The leading cause for missed sales and returned orders in auto parts ecommerce is missing fitment data. Fitment data (which includes vehicle compatibility, cross-references, and other part details) can be a nightmare to manage and is a pain to intuitively display on a website.
Even so, it’s crucial to figure out the ‘fitment problem’ for any auto parts business in ecommerce. In short, no one buys a part online unless they are confident that it will fit their vehicle.
However, adding fitment data to an online car parts website isn’t an easy task for businesses, especially if you’re not using the right tools. The good news is that PartsPal has everything needed to help car parts sellers automate specific tasks to help you manage your online store.
Understanding fitment data
Fitment data is an essential concept in the industry, but it is quite complex to understand. This article will describe fitment data in full detail and how to manage it in the online space.
What is fitment data and why is it important?
Fitment data refers to a vast range of parts data and its relation with the vehicle. Put simply, fitment data is the relationship between a car and its parts, and it determines whether a part will fit a particular vehicle or not.
In the auto parts industry, fitment data is pivotal in the decision-making process before a customer buys any part. Customers cannot afford to buy a part that will not fit their vehicle, so they will have to cross-check the fitment data very carefully to ensure that the parts will fit before they make the purchase. Therefore, accurate fitment data is crucial to the success of an online auto parts store. Without it, customers will not be able to choose the parts that will fit their vehicles.
There are several ways through which the customers can find fitment data.
- Call up the part seller
There is no doubt, this works. Many parts sellers have in-depth knowledge about the parts they sell and the vehicles they fit. The problem is, it’s just not scalable.
- Check the exact part number
This is great when it's possible, but a lot of the time a customer can’t identify the part number, it’s been rubbed off, or was never printed on the part in the first place. This also eliminates opportunities to sell cross compatible part numbers.
- Use on-website vehicle compatibility-part matching systems
This option is by far the best, so why don’t all online businesses use it? Often the building and maintenance of these systems have been put in the “too hard basket”. Collating all the data required and publishing regular updates has traditionally been a mammoth task. However, as you’ll find out in this article, this no longer needs to be the case.
What does fitment data include?
Fitment data describes the parts concerning the vehicles they are compatible with. It considers the size and dimensions of the part, the materials used and the year of manufacture, among other things. This data will be compared in relation to the vehicle, allowing fitment data to show whether the parts and the car are compatible with one another or not.
What exactly constitutes high-quality fitment data? There are three main criteria: accuracy, completeness, and format.
- Accuracy: As expected, the fitment data that your website employs must be nearing 100% accuracy in order to ensure the benefits of less return orders. This should prevent customers from buying parts that do not fit their cars. Of course, the customers can still return the parts, but your business reputation may suffer. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ensure that your system updates fitment data from reputable databases such as Partly’s.
- Completeness: Fitment data must include all the possible vehicles that are compatible with the parts. This ensures that the customers won’t miss out on the parts that may fit their vehicle. Without fitment data, this can be pretty difficult to achieve, given that some parts are used for several car makes.
- Format: The format of the fitment data is also critical, as an unstructured format could severely limit its usefulness. PartsPal is a software that employs state-of-the-art fitment databases and formats, ensuring that all data are accurate and well-managed.
Where does fitment data come from?
Fitment data usually comes in especially unified databases like the of Partly’s. The Partly API connects websites with industry-standard fitment information. It will help you manage fitment data and update your online store’s database as necessary. Therefore, you do have to constantly update the database manually, preventing the chance of any human errors.
With PartsPal you can easily integrate a fitment database into your storefront, even if it exists on platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or Shopify. PartsPal is a reliable partner of car parts businesses looking to conquer e-commerce.
The benefits of using fitment data
Fitment data is one of the essential tools for online car parts stores. Its primary role is to help customers to make better purchase decisions, which will significantly benefit the business in many ways. Here are some of the most prominent benefits.
Convenience is a determining factor when it comes to customer satisfaction. The more convenient and user-friendly your online car parts store is, the more satisfied customers. By integrating fitment data into your store and utilising it to its full potential, you can easily let customers know whether the parts they are about to buy will fit their car.
With Partly, thanks to the integrated parts finders, they can also search for these parts with ease. Without first integrating an intelligent management system for fitment data, a parts finder will not be functional at all.
When customer satisfaction is high, there is a much higher chance of purchasing at your store again. This will, in turn, increase your sales and bring more profits back to your business. Therefore, using fitment data is one of the surest ways to increase the sales volume at your store.
Furthermore, the marketing department can also use fitment data to help drive sales. When customers buy a part on your website, you have the ability to also use fitment data to determine the vehicles that they use. With this knowledge in mind, the marketing team is able to send targeted marketing emails or newsletters to these customers, improving their chance of making another purchase at your store.
Lower rate of returns
Returns are the bane of an online car parts store because it can be extremely challenging to process returns. If fitment data is integrated into your website and there is a management system that handles it, fitment data can help to minimise the rate of returns. If fitment data is always accurate, the customers will be able to make the right purchase all the time, ensuring that they will not have to return any incompatible parts.
The integration of fitment data into the system will allow the website to update fitment data automatically. This will ensure that the rate of human errors will be kept to the minimum, ensuring that your customers will not accidentally buy the wrong parts by mistake.
Higher level of trust
By integrating a sound fitment management system such as PartsPal into an online car parts store, sellers will foster a better connection with their customers. A reliable and completely automated system will ensure that there are as few errors as possible. As a result, your customers will make purchasing decisions far more easily, and they will trust your website even more.
The more organised your website is, the more likely it is that your customers will trust you and make their purchases there. Therefore, integrating fitment data into your website and employing it in daily operation will be an excellent way to convince your customers to trust you.
Efficient shop management
Managing an online car parts store can be a logistical nightmare for new car parts store owners. This problem gets even more complicated when there is a need to manage several sales channels and several warehouses simultaneously. Therefore, you will need the right tools to help you keep your stock in check. Fitment data is the one thing you need for that.
With PartsPal selling car parts online becomes so much easier as you can manage your stock efficiently. Furthermore, the installation of this software is straightforward. You do not need to add more lines of code to your website to integrate the software into it, making it a user-friendly tool even for car part sellers that are just beginning to tackle e-commerce.
With your website connected to a fitment data database, you can help customers look for the parts that fit their vehicles. On the other hand, it’s easier for you to stock up the frequently bought parts. PartsPal employs two industry-standard databases - UVDB and GAPC.
Both of these databases communicate with one another to improve the overall accuracy of fitment data. You can also cross-reference aftermarket parts with the corresponding OEM parts with PartsPal if you need alternatives. Partly’s fitment data is an excellent tool for managing an online car part store.
PartsPal is compatible with the most popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, or eBay, allowing speedy integration. Vehicle fitment data is an important aspect of an online car part store. Without it, your customers might not buy the right car parts and will end up having to return them.
Furthermore, fitment data will also help you manage your website more efficiently, improving your sales and overall profits. If you need a tool to help you manage fitment data, PartsPal is a good choice.
The Challenges in Using Fitment Data
Fitment data is not an easy tool to wield. Online car parts owners soon realise that they might face various challenges integrating fitment data into their websites. Here are some of the most notable challenges.
The first problem arises from the sheer number of part names. Each car part comes with its own name, and the names will have to be unique so that the system will not mix up one name with another. Therefore, you will need fitment data to resolve this issue.
By looking up other unique IDs such as the VIN numbers, fitment data will ensure that the name of each part is unique, making it easier for customers to look up the parts that fit their car.
One other issue is the fact that each database might employ a different naming convention, making it very difficult to discern which part is which. However, with Partly’s fitment data comes a unified naming convention that will smoothen your operation.
Fitment data comes from numerous databases and sources. However, not every database is made equal, and some are more comprehensive than others. The challenge is to source fitment data from a database with high accuracy. Fitment data determines whether a part will fit a car, so it must be correct all the time, or the customers might make the wrong purchase decision.
One problem when it comes to sourcing is that the source of fitment data might not be complete. This means that it might miss out on a few parts or connections. One way store owners could minimise the adverse effects of this step is to use two databases simultaneously and in conjunction with one another. Always go for highly accurate sources of fitment data so that the data will not clash with one another when cross-referencing them.
Another issue with sourcing is the inconsistency of formats. A fitment database might encode its data to fit a certain platform exclusively. For example, the fitment data provided by Amazon does not fit other platforms such as eBay or Shopify.
This can present a huge issue for businesses with multiple sales channels, as they will have to integrate fitment data into numerous sales channels. Therefore, for these businesses, sourcing will also be a big issue that has to be addressed.
GAPC is a good source of fitment data for online car part stores to work with. It works much like a dictionary for car parts: When you search for a unique part, the database will return all the information, including the vehicles the part will fit, all in just a few seconds.
The database is driven by both the industry and the community, ensuring that it stays up-to-date without being inaccurate. To gain access to the GAPC, PartsPal is a good starting point. In addition, GAPC can be mapped to other formats used by marketplaces and ecommerce website platforms.
The complexity of information that fitment data contains also constitutes a great challenge for many car part stores. Fitment data includes product information such as the dimensions, the material, the colour of the part, etc., and the relationship between the part and the vehicles. This essentially means that fitment data will contain both static and dynamic aspects, making it very complex to handle.
As fitment data also deals with the relationship between the data and the vehicle, the database will also have to store data about the vehicle. Data such as engine types, drive types, etc., must also be included in the database to draw connections.
If that is not enough, the database must also draw links between the parts and the vehicles. Therefore, the amount of data a fitment database must handle is incredibly vast and complex.
Manually handling a vast amount of complex data is a very daunting task. Some of the tools available to car parts sellers today are having difficulty processing every piece of information. PartsPal is one of the most reliable choices when managing vast fitment data. It taps into the extensive GAPC database, and it will sort the data dynamically so that you can easily manage it, allowing customers to navigate your website more easily.
Choosing the ideal fitment data
The challenges presented by fitment data are not unsolvable. If you choose the correct fitment data and the right car parts management tool, most of these challenges will not be a huge problem. Here is how you can select the ideal fitment data that will give your website the boost it needs.
Consolidated naming conventions
Since naming can be a big issue for fitment data, a consolidated and coherent naming convention is necessary. A fitment data database with inconsistent naming conventions will confuse both the system and the customers.
Even more troublesome is the fact that naming, if it is too complex, could cause more harm than good. For example, if the naming convention of a database is too complicated, there might be mismatches or inaccuracies when customers cross-reference two databases.
Fortunately, most high-quality fitment data management systems have the unified naming convention you need. Industry-standard databases such as GAPC, ACES, and PIES have their own consolidated naming convention to ensure that every part type is unique, and there will be no confusion when processing an order.
Choosing an accurate fitment database is one of the most important parts of the process. There should be no room for error when handling your fitment data, as incorrect data will inherently lead your customers to buy the wrong products. They will then have to return the products, which will be very time-consuming and harmful to your brand image.
An accurate fitment data database is not just one that correctly matches the vehicle. It also means that the database will quickly update itself to include the most recent changes in the industry. For example, if a new part has just come out, the database will have to include it as soon as possible so that the car part store can quickly put the new part on sale.
PartsPal, which employs the GAPC and UVDB databases, prides itself on superb accuracy and top-tier update speed. The UVDB database currently boasts over 70 million vehicle configurations, ensuring that it will always offer accurate information that will significantly help your customers.
The database also governs data such as transmission, body style, drive type, and many others. The wide variety of data it governs ensures that the database will only give out the most accurate fitment data.
The UVDB database is also connected to the GAPC database, which manages over 55 million parts. Therefore, the system will be able to cross-reference information between the two databases, ensuring that the fitment data produced is of top-notch accuracy.
As a bonus touch, fitment data should also be categorised into collections and categories for extra accuracy and convenience. When categories organise the system, there is an even lower chance of inaccurate data.
While accuracy is needed to ensure that customers will not make the wrong purchase, the completeness of a fitment data database will determine which parts will be accessible to the customers. A fitment data database must include all the current possible combinations so that customers will not miss out on anything.
An incomplete fitment data database will not only be damaging to your customer’s buying experience but also your business. If the database were not updated on a particular part’s fitment data, the customer would miss out on an essential piece of information.
Therefore, they will not purchase the part that might be crucial for their vehicle. On your end, an incomplete fitment data database will make you miss out on potential business opportunities, costing you potential profits.
Professionals in the car parts industry are constantly updating solid databases such as GAPC and UVDB. This allows the databases to get the latest fitment data to your online car parts store without interruption. As a result, the product information available in your online shop will always be complete and highly accurate.
To significantly improve the completeness of your fitment data, you could employ two databases simultaneously and cross-check the data together. Not only will you get the best of both worlds, but you can also search for parts that fit more easily.
Flexibility is also another essential aspect of good fitment data. As e-commerce involves many different sales channels, the fitment data should always be available in the correct format. This means that the data should be flexible enough to be incorporated into many different platforms.
Both Amazon and eBay boast of their own fitment data solutions, allowing store owners to implement a fitment data management system that will make it easier for customers to search the parts that fit their car. However, problems arise when you try to integrate this vast database into other sales channels.
There will be incompatibility, and the fitment data will not perform as well as expected. The fitment data required by Amazon comes in a different format from the one available to eBay sellers, so using them interchangeably is very difficult unless you have a converter. Even then, using a converter costs time and effort.
Therefore, encoding fitment data in a flexible and convertible format is crucial for every online car part store owner. This will allow you to effortlessly integrate fitment data into several sales channels, which will significantly boost the sales volume of your business. Furthermore, if the data is in the correct format, there is a much lower chance of it being corrupted, improving its overall effectiveness.
The Partly fitment data advantage
With so many challenges posed by fitment data, you will need a highly automated and sophisticated tool to process and handle this vast amount of data. Manually handling is simply not viable for any business with a decent number of part SKUs.
Partly offers one of the best tools out there to help you manage and utilise fitment data more effectively. Partly also comes with a wide range of benefits that make it the most suitable choice for store owners that wish to transition to e-commerce and expand their business online.
Seamless database integration
As stated above, integrating a fitment database into a system can be a bit problematic if the data is not in a flexible format. Inflexible data format means that only one platform can accept the data, and other platforms will not accept it.
For example, if you set up a site on Amazon and employ the fitment data provided by the site, the data might not be compatible with another platform such as eBay or Shopify. Therefore, businesses with multiple sales channels need to find the correct fitment data that allows multiple channels.
Partly’s main advantage comes from its superb flexibility. Its system makes seamless database integration possible, allowing you to source fitment data for multiple sales channels and making it easier to manage your products.
Partly’s top-notch integrations also ensure that the integrated channels can be installed very easily. The seamless integration takes very little time to set up, and it does not require a lot of coding, if any at all
Partly allows integration with top-tier platforms such as eBay and a number of other marketplaces One special bonus is that the system also works well with custom websites made by Shopify.
Assets will be converted to the website’s theme to ensure a smooth look. If a certain theme is not available, you can contact the experts from the team to help apply the desired theme to the website.
A consistent brand look is also a must when creating an online business. The brand look is an integral part of its identity, so it must be consistent throughout all of your sales channels. Fortunately, Partly offers seamless Shopify integration to ensure a consistent look across all sales channels.
Automation is arguably another vital part of the equation. Fitment data is incredibly complex as it includes the product data of the product itself and that of the vehicle and the relation between the vehicle and the part. Therefore, handling and updating this giant database can be very time-consuming, and it is almost impossible to do so manually due to the sheer complexity of the data involved.
Fortunately, you do not have to do it on your own. Tools such as PartsPal will help you fully automate several steps in the process, speeding up the process considerably. For example, with PartsPal, the system will automatically update itself whenever there is new information in the database or whenever there is a recent change. Therefore, the team will be able to focus on other important matters.
Another plus from the high degree of automation that PartsPal offers is that automated updates that are programmatically and human-verified. Manual updates might well include mistakes, so the powerful automation from the software will make sure that your fitment data database is filled with high-quality data that will be greatly helpful to the customers.
Managing a whole website, along with the vast amount of fitment data it carries, is a huge logistical challenge. You will not only have to make bulk changes whenever there is a new shipment, but you will also have to make sure that all parts are correctly registered into the system. Furthermore, you will have to manage several sales channels at the same time, complicating the tasks even further.
You will need a good management tool to take on the above tasks. PartsPal is an excellent tool to use. The tool comes with a user-friendly control board that allows you to control every aspect of the website, ensuring that you will not have to juggle multiple pages simultaneously.
If the parts are unorganised, it will be infinitely more challenging for the customers to find the parts they have been looking for. PartsPal will take your website organisation up a notch by organising the parts by categories, helping customers find the parts more easily. For example, if they are looking for a specific engine part, they could check out the engine category.
The system also comes with a product mapper that effortlessly connects the product to catalogue parts. With this mapper tool, you can add product information such as the price, name, images, etc., to each product more easily.
Cross-referencing and Vehicle Search
Fitment data is primarily used for cross-referencing and vehicle search. The customers will input their vehicle in a search box, and the system will cross-reference the data with the databases to give out the vehicles that the parts will fit. PartsPal has made this step even easier for customers with its vehicle selector and the parts compatibility checker.
The vehicle selector allows you to pick your vehicle and compare its fitment data with the selected part. The system will automatically match an aftermarket part with its OEM equivalent.
As a result, the fitment data available to the OEM part will become available to the aftermarket part, allowing the customers to find the most accurate fitment data with ease. The parts compatibility checker will confirm the fitment of the part with the selected vehicle, making sure that the customers will not make a wrong purchase choice.
The system will also constantly update itself. The old information will be quickly superseded and replaced whenever there is new information. This ensures that there will be no outdated information in the database.
PartsPal fluidly employs both the GAPC and the UVDB databases. When customers search for parts, the system will cross-check information from these two databases to produce the most accurate results without any inaccuracy in the process.
Admittedly, fitment data is not easy to fully understand and master. Its vastness and complexity pose a considerable challenge for most online car part businesses. The naming convention is also a source of challenges, especially if the fitment data database opts for a convoluted naming convention that leaves a lot of room for confusion.
Fortunately, the solution has been built. Partly’s superb database integration and powerful automation allows it to handle and manage something as vast as fitment data efficiently, empowering business owners with the extra time and a lot more energy to develop other aspects of their business. Furthermore, Partly’s high-quality fitment data will ensure that your customers will rarely make wrong purchases that they will eventually have to return in frustration.
In the age of digitalisation, fitment data has quickly become one of the most important aspects of an e-commerce business that specialise in car parts. With the correct fitment data, you can help guide your customers to the right parts for their vehicles with zero chance of buying the wrong parts. Fitment data will also help you to easily manage your store's inventory, ensuring that you can deliver nothing less than a top-tier and user-friendly shopping experience to your customers.