The Daily Herald Business Ledger — in its article “Naperville firm finds the right piece for auto parts market” by Richard Klicki — features the history and offerings of Vertical Development and ShowMeTheParts. The article provides a clear snapshot of how a software company started in 1983 by the Vertical Development Inc. president, Jay Wright, ultimately evolved into a present-day aftermarket parts success story.
Driven by opportunity, ever-changing market and customer demands, and innovation through adaptation, Vertical Development launched ShowMeTheParts years ago and is developing a set of product microsites with future e-commerce, the article explains:
“Wright said the database is also the platform for future growth, as the company plans to develop microsites for specific parts, such as brakes, filters or exhaust parts.
The microsites will also allow a client to order a part from online sites, such as Amazon.com, for a timely delivery.
ShowMeTheParts and Web 2 Market aftermarket parts E-commerce/e-catalog platform has upgraded to Magento 2, bringing faster page rendering and easier inventory management to online parts sales. After years of success with Web 2 Market’s implementation of the Magento 1 e-commerce platform, Vertical Development has integrated the ShowMeTheParts database with Magento 2. This update adds a 100% responsive design that looks great on both desktops and mobile devices. It includes automatic part updates, advanced back-end tools, and faster page rendering, making it easier to use for both retailers and customers.
With the ShowMeTheParts integration clients no longer have to perform the time-consuming tasks of application management of parts. Updated application data is automatically pushed to your e-commerce or e-catalog site and displayed to your customer in an SEO and desktop/mobile friendly way, allowing you to focus on more profitable tasks. Combined with Magento 2 the ShowMeTheParts integration gives you a feature-rich admin, B2B, and B2C selling tools, Content Management System, SEO friendly, professional looking e-commerce or e-catalog. With the recent upgrade to Magento 2, Vertical Development and Web 2 Market are able to deliver a better online shopping experience for your customers and easier management for you.
Establishing your business as a top-tier automotive parts supplier is a tall order, especially when a company is just starting out. Water pump startup NovaPacific had everything in place to make sure it developed high-quality auto parts.
To help customers find the correct part for their application and provide ACES files to support customers and eCat providers, NovaPacific turned to Vertical Development. With the ShowMeTheParts database system, NovaPacific could get accurate information to customers while still being able to add to its growing portfolio of parts.
Read the full article from Vertical Development’s President, Jay Wright on SearchAutoParts.com Aftermarket Business World and see how Vertical Development and ShowMeTheParts helped NovaPacific get its parts information out to thousands of buyers.
ShowMeTheParts may get the most attention due to its position as the largest public parts database in the world, but that doesn’t mean we’ve left our other products behind. Our entire system from paper to e-catalog publishing is constantly being updated and expanded to meet the needs of our customers. We’ve decided to run this new blog series to show you some of the new features we’ve been working on.
Classic Vertical Development Feature
If you’ve worked around parts catalogs, you’re familiar with the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb.) This relational database is used in ACES to handle vehicle information including the year, make, model, trim and other attributes to correctly identify applications. Since the beginning, our catalog system has been set up to allow our clients to add their own entries, letting them expand the scope of VCdb well past standard vehicles.
We may be famous today for our massive ShowMeTheParts database, but Vertical Development has been a leader in aftermarket parts catalog publishing for over 30 years, developing mapping and publishing software to fit the needs of a wide range of clients. In this series, we want to highlight some new features we’re bringing to our catalog system. This time, we’re taking a look at alternative part numbers.
There are a lot of variations of parts out there. For brake pads, a company might offer standard, heavy duty and high performance pads. A suspension company may offer rubber and polyurethane versions of a bushing, standard and heavy duty springs, and a variety of shock and strut options built to fit different ride characteristics. Shopped for an oil filter lately? Those come in different ranges, too, offering different levels of filtration to fit a variety of oil change intervals. This range of options means each application may have several compatible variants.
We are excited to announce our 30th year in operations. Based in the greater Chicago area, Vertical Development got its start as a small programming firm, but we soon shifted gears to digital catalog development when contracting with Champion Laboratories in neighboring Albion, Illinois. Today, we are an award-winning technology development firm providing digital catalog software and services to more than 300 aftermarket brands.
Since 1987, Vertical Development has worked with aftermarket companies to first understand their business needs and then, develop solutions to better streamline processes, increase efficiencies, and ensure industry compliance. Each year, we take those learnings and create a development roadmap for future product upgrades and industry innovations. Last year, we announced significant upgrades to our catalog software and systems including near real-time inventory management and stock status updates, a direct result of feedback and feature requests from clients.
Over the last seven years we have been standardizing our vCat application, allowing us to add features and roll them out to our clients quickly. We have grown from a software provider to full service catalog services organization and will continue to operate on the cutting edge of technology to bring state-of-the-art aftermarket catalogs to our clients.
Vertical Development’s ShowMeTheParts database can show your customers which parts will fit their vehicle, what those parts look like and what their design characteristics are. That just leaves one thing they can’t find: inventory. With the near real time inventory system, your customers can see how many of an item you have in stock alongside all the other information that helps them find what they need for their vehicle. We recently added this feature to AP Exhaust’s catalog to take some of the work out creating a parts order.
This system is automated, so when a part is ordered, it’s subtracted from the inventory automatically. These inventory changes are pushed to the website every hour, which is far faster than the days it can take to get information into a system by manually filing and checking orders against the inventory. Automating this process also eliminates errors made when transferring stock information to the system, so the inventory is always accurate.
For buyers ordering from a distributor or wholesaler, that means they don’t have to call ahead to make sure the parts they want are still available. AP Exhaust added real time reporting to their site at the request of their customers. Their distributors already use SMTP to find the parts they want to order, so it seemed logical to display the inventory alongside the parts information. This doesn’t just shorten the time it takes to make an order, it makes it easy for these customers to choose alternative products if the part they want isn’t currently available.
We’ve worked hard to make ShowMeTheParts as easy to use as possible not just for users, but for clients as well. That means quick, easy parts management that allows new parts to be added to the database in days instead of the months required of most parts systems. Now we’re adding a new feature to speed up turn-around times in your business: “near” real time inventory and stock status updates. By automating inventory updates, processing times can be streamlined, and customers can see inventory levels directly from SMTP-based databases while they’re looking for parts.
How does it work? This new feature can be set to download inventory information from an FTP site that is hosted by the client company (DIY) or by us (DIFM.) The update interval time and frequency can be set to match the needs of the company from once each night after closing to multiple times per day. This information is matched up with the SMTP database, and the results are shown as part of the parts information in a column alongside other categories like application notes and quantity of parts needed per vehicle. For the end user, finding a part in stock is as simple as putting in their vehicle information and checking the inventory column to see which compatible options are available. Put that together with other SMTP features like photos, data sheets and 360 images, and the customer can be sure they can get a part that will work for their application.
Now, automotive aftermarket companies can easily add ShowMeTheParts catalog lookups to WordPress websites with a new WordPress plug-in created by Spork Marketing and Vertical Development, Inc. Combining our ShowMeTheParts’ massive aftermarket parts database with the world’s most popular website platform makes bringing parts information to your customers easier than ever before.
The first company to use this new tool is GMB North America, Inc. On the previous GMB North America website, customers had to leave the site to check parts information on ShowMeTheParts.com. As part of developing a new website for GMB, Spork Marketing created a WordPress plug-in that integrates GMB’s ShowMeTheParts catalog directly into the WordPress website system, so now customers can find what they need for their vehicles immediately. The results are now live on GMB’s website, www.gmb.net.
“Our new WordPress plug-in leverages the ShowMeTheParts’ API, which allows any parts seller or manufacturer to add a full suite of catalog lookup tools to a WordPress website,” says Jason Lancaster, president of Spork Marketing. “As perhaps the most popular website platform in the world, WordPress is already a reasonable choice for any auto parts or accessory manufacturer’s website. Our plug-in makes WordPress an even better option.”
“e-Commerce” may be starting to sound like a tired buzz word, but make no mistake: the growth of online sales is nothing to take lightly, even in the aftermarket parts sector. As the data comes in for the past year’s sales, we’re getting a better picture of how the online marketplace is changing. More than ever, buyers are turning to online tools to help with shopping, whether they’re ordering items at home, on the go, or even making decisions inside a store. Most of that growth has centered around smartphones, making it more important than ever to have a solid mobile presence.
In the past year, the biggest growth area in e-commerce has been focused squarely on growth through mobile devices. There are over 125 million smartphone users in the United States, and 62% of these people have made online purchases from their phones in the last six months. What does that translate to for overall sales? Last holiday season, shoppers used smartphones for 1/3 of all online purchases.
For those businesses with a physical location, e-commerce is still important. Last year, 40% of sales for Black Friday at brick and mortar stores came from online sales. Even when buyers are coming to your stores to buy, over 80% used smartphones in-store to look up product information and reviews or to search for other locations where they can find the products they need.