All companies in the automotive parts sector are sooner or later pushed to address the need to have a B2B web shop. However, moving the business online is a challenging task and requires a careful study of the different possibilities in the market.
In this article we will analyze the most important elements that make up a B2B automotive parts web shop and the different types of solutions that we can find in the market.
To begin with, we must know the 4 key elements that make up a B2B automotive parts web shop:
(1) Parts database.
In non-auto parts web shops, product data is stored and managed from the web’s own database and does not require separate consideration. But in our case, data is vitally important.
There are different formats that allow us to structure and store our data, the main ones are: ACES and PIES, Tecdoc and Autocat.
Although the truth is that many companies have designed their own data structures where they manage all their product information. In these cases, the maintenance of catalog data is a complicated issue that must be taken into account.
(2) Product search functionalities.
Once we have the product database, we need users to be able to easily find our products, for this reason we must provide them with search functionalities, basically:
Search by reference number
Search by application
Search by sizes
Search by VIN or license plate
Depending on the products we want to sell and our customer profile, it will be more or less necessary to have each of these search features.
(3) Back-end for web administration/management.
The Back-end part of the web is responsible for managing price and availability information, customer data, purchase conditions, invoices, payment methods, shipments, etc. etc.
Many times we find that we do not want to manage this information in the web shop Back-end but in our ERP, in this case we will have to perform data integration from Web Services so that both systems communicate.
(4) Front-end or graphical interface to the user.
The visual part of the web shop must be very functional and allow the use of all the product search functionalities that we have in a very simple way and display all the product information very clearly.
Once the main elements of a B2B automotive parts web shop have been explained, let’s see the different types of solutions that we can find:
(1) “Turnkey” web shops where all the elements of the web are implemented and ready to use. Here, the drawback is that they normally do not allow us much flexibility in terms of changes and/or extensions of functionalities and we are the ones who must adapt.
Most of these solutions integrate a parts database, which is associated with an additional license cost, so we have to take this into account.
(2) Web shops that integrate the APIs of a data provider to solve the parts database and search functionalities. Of course, then you have to find a solution for the Back-end and Front-end.
In this type of solutions we have more flexibility for changes and extensions, although here we also find additional costs for the licenses to use parts database.
(3) Web shops based on the client’s own technology or from third-party companies and that is fully adapted to the client’s needs.
In this type of solutions we do not have additional costs for the use of the databases, but in return we must deal with all necessary elements that a web shop needs and combine them properly, which is complex.
Regardless of the type of B2B web shop you are thinking of developing or acquiring, Factory Data can help you improve it and guide you through the entire data preparation process.