September 15, 2015

White Paper: SupplierPro™ for Parts Distributors: Sell Auto Parts Directly to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime


To beat the competition and thrive in this mobile-enabled world, automotive parts distributors must streamline their back-office operations and take advantage of innovative mobile technologies.

Only by moving beyond outdated and poorly integrated inventory systems can distributors enhance their ability to search parts in the warehouse and update availability quickly, improve order accuracy to reduce returns, and gain deeper insight into demand so they can stock the right parts for the right customers.

Leveraging the power, efficiency, and analytic capabilities of an integrated mobile app platform enables distributors to avoid obsolescence in their markets while also supercharging their capacity to sell parts directly to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Thriving in a Mobile-First World

Three important economic and technological developments are working together to drive the need for mobile innovation in the $146 billion automotive parts aftermarket industry.

First, new car sales have been growing consistently for the past few years. Sales in early 2015 are averaging 9% higher than the same time in 2014. Second, part sales are on the rise. Aftermarket suppliers experienced a 5.3% increase in sales, and OES suppliers experienced a 3.4% increase in sales during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Third—and perhaps most important—we are now living in a mobile-first world. In this new world, we start our day, take care of our personal and business affairs, and end our day with a mobile device at our fingertips.

By 2016, the number of smartphone users around the world will exceed 2 billion. In the U.S., more than 178 million people own a smartphone. Of those smartphone owners, 96% use mobile apps. That includes more than 200 million workers who use mobile business apps.

Clearly, in a mobile-first world, connecting with customers and increasing sales requires deploying an innovative mobile solution.

Technology Remains a Barrier to Sales

Parts distributors face a wide range of challenges. They need the ability to quickly and easily search parts available in their warehouse. They need to be able to easily update product lines so they can stock and sell more parts. They need to increase the accuracy of orders to lower, or possibly eliminate, part returns. Additionally, they need data to help them gain better insights into demand so that they can stock the right parts for their local customers.

Most parts distributors are experiencing difficulty with responding to these challenges because the current state of their technology is not meeting their needs.

Cataloging Parts & Multiple Data Formats

The complexities involved with cataloging parts and multiple data formats add to the difficulties parts distributors face.

A survey conducted by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, revealed that 72% of respondents’ customers requested product data in the Association Catalog Enhanced Standard (ACES) format. However, 58% of respondents indicated that they prepare and deliver customer data in formats other than ACES, such as Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES). The primary reason for not providing ACES-formatted data to customers was due to “discrepancies in the data” and “missing vehicles.” Moreover, about 25% of respondents said that they pay a third-party contractor to map their data to the needs of their customers—adding to their overhead.

Multiple data formats are a significant problem. Not only do they increase costs, they contribute to customers ordering the wrong parts resulting in costly returns and lost business.

Outdated & Poorly Integrated Inventory Systems

Other operational inefficiencies interfere with sales and profits. Most distributors are working with outdated and poorly integrated inventory systems that require tremendous time and effort to maintain.

These inadequate inventory systems also make it difficult for distributors to search for parts, update product lines, and keep stock records up to date.  Also, if distributors want to support mobile users, they would have to invest in either upgrading or entirely replacing their current systems.

The Need for Data Analytics

Most distributors are getting by with inventory and sales systems that don’t provide the type of data that supports actionable insights about local demand. Consequently, distributors don’t have the information they need to serve as a valuable resource by stocking the right parts for their local customers.

What if you could use a mobile app to dramatically streamline your cataloging and inventory management processes, cut down on errors, and make it easier for your customers to find the parts they need?

Need to Sell More Parts? Go Mobile!

Although e-commerce has been around since the late 1990s, e-tailing—selling parts online—has become the auto parts industry’s fastest growing sales channel.

Currently e-tailing accounts for more than $6 billion, or 6%, of automotive aftermarket sales. Industry analysts project that soon e-tailing will account for 20%, or $28 billion, of the industry’s sales—and those are conservative estimates.

As with other retail and wholesale markets, having an effective online presence has been a marketing and sales necessity. However, in today’s mobile-first world, the winners will be the forward-thinking companies that are quick to leverage the power of mobile technology to establish and nurture relationships with customers.

SupplierPro for Parts Distributors is Geared for You™

Staying ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace requires auto parts distributors to work smarter. In our mobile-first world, working smarter means leveraging the power of mobile apps.

SHIFTMobility’s SupplierPro for Parts Distributors is a mobile app platform that improves your agility and mobility by connecting your parts with your customers in ways never before possible. There is no new inventory system to purchase, and there are no system integration issues to deal with.

SupplierPro has all of the features you need to transform your inventory and sales processes:

  • Access manufactures’ stock and related data, enabling you to sell parts anytime
  • Easily upload and update your inventory
  • Process and track orders on mobile devices
  • Connect with repair centers, allowing them to access your inventory and prices instantly through your mobile parts catalog
  • Create and market packages and kits
  • Customize and publish multiple deals with social media integrated marketing
  • Use deep analytics to better understand local markets

With SupplierPro, you can easily upload your entire inventory and keep it updated from any device. Also, the app’s parts catalog is optimized for the mobile experience, allowing repair center professionals and retail customers to easily find the right part for the job using their mobile device.

Sign up. Start selling. It’s that simple!

About SHIFTMobility

SHIFTMobility offers an all-in-one platform for the auto industry that is unique in its ability to vertically integrate manufacturers, distributors, and repair centers through any mobile device. Based on multi-constituent architecture, large scale distributed computing networks, data forms, and visualization, SHIFTMobility’s innovative mobile platform is able to deliver unparalleled efficiency and ease-of-use—revolutionizing the way businesses collaborate and grow.

Download the Supplier Pro for Parts Distributors White Paper