Website Design and Marketing for the Automotive Industry
In the automotive industry, it’s critical that you know your target audience. Often the best definers of audience within the auto parts industry include age, gender and available disposable income. The team at Vertical Rail works with brands and examines analytics to determine the company’s appropriate target customers, and then we create the best marketing strategy to reach that group.
However, there’s a difference between marketing for a service-based automotive business – like an auto body shop – and marketing for an ecommerce or auto parts retailer. For service-based repair shops, dealerships and franchise service centers, paid search will allow you to target new and existing customers within your local area. For automotive ecommerce businesses selling parts and accessories, listing your inventory in comparison shopping engines like Google Shopping can be extremely profitable.
Businesses in the online automotive world will gain success if they focus on website functionality, product availability, optimization for higher visibility and customer service.
What are successful ecommerce automotive businesses doing to stay on top?
To be successful in the ecommerce automotive industry, it is critical for companies to consider a multitude of factors.
Availability & Selection: A company with a great selection of in-stock products for consumers to choose from has a better chance of success.
Advertising around MAP policy: Other successful automotive companies sell items that are not under minimum advertising pricing (MAP) policy.
Free shipping: Auto parts businesses need to have smart solutions for shipping their products – some of which may pose shipping challenges due to size and weight. Many successful companies have found ways to offer some sort of free shipping to consumers.
What is your approach to dealing with fitment?
One of the first things people want to know when they come to your website is if you have a part that fits their make and model. There are 2 approaches to fitment that need to be considered.
Existing technology: Your automotive site should have built-in technology to offer fitment to your consumers.
Marketing to specific fitment: We can advertise to specific fitment and include pages with parts aimed at specific makes, models and years.
What are some of the shipping challenges for this industry?
The automotive industry is one that faces shipping challenges – and not just only the high cost of shipping heavy or large items.
When a customer orders vehicle parts online, the order is often completed by a distribution center that may be across the country from the purchasing customer. If this is the case, shipping costs and delivery times increase significantly.
Other difficulties in this industry can include lack of communication between the supply center and the seller. Distribution centers can run out of parts and fail to communicate those out-of-stock products, leading to long order fulfillment times, cancelled orders and even negative reviews online and on social media.
How can a small company compete with the automotive giants online?
There are a variety of factors that can affect the success of small businesses facing large competitors.
- Customer service: Consumers want excellent customer service, along with competitive pricing. Customer service is key – offer online chat or easy access to support if customers need help finding a particular part or if they need assistance getting the right fit. It’s critical that your customer service team is knowledgeable and can assist customers who have detailed questions about parts and services.
- Simple returns: One of the simplest ways to gain customer loyalt is to offer easy returns at no cost to the customer. Hassle-free returns can go a long way in building trust.
- Word of mouth: With the rise in social media marketing, the better your service, the more likely your small business will spread across channels, building recognition and a following.
- Reviews & testimonials: A small auto parts company should also concentrate on gaining reviews on Google Shopping to build trust and confidence in consumers.
What are three things I can do to increase sales in Amazon?
Here are three methods we suggest Amazon sellers use to improve product sales.
- Add customer reviews: Studies show that nearly 90% of consumers pay attention to online reviews. Reach out to customers who’ve purchased your product or contact local people you know who’ve had a positive experience and ask if they’d write a review. If you have a new product, it’s a good idea to offer it for free in exchange for reviews. This can be done via email or with local students (who always appreciate something free). This can significantly impact your Amazon rankings and improve visibility.
- Organic Amazon optimization: It’s crucial to optimize your product content. Amazon considers keywords in a product title when ranking listings, and with a maximum character limit of 200, it’s best to do some keyword research to determine what keywords have the highest search volume - the Amazon Keyword Tool can assist in finding popular long-tail keywords.
- Offer competitive pricing: In Amazon, the key thing that differentiates one merchant from another is price. And though it’s not the only consideration, price is an important part of the Amazon algorithm that determines Buy Box eligibility. A seller doesn’t have to have the cheapest price – since other factors also go into determining the Buy Box – but pricing (including delivery) needs to be competitive.
What is our experience in the automotive industry?
As a Google Premier Partner, we have a higher level of support available for our advertising across Google. That means if one of your products has an issue, we are more connected with support teams at Google to help us resolve those issues.
Vertical Rail has enjoyed a 15-year track record of successful marketing programs for the auto industry including in the Amazon marketplace and Google Shopping.