Maybe it’s time to trade up.
You’re an automotive aftermarket accessories shop or installer who knows that you need an online presence to be competitive in today’s market. If you didn’t know you had a better option, you might have paid someone who probably had little-to-no industry knowledge to set up a generic website for you in hopes of driving some extra foot traffic into your store. The website was probably expensive and hard to manage—unless you hired someone to do it for you. And when that website ended up being a bust, you were left scratching your head wondering why you wasted all that money for no return.
So, does your website suck? We’ve identified 11 key criteria to consider that will help you judge for yourself.
1. Product Data
The first thing you should check for when auditing your website is whether it contains ACTUAL product data. Customers are searching every day for specific brands, categories, series, and even part numbers. If you don’t have this data on your website, how are your customers going to know to come to your shop to buy what they’re looking for? Aftermarket Websites® provides product data for more than 400 industry-leading brands. We also grade and enrich product data for our supporting brand partners.
Having product data is great, but having it organized in an easy-to-navigate fashion is as important. Poorly organized sites and miscategorized products create a terrible browsing experience, and frustrated customers are likely to go elsewhere to find what they need. That is why it is vitally important to keep all of your product data logically organized. Aftermarket Websites® takes the guesswork out of this process with a custom categorization system that automatically groups products into the most appropriate families.
3. Automatic Product Updates
If you do happen to have well-organized product data on your site, the next factor to consider is whether that data stays up-to-date with the latest manufacturer releases. If the answer is no, then you’re likely going to have to manually manage all that data so that your customers aren’t frustrated by outdated and discontinued parts. What busy business owner or manager has time for that? Aftermarket Websites® saves time and eliminates human error with automatic products updates that keep product data current and correct.
4. MAP Protection
MAP protection is vital to having a fully functioning website for your aftermarket shop. As you are probably aware, repeat violations of a manufacturer’s MAP policy could land you on a “do not sell” list. Unfortunately, unintentionally violating MAP is all too easy unless you’re tracking every communication and change from every manufacturer you sell—and it could cost you the ability to sell certain lines. You are safe from MAP violations with Aftermarket Websites®, which features built-in MAP protection and procedures that remove the risk of inadvertent MAP violations.
5. Search Engine Optimization: AKA Getting You Found
Think about how you shop online. If you’re like most people, your first stop for online searches is Google. It follows, then, that if your website (or business in general) isn’t optimized to get noticed by Google, customers aren’t going to see your shop come up in their search results. For a store website to be successful with local consumers, it must contain elements such as a physical address, phone number, Google map, store hours, meta descriptions/keywords, and similar information. Cookie-cutter websites don’t often deliver in this area. Aftermarket Websites® does. Our first priority is, and will always be, to get LOCAL brick-and-mortar resellers and installers of aftermarket accessories found by customers searching in their LOCAL markets. Our entire platform was built with this goal in mind.
Does your current website provider offer easy DIY tools to edit and maintain your own site, or are you paying them a monthly fee to maintain it for you? If you are responsible for maintaining and updating the content on your website, is it harder than you’d like it to be? As a shop owner or manager, you probably don’t have a ton of time to be messing around with clunky website builders trying to edit a section on your homepage. Aftermarket Websites’ intuitive drag-and-drop interface lets you make quick and easy changes to your pages—no coding experience required.
7. Personalized, English-Speaking Support
Does your current website provider take days or even weeks to get back to you regarding a support ticket or change request? Do they have multiple ways to contact them so that it is easier for you to get the answers you need? If the answer is no, then you’re probably banging your head against the wall in frustration. That’s why it’s important to partner with a company that understands how important your website is to your local automotive accessories business. When you call or email Aftermarket Websites®, you will be helped by a member of our Tennessee-based team who is trained to answer your question. In fact, we can literally walk downstairs to talk to the tech team that built and maintains the platform if we need to. And because we’re also in the automotive accessories industry, we truly want to see you succeed.
E-commerce is here to stay. If you want to compete in today’s world of large online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, your website needs a fully functioning shopping cart and a streamlined checkout process. You must also be realistic: having a website with products and a shopping cart does not mean you’ll become the next Jeff Bezos (sorry!). But your LOCAL customers are going to love having a 24/7 shopping option. The Aftermarket Websites® platform includes a comprehensive suite of e-commerce tools, including a shopping cart, to help brick-and-mortar shops give customers the online shopping experience they have come to EXPECT from national players.
9. Year/Make/Model Lookup
In our industry, giving customers the ability to narrow down searches based on application fitment is crucial. Does your current website include year/make/model lookup? If it does, can you drill down beyond those top-level parameters? For example, bed length for customers shopping for a truck bed cover? Aftermarket Websites® has created a custom year/make/model lookup that asks all the right questions, so your customers can quickly and easily find the parts that fit their specific applications—and avoid returns and dissatisfying purchases.
Mobile-responsive websites adjust their presentation based on how shoppers access them; for example, on a desktop computer versus a phone or tablet. These adjustments are important to ensure a consistent, positive browsing experience. If your website does not adjust its layout based on the screen size of the user’s device, you’re probably using an outdated platform. And customers can be quick to abandon sites that are a pain to navigate on their mobile devices. Aftermarket Websites® sites are mobile-ready out of the box. You never have to worry about content getting cut off no matter what device the customer is using.
If your website meets all of the criteria listed above, congratulations! You’re way ahead of most of your competitors. But superior websites also usually command superior prices, commonly in the range of $1,500–$3,000 per month and sometimes accompanied by hidden fees for changes and revisions that aren’t advertised. Aftermarket Websites® is made affordable by our supporting brand partners, whose contributions allow local shops that otherwise might not be able to afford a premium website to have the online presence they need to truly thrive.
BY the industry, FOR the industry.
Aftermarket Websites® is developed and maintained by The AAM Group, an organization that’s been helping local automotive aftermarket accessory retailers and installers for nearly 30 years. We understand what your needs and challenges are because those are also OUR needs and challenges. We work with warehouse distributors and premier product suppliers across North America to deliver marketing and sales support to the shops that are the lifeblood of our industry. If you don’t succeed, no one succeeds!
We’d love to talk to you!
Run by enthusiasts who know the automotive industry, and starting at just $49.95/month with a one-time $500 setup fee, Aftermarket Websites® provides value that’s hard to beat. Schedule a no-obligation demo today to see how one of our sites can work for you!