Tire Installation Made Easier
Amazon recently announced a partnership with Sears for tire installation and balancing services, meaning customers who purchase tires on Amazon can choose to have them installed at a Sears location, no matter the tire brand.
Customers will select these services during the checkout process, thanks to Amazon’s “ship-to-store” option. This partnership between eCommerce and brick-and-mortar gives customers the best of both worlds; they can order the part online and have it delivered and installed at the store.
Automotive suppliers of parts included in “ship-to-store” integrations will need to send product content that can be used effectively by both Amazon and Sears, or any other big-box retailer Amazon partners with. Each one will have specific content formatting requirements that suppliers must meet in order to get products to market.
Computer Vision Technology
Matching At-Home Photos to the Amazon Catalog
Another focus of Amazon’s is computer vision technology, which obtains information from images or multi-dimensional data. This is the foundation for Amazon’s Part Finder, a mobile feature that allows customers to take a photo of an item in their home and be directed to matching items in the Amazon product catalog, all from the Amazon app.
Built on technology developed by Partpic, a company Amazon acquired in 2016, the feature is able to match the items from photos to relevant items in the catalog. It’s currently used for more than 100 types of household “fasteners,” such as nuts, screws, and bolts. Because it’s easy to lose track of these small parts around the house, Amazon has given customers a quick way to find exactly what they need and stay stocked up.
Fasteners Today, Automotive Parts Tomorrow
While this feature is limited to “fasteners” right now, it will eventually hit the automotive aftermarket, providing the same level of convenience for drivers looking for replacement parts. Automotive suppliers need to be prepared for the day when Part Finder can be used for their products. This means sharing accurate, compliant product content with Amazon that can be incorporated with this feature. By staying “in the know” about where Amazon is going, auto suppliers will be able to roll with the new technology when their time comes.
The How Behind the Internet of Things (IoT)
Amazon continues to make enhancements to its voice assistant Alexa, expanding its lineup of speakers, appliances and accessories at a recent hardware event. At the event, Amazon showcased Alexa’s improved conversational skills powered by ambient computing, which is the backdrop of sensors, devices, intelligence, and agents that can put the Internet of Things to work.
Ambient computing enables Alexa to anticipate the commands, information, and tasks that are most important to its users. It can predict what a user needs, and gives alerts and reminders accordingly. The ambient computing backbone also supports Alexa’s voice ordering capabilities, which allow users to place orders on Amazon through voice commands.
Due to ambient computing, Alexa contains relevant customer data that can direct customers as they shop, creating a unified experience overall. For automotive customers, this makes it easier to purchase the right parts for their specific cars when they need them. And because of ambient computing’s omnipresence, IoT data will be available for automotive suppliers to use as guidance for inventory strategies. Suppliers will need to prioritize this data, as it affects how and where they sell their products.
At the hardware event, Amazon also introduced Echo Auto, a dash-mounted device with Alexa functionality that can be used in any car by connecting the driver’s phone to Amazon’s cloud. This comes on the heels of Amazon releasing open source code of its Alexa Auto SDK, allowing automakers to integrate Alexa in vehicles.
Automotive aftermarket suppliers cannot escape the Internet of Things (IoT), and will need to be able to evolve their manufacturing and selling processes in order to adapt to this technology integration. Alexa is everywhere, and should be embraced.