It used to be that successful automotive parts marketing online was as simple as throwing up a website and listing your items for sale. Even today, you can still find dozens of sites from Ecklers to NAPA who simply list a SKU and provide an image of the auto part being sold but woe be to the local dealership or anyone with an eye to expanding their fixed operations marketing who tries to do the same. Due to the intricacies of Google’s algorithm (and, yes, it’s always Google we’re concerned with), these sites have incredible domain authority due to the length of time they’ve been around and to their incredible backlink profiles. So, unless you plan on winning the lotto and buying one of these companies you need to take some time to ensure your site incorporates the five features we’ll discuss below.
Optimize Customer Experience
It’s safe to say that if you haven’t heard of the term UX you’ve got some work to do. UX is the industry term for “user experience” and has everything to do with how users interact with and use your site. There are a number of companies out there who claim to be able to provide actionable insights into how you can improve the UX of your site but if you follow these four, simple tips you’ll be able to make great strides in converting your visitors into paying customers:
- Make the purchase process as simple as possible. Don’t force registrations and hide your prices behind a registration wall.
- As a corollary to the above, offer transparency in pricing so consumers know exactly how much they will be paying for the item.
- If possible, include a variety of shipping options so that you can address each consumers’ individual urgency in shipping. Be aware that some customers simply can’t receive UPS or FedEx due to their locations.
- Site speed is king. Approximately 40% of online shoppers will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Not only that but site speed is a key ranking factor used be Google.
Closely related to user experience is the design of your ecommerce site. In order to create, project and strengthen your brand identity it’s important that your site have a cohesive look and feel that’s clean, concise and carried across the entire online experience. What this means is you need to be sure that your ecommerce site renders well in mobile and desktop versions and uses the same design elements throughout. In addition, if you find yourself selling on eBay or Amazon you want to ensure that these listings feature your brand colors and aesthetics too. This is easier said than done with Amazon, but eBay still allows you to create custom listing pages with more ease.
Become A Resource
When it comes down to it, we all want to sell more parts on our websites but to be truly successful at it we need to do more. By becoming a resource to potential and current customers, you not only improve your ranking in the SERPs but you add value to every purchase. Many aftermarket and accessories sites feature blog or resource sections replete with how-to and informational articles that go into the vagaries of your specific product mix. Don’t assume a customer knows where a VIN is or where to find it — write a blog post about it! Think of all of the questions you’ve ever fielded for your customers and hire a blogger or copywriter to create resource pages for you based on them.
Be Easy to Reach
There is nothing more frustrating than reaching a roadblock in the purchase journey and not being able to have easy access to a human. Sure, we all spend increasing amounts of our time online, but when it comes to spending our cash, we all want the reassurance of a human customer service rep. Make sure your “Help,” phone number, email and live chat options are easy to find within the platform.
In short, customers should have 5 ways to reach you at their fingertips:
- Phone Number: Make sure that it works!
- Email: Make sure that you have additional ways to reach you in the email.
- Chat: Push them to call you-get on the phone if needed.
- Social Media: Include your handles in your chat or emails.
- Text Messaging
Not only does Google love integrated reviews but your customers will too. Not only do reviews lend instant credibility to your products they also provide a type of insurance for your customers. In short, if you action and reply to any less than stellar reviews customers can take that as added proof of your trustworthiness and will be more likely to choose you over a competitor with no reviews.
In addition to on-page reviews you can also consider aggregators like Reseller Ratings, Google, Facebook and Yelp! although these generally end up be a distraction. In fact, in the case of Reseller Ratings, any reviews that you receive which are negative can only be actioned if you pay-to-play. Google, Facebook and Yelp! don’t allow you to do much more than reply to negative reviews so, in all cases, be certain you can deal with the headache if you decide to send people off-site to post a review.