Spring time has officially sprung and with it brings a boom in business for the automotive aftermarket industry. Thanks in large part to the combination of tax return season and DIY’ers getting outside from the winter months. To meet this increased demand and traffic merchants are continually trying to make the webstore more appealing and accessible while adding product lines to spur growth and satisfy shoppers’ requirements. This can be labor intensive with the vast amount of data and content involved. With this being such a vital time of year and resources limited its important to focus on webstore improvements that will be the most impactful. In this blog, we’ll be covering five techniques to improve your automotive aftermarket website and improve traffic and sales.
Update Your Images
Don’t just settle for stock images. You’re better than that! (At least you should be.) Using just stock imagery makes your site bland, and doesn’t inspire any sort of emotion or urgency on the part of site visitors. Invest in original imagery, and perhaps video if you have the resources, especially for your primary galleries and marketing material. Shooting your own images and videos will provide your site with unique lifestyle-driven content that will connect with customers and give your brand more identity and personality than stock images. Use stock imagery is ideal for part number-specific images. There’s no need to spend time and money shooting your own images of specific SKUs, lug nuts, windshield wipers and other items – focus your efforts on primary gallery and lifestyle content.
Improve Search functions to Include Fitment Data
If you are selling auto or truck parts, you should already have search functionality with fitment data, but it’s important to also ensure your keyword site search delivers the same vehicle filters and product results as your year/make/model or categorization lookup. For many automotive sites it does not. It is imperative that you make it as easy as possible for customers to find the parts they need for their specific vehicle as quickly and easily as possible. One way to ensure this is to program your fitment data into your on site Search functions for those more specific site searches, such as “year model product line” or even “year model brand product name”. This will give customers another, more direct way to find the parts they’re looking for,which will lead to more time on your site and more sales.
Update your Homepage and Messaging and Be Consistent with Your Branding
It may seem like a very basic task but it’s one that many companies, not just those in the automotive aftermarket industry, often overlook. We see many teams focusing on onboarding new products, while letting the homepage and general marketing graphics go stale. This next suggested technique is more popular in the apparel industry, but update your promos and hero banners regularly to entice repeat visitors and stay on top of your competition. In a somewhat related topic, all of your graphics used in site banners, remarketing, even product images, should be consistent in their theme and style for consistent branding. Your name and logo must be prominently displayed on your header, social media channels and official communications. A great example is the page header for Tonneau Covers, which you can see below:
Include your contact information on your site footer and on the social media channels as well, as customers continually reach out on channels most convenient for them. And don’t make them search all over the site for your phone number or location. We also recommend adding a Chat option to your site, like Zendesk, to give customers another way to interact with your brand and have their questions answered. These may seem like basic items, but you’d be surprised how many companies overlook them, and it’s the small details that differentiate your brand and site from the noise.
Invest in Content that Adds Value
It’s not just your product catalog and UX/UI that will keep customers coming back and attract the attention of new customers. It’s your expertise as well. Luckily, there are a number of ways to showcase your automotive expertise and reach an audience that both needs your help and your products. Installation videos, which can be created for auto enthusiasts of all skill levels. These can be embedded on your site.
Comparison videos are also an excellent way to showcase your industry knowledge. These videos can be placed on to your homepage or on specific product pages to make them more skimmable, provide professional guidance and add value to a customer’s visit. If a customer can get the guidance and knowledge they’re looking for directly on your site, or on a product page, then they’re less likely to leave your website to find information or the product that they need.
These installation and comparison videos can also be posted to YouTube, where they can be viewed by car owners who are searching that platform for guidance. Make sure to brand the videos with your logo and include links to your webstore and any relevant products in the video description. That way, viewers searching YouTube for product comparisons or tutorials who view your content can easily click over to purchase the product(s) you’re working with or explore your webstore. Adding video content to YouTube can also boost your Google search ranking as well.
Buyer’s Guides are another great form of original content that will attract auto owners to your site. Creating a guide around a series of products or components of a vehicle (Brakes, Cooling, etc) will showcase your expertise and, just like tutorial videos, these guides will bring customers to your site who were searching the web for these sort of information already.
Merchandise Upselling & Cross Selling that Follows Fitment
Another aspect that many sites or modules get wrong is that their upsell and cross sell products don’t fit the customers’ vehicle. This inattention to detail reflects poorly on your brand, and your automotive knowledge. Plus, it could lead to more abandoned carts, canceled orders and returns. Simply put, you must have your fitment data programmed into your cross/upselling functionality. Not only will it help prevent these fitment issues, but by recommending merchandise that is relevant and fits your customers’ vehicles, you can actually sell more products and create long-term customer loyalty. Which is what this is really all about.
There may be a no better time than the present to update your automotive aftermarket webstore with some of the techniques we’ve described in this blog. If you would like help with any or our recommended ideas, contact us today to speak with an automotive eCommerce expert and start your trip down the road to more sales.