Amazon and the Automotive Aftermarket

Amazon: The Innovation Pace Car of the Automotive Aftermarket

“I’ll just get it on Amazon.”

How many times have you uttered that phrase after leaving a store empty-handed because the item you needed wasn’t on the shelf? Probably more than you can count.

You are not alone. Amazon has undisputedly changed the way we shop and dominated the eCommerce space. In fact, this year, the company will capture 49.1% of the eCommerce market, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.

Amazon’s dominance has affected the buying and selling of all types of products, including automotive parts. That’s why Edgenet works with automotive suppliers to develop and maintain rock solid partnerships with Amazon. Our product experience management (PXM) platform is the only one that can send ACES data to Amazon, ensuring product content is within auto care standards compliance.

Not only does the standard functionality of amazon.com make it easy for consumers to search for and purchase auto parts online, but tech advancements, such as “ship-to-store” integration, computer vision technology, and ambient computing will impact the automotive aftermarket’s relationship with Amazon.

The eCommerce Standard

So, how did Amazon become the top dog of retail? By making shopping simple, convenient, and enjoyable. Because, as we know, experience is everything.

The Amazon Prime program already provides free two-day shipping for members, and customers who want products delivered in a matter of hours can get them through Prime Now. Plus, with Subscribe & Save, customers can set up recurring deliveries for items that need regular refills.

On the automotive side, customers can navigate to amazon.com/part-finder to search for parts by car make, model, and year. This taxonomy makes it easier to find the right parts for the right cars, eliminating the need to scroll through pages and pages searching for a specific part.

Whether through traditional search or the Part Finder page, Amazon provides customers with a more expansive product catalog, greater ease, and faster service than traditional retailers. Prime has made two-day shipping an online delivery norm and increased customer expectations; an AlixPartners survey found that American adults now consider 4.1 days the maximum acceptable time for a package to arrive, down from 5.5 days six years ago.

Amazon has set an eCommerce standard that has made its way into every industry, and the retailer is leading the charge for the digital transformation of the automotive aftermarket.

The question is: what does this mean for automotive suppliers?

What’s New in the World of Amazon?

As the reigning retail leader, Amazon is always up to something. And it’s critical for automotive suppliers to be aware of the company’s latest advancements in order to take advantage of new opportunities for getting products online and in front of customers faster.

Here’s some priority areas at Amazon you need to know about:

Ship-to-store Integration

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.

Ambient Computing

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.

Automotive Integration

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.

Edgenet Connects You to Amazon

As the only PXM platform that allows suppliers to send product content and ACES data to Amazon from the same place, Edgenet is your one-stop-shop for building a strong Amazon presence. We work closely with the eCommerce king and will make sure you always know what’s going on so you can get ahead of the trends.

Request a demo today to learn more from our automotive product content experts about how you can get your products on Amazon faster – you can’t afford not to.

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