How to Move Your Aftermarket Brand to the Top of Mobile Search Results

search-engine-friendly app

In the 21st century, effective advertising has branched out from the bounds of the TV screen to every computer and touchscreen in the world. Through search engine optimization, businesses can tailor the content of their websites not only to appeal to their target demographics, but also to appear in the top rankings of websites like Google when customers search for their products.

The principles of SEO are simple enough: Web designers and copywriters incorporate certain words and phrases into a website’s text so that the site shows up in search results for those same terms. The idea of optimizing is to appear as highly ranked as possible on search engines like Google and Bing.

Last year, the world found out that Google uses an artificial intelligence system, known as RankBrain, as part of its ranking software to help refine search results. According to Google, RankBrain is the third most crucial factor in the entire set of ranking algorithms. Additionally, RankBrain has a section of code dedicated to ranking for mobile devices. It helps mobile-friendly websites and apps appear in more advantageous positions in Google searches performed from smartphones and tablets.

According to recent data, fully 58 percent of Americans use smartphones; and 42 percent use tablets. On-the-go millennials use smartphones and tablets more often than their computers, especially for shopping. It’s true in the aftermarket industry as well. Aftermarket Business World estimates that just more than half of aftermarket professionals use a mobile device for work.
To reach all of these people, it is crucial for companies to have the right products in the right place at the right times to fill those needs, but keeping up with the changes in the tech world can be exhausting for many and downright impossible for most.

That’s where we come in…

Vertical Development has been helping aftermarket clients catalog and map information with our industry-leading software for more than 30 years. Our talented and dedicated team of programmers, coordinators and mapping experts work with aftermarket brands to make their catalog data accessible via mobile-friendly websites and apps.

What makes a website “mobile-friendly?”

There are quite a few features that differentiate a mobile-friendly site from other websites that users visit from their laptops or PCs, but generally speaking a mobile-friendly website will include:
• Easy-to-fill forms
• Intuitive interfaces
• Large touch screen buttons
• Font types and sizes that are easily read on smaller screens
• Minimal graphics that won’t devour large amounts of a user’s data plan

All in all, the point of a mobile-friendly website is to make it simple to find information and navigate the site’s contents using a smartphone. By combining your mobile-friendly site with a powerful mobile app, you can provide your customers and staff with a superior overall experience, offering unique features like push notifications for new products.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is visibility. There are currently more than 20 billion apps in the online marketplace today. You might think most of them are junk, but still one or more could belong to your competition. As mobile search algorithms get smarter and more sophisticated, they will continue to serve up content that is specifically tailored to the needs of mobile-device users, first.
Without moving your parts catalog to a mobile-friendly website or app, you’ll be relegated to the bottom of the heap.

Ready to partner with us to build your new mobile app? Give us a call at 847.609.9540 or email sales@verticaldev.com.

read more

2016 ACPN President’s Catalog Excellence Awards

acpn

Did you design your catalog with Vertical Development and ShowMeTheParts last year? If so, we know it’s award-winning material already! Get your acceptance speeches ready, awards season is open…

Recently, the Automotive Content Professionals Network (ACPN) announced its call for nominations for the 2016 ACPN President’s Catalog Excellence Awards. We’re excited to share this news with you and hope that you will consider taking some time to submit your catalog for this prestigious recognition. We know firsthand all of the hard work that you put in each year, and these awards recognize the best examples of printed and electronic cataloging in the auto care industry.

Do you have a new mobile app? Enter that too! Web and mobile applications are evaluated as well as paper catalogs. Visit the Auto Care Association website for judging criteria and instructions on how to enter your catalog today.

Winners will be recognized at the Knowledge Exchange Conference on May 15-18 in New Orleans, LA.

The deadline to submit your catalog is Friday January 29th, 2016.

read more

Why You Need a Mobile App

mobile app

Schedule a Demo

Over 58% of Americans own a smartphone and 42% own a tablet. Clearly, it makes sense to have mobile access for consumers, but what you may not realize is that this same level of mobile use carries over to the other side of the parts counter. Aftermarket Business World estimates that a little over half of aftermarket professionals use a mobile device for work.

As time goes on, more and more mechanics and parts people are reaching for their phones and tablets when looking for replacement parts. That’s why Vertical Development created ShowMeThePartsMobile. Now in its second version, this software makes it easy to turn your existing parts catalog into a mobile app or website that makes finding parts easier for customers, employees, and your field sales force.

What is “Mobile Friendly?”
Standard web interfaces are built with computers in mind, which means the user is accessing the site from a device with a large screen, a mouse, a keyboard and an Internet connection with fast, unlimited data. If you try to use one of these sites on a phone, then it becomes rapidly apparent why they aren’t suited to mobile devices. For example, filling out basic search information turns into an arduous task that involves slow load times, constantly zooming in and out to read text and frequent use of an on-screen keyboard.

A well-designed mobile app is built with touch screens and limited Internet access in mind. That means large text that is easy to read, large buttons that are easy to press, and simplified design elements that are fast to load. Long forms are broken into separate pages so that the user can see everything they need on a single screen instead of scrolling and zooming into multiple areas. Put all of that together, and a good mobile site allows users to navigate and find what they need far faster than they would on a regular website.

There’s also one other clear advantage that mobile devices have over computers: they can be brought to the vehicle needing the part.

Consumers and techs alike can make side-by-side comparisons between catalog photos and the part that needs to be replaced without having to remove the part from the vehicle. When a customer brings a vehicle to your store, your employees can enter information as they find it on the vehicle, virtually eliminating the chances of making mistakes.

Is It Difficult to Go Mobile?
It’s probably easier and more economical than you think. ShowMeThePartsMobile is built as a module that integrates easily with Vertical Development’s software, making it simple to create a mobile version of your current ShowMeTheParts-based catalog.

Not using ShowMeTheParts yet? The software also works with catalogs formatted to the Auto Care Association’s ACES format, so we can easily transform your data into a mobile-friendly application.

ShowMeThePartsMobile has the same powerful search tools as our standard database, including features like License Plate and VIN lookups. Participating Aftermarket DIYs, Installers, Jobbers, Repair Shops, and Warehouses now have instant access to the most up-to-date parts information for more than 300 brands covering over 95 million applications. Parts professionals can access these brands which cover more than 4,100 part types and include important information including complete coverage for 1.7 million parts with 4.4 million attributes, 8.7 million interchanges, 18 thousand documents and 2.8 million images.

ShowMeThePartsMobile also has unique features aimed at mobile users including integrated GPS to help customers find their way to the nearest store location to buy a replacement part.

Already have a mobile site? Our software can be adapted to have the same look and feel of your existing site while giving users access to the powerful search tools and information.

Which Devices Does ShowMeThePartsMobile Support?
Mobile apps for both iOS and Android can be built using ShowMeThePartsMobile, and they can be made available to users through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Mobile sites built with our tools are 100% HTML5, so they work in any modern browser, letting users on any platform from Blackberry to Windows Mobile access your parts catalog.

What are you waiting for?
Going mobile makes it even easier for your customers to do business with you and it can help your staff work with them to find the parts they need. Simply put, if your business isn’t mobile-friendly and accessible, then your customers will find one that is.

Ready to partner with us to deliver your products more quickly and seamlessly to customers? Give us a call at 847.609.9540 or email sales@verticaldev.com.

read more

Do you have a Mobile-App available?

 

In the past few years more and more companies have Gone-Mobile with a Mobile-App to serve the growing number of customers using both Mobile Phones and Tablets in their Warehouses, Jobber/Retail Stores, Installation Bays, and during a Sales Call – to quickly answer a coverage question or review the latest image, specification, technical document or sales sheet. If your data is already in the Auto Care Association ACES Format you are only a few steps away from being able to deploy an affordable Mobile solution from the leading provider of catalog management solutions to the marketplace.

read more