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16 JUN

Want to Grow Aftermarket Parts Sales? 5 Must-have eCommerce Features for Aftermarket Success

by Kris Harrington

According to a recent report from Digital Commerce 360, “B2B eCommerce sales for manufacturers grew 6.7% to about $458.7 billion in 2020.” The growth in B2B eCommerce shows no signs of slowing down, and capitalizing on this digital potential will give you a leg up on the competition. So what should you do to make sure you’re maximizing your eCommerce site? Through our years of experience, we’ve seen which features are an absolute must-have for manufacturers and can make or break an eCommerce experience.

Below are our 5 must have eCommerce features for aftermarket success:

1. Robust Product Search

First and foremost, product search is the most used part of any aftermarket website. It’s the starting point for most customers when they want to find a product. Without robust product search functionality, customers’ efficiency in identifying the right parts will be slowed dramatically. When someone types something into a search bar they expect to find what they’re looking for, no matter how they’re looking for it. For example, a successful aftermarket eCommerce site should allow customers to search by:

– Serial number, VIN, and/or model number
– SKU or part number
– Product description
– Product category
– Product cross-reference
– Vendor number

 

 

Having that depth of search will give customers confidence they are getting to the right part. Customer confidence is key to turning search results into an order.

2. Integration to the ERP

An ERP system is the backbone of virtually every manufacturing environment. OEMs invest a great deal of time and money to ensure the ERP properly supports all areas of the business. It’s important when launching an eCommerce site to capitalize on the investment and processes already in place with the current ERP system.

Thinking about it from an eCommerce perspective, the ERP is the safe place to find vital product data tied to bills of materials, SKUs, pricing, inventory and customer account information. It’s where quotes and orders get entered, along with many details related to shipment tracking and order status.

The value gained in the integration to the ERP is in the seamless automation of activities that historically happened through emails and phone calls between customers and your aftermarket support team. Access to real time price and availability, quote and order creation, order status and shipment tracking information can only occur if fully integrated to the ERP.

It’s important that critical updates taking place in the ERP pass directly to the eCommerce site. It’s also true that all quote and order activity taking place in the eCommerce site passes easily to the ERP. This will increase visibility and reduce duplication of work for both employees and customers. For these reasons, integration with the ERP is so important.

3. Bulk Order and Quick Order Functionality

Most of your customers have a purchasing department that consists of multiple buyers purchasing products across multiple vendors. They are typically required to enter a purchase order into their own business system before they can buy from another manufacturer or business. Offering a bulk order option allows your customer to take their purchase order and simply enter it into a template on the eCommerce site and have it go straight to the shopping cart. In doing so you’re easing the process of doing business and saving your customer a lot of time.

 

 

In a situation where a buyer knows the exact part numbers they are looking to purchase, they will expect to spend as little time on a site as possible. This is where quick order comes in. All a buyer has to do is enter the part numbers and quantities into the order pad and add them to the cart. By removing the need to search and find each part, this allows them to have the order done in a fraction of the time. Often B2B purchasers will not know product details or parts by their image, they are simply looking for the fastest way to confirm price and availability and get their parts on order, quick order accomplishes that.

 

 

4. Flexible Payment Options

When it comes to selling aftermarket parts to customers who maintain and operate the equipment you manufacture, having the ability to pay on account is critical. Anyone that has an account with you is going to expect to see their contract pricing online and be given the ability to make purchases on account. As you also work to grow your market share or earn back business from customers who no longer have an account, those users are going to pay with a credit card. Having flexible payment methods ensures that, no matter who the buyer is, they are making the purchase from your eCommerce site.

 

 

5. Purchase History

Answering post order questions is an important part of an eCommerce experience as well. Questions about order status, tracking information and invoice details are all elements that can be tied to a logged in account and made available in the purchase history.

Purchase history also provides a simple way for buyers to look back at previous purchases and reorder or re-quote with current price and availability. Quotes created by a technician can be easily shared with buyers who have access to the same account to make converting a quote to an order easy for the authorized buyer.

Providing a self-service way to check the status of orders, get a copy of an invoice, and re-order saves everyone time and we know how important time is to your customers.

 

 

Easing the process of doing business with you is one of the greatest benefits of opening an eCommerce site for your aftermarket customers. By including these 5 must haves into your eCommerce strategy, you will increase customer satisfaction and convert more aftermarket parts orders.

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