products.

If it’s a highly searched product that has a lot of traffic bouncing off your site, you can try addressing those users directly with a short written post at the top of the product page. Explain the reason for the out-of-stock status – put it in the manufacturer’s court by saying you’re actively working with them to get the product restocked.

For discontinued products, apologize to shoppers and explain when and why the product was discontinued – the idea is that you want them to realize the product will be unavailable to buy from your competitors before they click their “back” buttons. Then, put together a curated list of related products with images that link directly to the product pages.

Putting a Damper on Bounce Rates

Chasing down the source of bounce rate issues can feel like a game of Whack-A-Mole – you resolve one page, get the traffic flowing, then out of nowhere another page is repelling search users like a trampoline.

If you want a more comprehensive and permanent solution, or you simply need help exorcising a particularly stubborn bounce rate demon, let the experts at InteractOne take a look under the hood of your website. We’ll resolve any issues and optimize your content along the way so your site has the horsepower advantage in the race against your competitors.

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Chassis Codes 101: An Integral Spec for Automotive Aftermarket Web Stores

Chassis Codes 101: An Integral Spec for Automotive Aftermarket Web Stores

The organizational structure of your product catalog is the backbone of your eCommerce store. After all, it’s pretty difficult to sell products if your customers can’t search for and/or find them. What that means for your store is that you need to categorize your product listings in every relevant way possible to ensure that your shoppers don’t come up empty-handed when they’re browsing for a component.

Every competent aftermarket automotive shop has that functionality built in with products categorized by vehicle year, make, and model. However, one very important (and potentially lucrative) spec is missing from most automotive product listings: the chassis codes of compatible vehicles. In this guide we’ll break down the need for Chassis Codes and how to incorporate them into your automotive aftermarket website.

What Are Chassis Codes?

Essentially, a chassis code is like a meta description of a vehicle. It designates what chassis a car is built upon, which is often shared across numerous models and makes. For example, the LX chassis platform owned by Chrysler was used by the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, and Dodge Charger produced from 2005 to 2010 – two brands and three models built for five years, but only a single chassis code.

If you want a more in-depth crash course on chassis codes, Speedhunters has a great write-up including a lot of the most common models that car enthusiasts will be shopping for by chassis.

Why Do Customers Shop By Chassis Code?

The main reason customers search for aftermarket parts by chassis code is simply that it’s easier. Instead of repeatedly typing in the year, make, model, and trim of their vehicles – keywords which often aren’t even featured on product listings – shoppers simply type a two- to four-digit chassis number.

Another reason shoppers turn to chassis codes is that product listings often don’t include every model of compatible vehicle. In many cases that would be impossible – some components would have to feature sprawling lists of dozens of models to include every compatible year and trim level.

On the other hand, a single chassis code keyword can give shoppers all of that same compatibility information without having to scroll through endless lists.

How to Incorporate Chassis Codes into Your Web Store

Here’s where things can get a bit tricky. Most likely, all of the meta data for the products featured on your store is scraped from supplier databases. That means you’ll have to wade into the back end of your website to automatically update your listings and include chassis codes Magento or BigCommerce product attributes are useful when mapping chassis codes and vehicle qualifiers to products because you can set specific attributes to display on the product pages, be searchable in the site search and filterable from category pages. However, that’s just the first step – you still need to create content to help rank for those searched chassis terms and show customers you’re relevant and reputable in the industry. 

Luckily, there’s an easy way to take advantage of this marketing solution with some hands-on content:

1.  Identify a number of vehicles and compatible chassis codes that you want to target with your marketing.

2. Create a separate page or blog post dedicated to each chassis code.

3. Make the pages SEO-friendly and include a relevant H1 title. For example, “A List of Upgrades Compatible with the Chrysler LX Platform”.

4. Write some brief, keyword-rich content that is relevant to the chassis code. Mention vehicle years, makes, models, and trim levels that fall under the chassis code to make your content even more searchable.

5. Include a list of compatible components that you sell arranged by category. You don’t have to include every part you offer, but be sure to highlight your best sellers and highest margin products.

A. Mapping chassis codes to products can make this a breeze, and automate lists as you update product data.

6. Share those pages via social media, email them to target segments of customers you know have those vehicles and try distributing those links to suppliers or enthusiasts to link back to your site now that you’ve created a valuable reference resource.

7.  Repeat the process for every chassis code you want to target.

Conclusion

When you’re finished, you’ll have a repository of relevant, SEO-friendly pages for shoppers to land on for years to come whenever they type their vehicle chassis codes into Google. That should help you scoop up a ton of new customers even without making back-end changes to your product categories and databases.

Of course, if you do want to go all-out and optimize your product listings to increase sales volume and user experience – or if you merely need help creating quality chassis code content and marketing it properly – Interact One has your back.