Alex Pike is the owner and founder of Barra Enthusiasts - a part reseller specialising in selling Ford Barra parts.
About Barra Enthusiasts
Frustration quickly turned inspiration as Alex realised there’s an opportunity to build an online store that centralises all Barra parts in one place; where all Barra enthusiasts can find the parts they need. Having launched its online store recently, the company is already growing rapidly as a result of building a raving online community and offering a great online store experience for its buyers.
When setting out to build the online store for his parts business, Alex realised the importance of providing part fitment compatibility information for buyers on the product pages. He understands that the end customers are less likely to purchase a product if they don’t know whether a part fits their vehicle.
What he envisioned was simple. Customers land on the website, they select a specific vehicle, and all the parts for that vehicle show up. They can then browse and pick the parts they need, check whether it fits their vehicle, and make a purchase. As simple as this sounds, finding a solution was a much bigger challenge than he thought.
Alex started by experimenting with all the ‘Year Make Model’ and ‘Vehicle Finder’ apps on the Shopify app store. However, the key issue with these tools, he said, is that they do not provide fitment data and parts information; so adding this information had to be done manually.
After spending 48 hours straight reconciling parts and fitment data manually, they gave up when realising thatthis manual work will more than triple the entire team’s workload. They needed a system that also provides part catalogue and fitment data.
When stumbling upon the PartsPal app on the Shopify store, Alex quickly realised that PartsPal’s value was different to other solutions. Although costing more than other apps, the software was designed to solve the part compatibility problem much more holistically.
When Alex uploads a part list on PartsPal, the system matches this list with equivalent parts on Partly’s Global Auto Part Catalog (GAPC), automatically giving each part detailed fitment information. For example, a Disc Brake Pad Set (part number: DBA42102S) would fit 29 vehicle definitions. Below is an example of a detailed vehicle definition that fits this part:
Ford Falcon XR8 G6 FG [February 2008 - December 2014] 4.0L l6 Turbo/Intercooled 270KW (367HP) 24-valve (24v) (BARRA270T) Rear-Wheel Drive Stripped Chassis FG Petrol CARB Origin Australia
With a combination of getting fitment data from our databases, and the Partly team assisting in acquiring fitment manually, the store now has 65% of its parts showing fitment data.
A big part of Barra’s success was also their willingness to learn and receive guidance from our customer success team. Our co-founder Mark Song worked closely with Alex for many weeks to set up PartsPal and make sure the team knows how to use it independently.
Essential features included
Other than fitment data, the product’s best feature has to be the Vehicle Selector, said Alex. Customers who land on the website can choose their vehicle based on Year, Make, Model, plus more detailed definitions like Submodel, Series, Engine Details, etc, which makes the product filtering extremely accurate. This ensures that customers only see part collections relevant for their vehicle.
The Fitment Check functionality is also available for all products that have fitment. The visual widget on each product page allows buyers to easily see whether a part fits their vehicle. This has been shown to improve the likelihood of purchase by up to 40%.
In addition to these two features, Alex and his team can manage their inventory, cross reference equivalent parts, add fitment data and manage orders all in one place.
“The magic moment was when I saw the Vehicle Selector on the landing page of my store. It’s great that customers can browse only the parts relevant to their vehicle and instantly check whether it fits, it’s game-changing.”
Loved by customers
The business also saw a strong boost in customer engagement after integrating with PartsPal. The store’s online sales are growing consistently, a large part of which was attributed to the ability to check fitment.
When asked whether they have used Vehicle Selector and Fitment Check, 95-98% of the store’s social media followers answered ‘Yes’. It’s safe to say that these are some of the most used features on the store.
A strong foundation for auto parts online stores
Alex sees PartsPal as the foundation of auto parts e-commerce stores. Whilst part sellers know that adding fitment & compatibility data can boost sales, getting the data and integrating it into their online store has proven to be an extremely challenging task. It’s more so in the case of smaller sellers who neither have the time nor budget to do this.
“I think every auto parts e-commerce store needs a reliable fitment solution and parts catalogue management system. Fortunately for us, Partly provided both. Without their solutions, I probably would have delayed launching our store until we’ve figured this out.”
With more sales orders regularly coming in and having completed most of the PartsPal set-up, Alex now spends less time on admin tasks like manually finding fitment data or managing spreadsheets, etc; and more time promoting his store and fulfilling sales orders.
- Barra needed a parts catalogue management system that provides fitment data. Most apps on Shopify require them to build their own database instead of providing one.
- The integration of PartsPal has been the foundation of the business rapid growth, with revenue increasing consistently since its launch.
- Although requiring upfront time to set up, PartsPal is an investment that already yields a positive return.