Ultimate Auto Parts Toolkit – Cracking the Code for Auto Part E-Commerce

UnderCarExperts.com is a brand new e-commerce site by MomentumUSA, Inc., powered by the Ultimate Auto Parts Toolkit, a brand new turn-key solution for the aftermarket auto parts industry that seamlessly combines Shopify & ShowMeTheParts data.

In 2022, launching an e-commerce store is pretty straightforward for most industries, but not for the Automotive industry. The complexities of products offered along with the need to create an accurate fitment finder can leave even the best developers scratching their heads. Attempting to crack the code has been expensive and often ends in unfinished or ineffective solutions, frustrating owners and leaders alike. Ultimately, e-commerce often remains on the organization’s to-do list as a result of these headaches and roadblocks.

That was before the Ultimate Auto Parts Toolkit. By combining industry-leading ShowMeTheParts cataloging data with the easy to use Shopify platform, AmeriBRAKES was able to launch their new retail site, Under Car Experts, in a few weeks without the headache of having to manage and maintain multiple data sources. As product information is updated through ShowMeTheParts, the Ultimate Auto Parts Toolkit will update their site to reflect the latest changes in real time. Everything from product images to descriptions to SKU counts will be powered by existing ShowMeTheParts data. No more outdated listings or support headaches because of outdated data.

Luke Smith, CTO of MomentumUSA, Inc. on the new integration: “I have been asked to stand up multiple year-make-model lookup systems for e-commerce over the last ten years. Some were built from bare metal and some utilized platform-as-a-service. What they all had in common was a heavy ongoing maintenance burden for getting Content (ACES & PIES) updated. Even the “Automotive” e-commerce platforms don’t seem to understand how important it is to ingest AutoCare standards natively. Vertical Development has been ingesting and publishing my Content for years. Plumbing their ShowMeTheParts API service directly into Shopify (a non-automotive mainstream platform-as-service) is a brilliant way to leverage the strengths of both worlds – like chocolate and peanut butter. ”

Undercar Experts has been in the automotive industry for over 70 years. They have always dedicated themselves to offering top of the line customer service, with great products at affordable prices. You can find them at https://undercarexperts.com/

Vertical Development has been managing auto parts data for over 30 years, so they understand the complexities and challenges of presenting and selling auto parts. Quality data is the foundation for success in everything they do. You can find them at https://www.verticaldev.com/

G, C & J Group is the company behind the Ultimate Auto Parts Toolkit integration. Focusing exclusively on the ecommerce needs of the automotive market, they understand the complexities of selling online and selling across multiple channels (DTC, eBay, Amazon, etc..) while keeping things simple. You can find reach out for more info at contact@ultimateautopartstoolkit.com

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Eliminate the Frustration From Heavy Duty Part Lookup Once and For All

As a manufacturer, there are few things more painful than having the parts your customer is looking for sitting in a warehouse or retail store. Many times the only barrier is not having an easy search tool in place for them to be identified and purchased. These lost sales opportunities are frustrating for everyone involved and can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

If this is a current pain point, let’s get a call scheduled so you can be free of this headache once and for all with ShowMeTheParts fitment guides.

See It & Try It…Before You Buy It

While we will cover a few of the features and benefits below, the best way to evaluate the impact ShowMeTheParts will have on your business is through a FREE live demo & consultation. Simply send us your fitment data file and we will create a working part lookup solution for you and your team to test out. You can submit your request by clicking here.

Another way to experience the power and ease of use of ShowMeTheParts is by testing out the solutions we have helped SKF, Timken, and Carquest implement. Once there, click on the Heavy Duty Applications tab and be sure to review how each guide uses the key features and customizations listed below to solve their part fitment needs. Finally, if there is a feature or data organization that you really like, be sure to mention it when submitting your request for a demo.

Key Features & Customizations

Part Search by Key Attributes

Our most popular and commonly used feature is our highly flexible key-attribute search. With attribute search, the limitations of year, make, and model lookup disappear, allowing fitment to be driven by specific part attributes like dimension or material.

ShowMeTheParts Attribute SearchTo illustrate, consider a manufacturer who sells hoses in different diameters, lengths, or materials. While these parts can be connected by YMM or VIN, there are other use cases in which this information would not be available or relevant. The manufacturer might also sell bulk hose which wouldn’t make sense to connect to a specific YMM lookup. ShowMeTheParts can help visitors in each case to quickly find the parts that fit using each of the key attribute search feature.

As you can see, this feature alone can unlock many new sales opportunities. To see our attribute search in action, click on the Part Information tab and then Attribute Search on the SKF catalog

Organized to Fit & Showcase Your Catalog

One thing you’ll notice by looking at the examples highlighted above is that each fitment guide is organized in a different way. For some manufacturers, it makes sense to start with part type and then move to make, while others might prefer the opposite setup.

ShowMeTheParts was developed to be flexible, allowing you to organize and present your fitment data in the way that best suits your catalog. Our team of experts will review your fitment data and provide you with options that best align with your current catalog and needs.

Over 2500 Configurations

While we won’t get into each and every configuration, our thirty years of experience working in such a tight niche and with the largest suppliers in the aftermarket has allowed us to develop a wide range of solutions to meet every fitment challenge. Put simply, if there is a fitment need you have, we’ve likely already solved it for another customer and can quickly implement a solution for you.

Custom Themes & Brand Colors

When customers visit your fitment guide, it’s important to maintain your visual brand identity standards. ShowMeTheParts can be customized to match your brand using brand colors for tabs and throughout your guide.

Get a Jump on 2023!

From start to finish, our team can have you up and running within a few weeks!

Request your demo today and you’ll be one step closer to eliminating search frustration and lost sales by implementing a new and improved fitment guide for your customers.

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Streamline B2B Orders with ShowMeTheParts PRO: 9 Reasons to Upgrade Today!

E-commerce is booming across all industries. If your organization is still looking to get into the B2B e-commerce parts game, the ShowMeTheParts Pro plugin should be at the top of your list of options to explore.

In this article, we’ll cover the top 9 reasons customers choose ShowMeTheParts Pro for their business. Be sure to review all of them as the last few may surprise you.

1. Instant Boost to Customer Satisfaction

Your customers are busy tackling the tasks in their day-to-day professional and personal life and the last thing they want to do is wait on hold to check inventory, pricing, or place an order. By providing them with a platform where all of these things and more can be done from a smartphone or laptop, customer satisfaction and loyalty will instantly skyrocket.

2. Easily Convert Search Results to Sales

In the parts business, customers first need to identify the parts that will fit their application through fitment lookup. But once they find the parts they need, where can they go to complete the sale?

With the ShowMeTheParts Pro plugin, we’ve connected our industry leading fitment tool with online ordering to help you convert search results to sales. Once customers find what they are looking for they can simply proceed through the checkout process. Best of all, customers can place orders 24/7/365 without adding any additional staffing.

3. Allows Your Team to Work on Key Projects

How many projects are on your “to-do” list?

Owners and managers often become overwhelmed and frustrated as the list of future projects continues to grow. In many cases, the logjam is caused by the existing order processing system. They know they can’t pull staff away from the short term tasks needed to pay the bills in order to work on projects which will grow the business long term. And the list continues to grow.

By implementing ShowMeTheParts Pro, staff previously tasked with answering phone calls and manually processing orders can be freed up to work on other key projects. This moves the business forward and can increase employee satisfaction as they move from tedious tasks to more enriching and energizing work.

And don’t worry about difficult onboarding or staff training. ShowMeTheParts Pro is an easy to deploy, turn-key solution.

4. Reduces Mistakes & Errors

With each point of human data entry, the potential for mistakes and errors increases. A simple typo or verbal request not heard can become very costly to resolve.

ShowMeTheParts Pro can help you eliminate mistakes and errors as customers see each and every detail as they place their order. They’ll get exactly what they want and any mistakes or errors will be made by the customer, not your business.

5. Near Real-Time Inventory

For customers, “Do you have the part I need in stock?” is quite possibly their most important and frequently asked question. If not, they’ll need to move on to the next vendor in hopes of having their needs met. And is there anything more frustrating for customers than to place an order only to find out later that the vendor can’t fill it?

ShowMeTheParts Pro uses uploaded inventory totals or automatically ties in with your in-house inventory tool to show the end user currently available stock. This is a valuable feature for both customers and staff to quickly review inventory prior to completing a sale.

6. Password Protected, Tiered Pricing

Do you provide customers with different pricing based on their purchase volume? Or do you want to offer special pricing for a high-value customer?

Each of these can easily be achieved with ShowMeTheParts Pro.

Simply submit your list price along with prices for up to five tiers of customers and each logged-in customer will see their specific price point. Password protection will ensure customers can only see their pricing and can prevent competitors from scraping prices.

Finally, when changes are needed, your administrator can adjust prices or assign customers to price tiers for easy price updates and customer management.

7. Works for Your Industry

By selecting ShowMeTheParts Pro, you are partnering with experts in part fitment for anything that moves. From heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks to agriculture and off-road vehicles, you can count on ShowMeTheParts Pro to have solutions for your most complicated application data.

8. Pricing That Doesn’t Break the Budget

One barrier to entry that we hear a lot from our customers is that B2B e-commerce solutions are just too expensive. Even the options which tout low or minimal costs end up becoming very expensive when factoring in the internal staffing needed to make updates or changes.

We are confident that you will find the ShowMeTheParts Pro Plugin to be well within your budget. Existing ShowMeTheParts ecatalog customers can upgrade to Pro and enjoy all of the premium value-added features for a minimal additional cost per year.

Reach out to our sales team to set up a call to discuss just how affordable it will be!

9. Lightning Fast Launch

While the previous eight reasons are all important, the speed at which we can launch your ShowMeTheParts Pro platform is often the most surprising for our prospects. With ShowMeTheParts Pro, we can have you up and running in as little as a few days!

Just think about how nice it will be to have all of the benefits listed above working for your business, rather than against it. Call to discuss upgrading to ShowMeTheParts Pro today!

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The Quick, Easy, and Affordable Way to Get Your Data Accepted on Amazon

As a marketplace with annual auto parts and accessories sales exceeding $10B with no signs of slowing down, the tide has shifted from teams asking “Should we sell on Amazon?” to “How can we start selling on Amazon ASAP?”

At Vertical Development, we are experts in data fitment for the automotive aftermarket and can help you to navigate the process of loading your data onto Amazon in a quick, easy, and affordable way.

Solving Data Submission Errors

Uploading parts data is one of the first steps required to begin selling on Amazon.

If this step in the process has left you frustrated and confused, you aren’t alone. Just in the past few months, we’ve been approached by several companies that couldn’t get their data accepted on Amazon. For various reasons, they continued to run into roadblocks that delayed the project from launching.

By working with Vertical Development, you can rest easy knowing that our team can solve any issues you may be having. We’ll identify the necessary changes that need to be made to ensure you are supplying Amazon with clean data that is accepted within a few days.

“Right now, submitting ACES & PIES data to Amazon can be challenging,” notes Vertical Development founder and President Jay Wright. “However, Amazon uploads our data lightning quick and we do it every day for some of the leading manufacturers in the industry.”

Eliminating Costly Delays

Submitting parts data only to have it be rejected is not only frustrating, but also expensive.

Each day that passes as you wait for approval represents a day of lost sales opportunities. There’s nothing worse than having inventory on the floor of the Amazon warehouse—and on your books—without any possibility of being sold.

Without the sale, you also lose the ability to earn a positive customer review. On a marketplace like Amazon, these reviews play a vital role in building a strong brand reputation. Customers look to reviews for reassurance and may look elsewhere if they can’t find the social proof reviews provide.

Each one of these delays ultimately impacts your online sales success. When you partner with Vertical Development, you can rest easy knowing these costly delays will be solved within a few days from our clean data upload.

Drive Traffic to Amazon with ShowMeTheParts

Once you have your parts uploaded and available for purchase on Amazon, the next step is to drive traffic to your store. One way we help customers do this is by connecting the Buy Now button on their ShowMeTheParts catalog directly to their Amazon parts listings.

Users begin by searching for their fitment using your ShowMeTheParts catalog. Once they find the part they need, they can simply click Buy Now to complete the sale on Amazon.

This seamless integration can help you drive sales to your Amazon store while also creating a great user experience. It’s a win/win integration.

Eliminate the Hassle. Get Started Today!

As the leading solutions provider for aftermarket problems, we pride ourselves on helping customers overcome their data pain points. Selling online shouldn’t be frustrating, so give our team a call today and we’ll help guide you through the process!

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Meet (and try) Your New Favorite Maintenance Part Lookup Tool

If we were to tell you that a tool was available that could eliminate your headaches and frustration in looking up maintenance related items including filters, wipers, belts and hoses, would you be interested? And would you immediately try it out if you found out it was completely FREE?

Well, that’s exactly what we’ve created with our ShowMeTheFilters.com web edition and our ShowMeTheFilters app! Both tools are completely free and provide the most accurate and up to date data available in the automotive industry.

In this article, we will highlight the features and benefits of our ShowMeTheFilters lookup engine which can increase the productivity and efficiency of any shop including quick lube centers, fleet accounts, municipalities, rental car fleets and more.

Download & Try ShowMeTheFilters

Before you go on, take a minute to download the smart phone app so you can try out the various features as you read.

Comprehensive Coverage in One Location

As an automotive parts search specialist with over 30 years of experience deploying year, make, model lookup systems, we work with industry-leading brands to help them meet their application lookup challenges. This relationship allows us to have the most up-to-date fitment information direct from the manufacturers.

With ShowMeTheFilters, we have combined all of the data into one easy-to-remember location, eliminating the need for multiple catalogs or search engines. We even have coverage for PowerSport/ATV, Medium &Heavy Duty Trucks, and AG market applications like tractors and other farm equipment.

Try It Out

Open the app or visit ShowMeTheFilters.com to see if the brands you use are featured and the vehicles you need to service are listed!

Cross Reference & Part Number Search

In addition to our sophisticated Year/Make/Model/Engine search, you can also use ShowMeTheFilters as a Cross Reference guide or Part Number Search. While for general reference only, the Cross Reference search has well over 1 million numbers that can be cross referenced. This makes it by far the most robust cross reference search tool in the industry.

Try it out

Use the Cross Reference & Part Search to see just how powerful ShowMeTheFilters can be!

Pinpoint Accuracy

While year, make, and model search engines are commonplace, you likely have come across search results that require more digging to be done such as engine fitment. This slows you down and introduces an opportunity for error.

With ShowMeTheFilters, these pain points disappear! Not only do we offer more advanced search parameters, but our “Best in Class” intelligent software automatically selects the appropriate options with each desktop click or mobile tap you make. This not only makes it faster and easier to use, but eliminates dead ends caused by misclicks.

Try It Out

Watch how the input fields such as “Part Type” or “Engine” automatically update as you make each selection!

Zero Data Entry VIN Scanner

As we discussed in the last section, a single user misclick on other systems can lead to either the wrong product being used or a dead end which requires the search to be restarted.

By installing our ShowMeTheFilters mobile app on handheld devices, data entry becomes even faster and completely free of user error. Your team can simply scan the VIN barcode on the vehicle from within the app to get precise product results mapped to the year, make, model, and engine.

Try It Out

Head over to the closest vehicle and give the VIN scanner a try!

No Data Lag!

Many public and proprietary lookup tools often have a three to six month lag in application data. This can be especially frustrating as the next year’s models begin to roll into your shop, resulting in having to guess the right product or in simply losing the sale.

With ShowMeTheFilters you’ll have as close to real time data as exists in the market. As our manufacturing partners make new fitment data available, we are a first place it is delivered. Your team can confidently identify and replace the full range of maintenance parts to maximize efficiency and revenue.

Try It Out

Search for the 2023 fitment guides for your most common vehicle makes and models.

An Unbiased Direct Comparison Tool

We’ll close this piece with one last key distinction that sets ShowMeTheFilters apart from the competition and which will hopefully earn your trust and everyday use. This distinction is that ShowMeTheFilters is a truly unbiased direct comparison tool. We don’t push certain brands to the top of the page nor do we try to show unrelated items. Our sole focus is to display accurate fitment information so you and your team can work efficiently and effectively.

We hope you’ve followed along and are already feeling comfortable using ShowMeTheFilters. And if you are finding value in ShowMeTheParts, please share it with others who might also benefit.

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Leverage Your ShowMeTheParts Data into an E-Commerce Store with Our New Shopify Integration

Today is the day to reopen your exploration into launching an e-commerce store. With the launch of Vertical Development’s Shopify integration with ShowMeTheParts cataloging, simplified e-commerce management is finally within reach for the auto parts industry.

Cracking the Code for Auto Part E-Commerce

In 2022, launching an e-commerce store is pretty straightforward for most industries. Advancements in software and technology have leveled the playing field, allowing businesses of all sizes to sell online. Any competent developer can quickly load your products into an online cart and you will be ready to begin selling within a few weeks.

Unfortunately, things haven’t been so smooth or easy for the auto parts industry. The complexities of products offered along with the need to create a fitment finder can leave even the best developers scratching their heads. Attempting to crack the code has been expensive and often ends in unfinished or ineffective solutions, frustrating owners and leaders alike. Ultimately, e-commerce often remains on the organization’s to-do list as a result of these headaches and roadblocks.

While the challenges are real, so are the costs of not keeping up with changes in buying behavior. E-commerce sales of auto parts are estimated to exceed $38 billion by 2022 and are expected to grow to be well over $50 billion by 2025 (AASA). That represents a 32% increase in the next three years alone.

At this point, the data is very clear. Each year that passes without completing your e-commerce project means another year of lost revenue and the potential for lost market share.

Turn-Key ShowMeTheParts & Shopify Integration

With the launch of our new Shopify integration, we bring together the industry-leading cataloging of ShowMeTheParts with the power and flexibility of Shopify online stores. Together, they combine to provide customers with an easy-to-implement, turn-key solution for selling auto parts online.

A Truly Turn-Key Solution

In seeking out a solution to simplifying auto parts e-commerce, we wanted to develop a truly turn-key solution. With our Shopify integration, Vertical Development is now your one-stop-shop for launching an e-commerce store.

Data as the Foundation

One of the most difficult parts of managing an auto parts e-commerce store is ensuring key data is presented accurately and updated as changes are made. Managing auto parts data has been a core competency of Vertical Development for over 30 years, so we understand the complexities and challenges of presenting and selling auto parts and use quality data as the foundation for success in all we do.

One Database for Everything

By using industry-leading ShowMeTheParts cataloging data to power your e-commerce store, we’ve eliminated the headache of having multiple databases to be maintained.

As product information is updated through ShowMeTheParts, your e-commerce store will simultaneously update to reflect changes. Everything from product images to descriptions to SKU counts will be powered by existing ShowMeTheParts data. No separate files are required!

Powerful & Intuitive Fitment Finder

With accurate data in place, providing customers with an easy way to find products to fit their vehicles becomes the next hurdle to successful auto parts e-commerce.

For our new Shopify integration, we’ve created a simplified front-end product fitment finder powered by ShowMeTheParts data. Visitors will enter key information into the search and instantly see available products presented to them in an easy-to-navigate e-commerce layout. Your customers can quickly review details, add the part to the cart, and complete the sale.

Leading E-Commerce Solution

As automotive data experts, we knew we needed to find an e-commerce platform that is powerful, flexible, and easy to use. After testing many different solutions, we found Shopify to be the perfect solution. No matter if your team has Shopify experience or not, we are confident you will quickly feel comfortable managing the backend of your online store.

Additionally, Shopify is the future of e-commerce and will continue to grow and evolve in the years to come, providing forward mobility. This can be seen in their commitment to developing the Shopify App Store which is full of apps to enhance and customize the overall e-commerce experience.

Complete Control

Unlike other third-party platforms such as Amazon or eBay, your Shopify store will give you complete control over the customer experience. You will no longer be selling right next to your competition, and instead will have the full attention of your customers in your custom branded store.

Additionally, you can begin to have greater analytic insight into your core customer to inform future direct marketing, sales, or promotions efforts.

Ability to Cross Publish

In addition to owning your store, Shopify’s platform also supports publishing to other third-party channels. This allows you to have all of the benefits of your exclusive, brand store, while also being able to easily expand visibility to a wider audience.

Get Your E-Commerce Store Up and Running

Whether you are an existing ShowMeTheParts customer or just getting started, we believe the new Shopify integration provides the easiest and fastest way to sell auto parts online.

By partnering with Vertical Development, you can finally cross e-commerce off your to-do list and begin reaping the benefits of your investment. Best of all, we’ll be there to guide you through each step in the process to make it as pain-free as possible.

So, what are you waiting for? Schedule a call today and complete your e-commerce store project this quarter!

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Case Study: Switching From In-House Cataloging to ShowMeTheParts

At Vertical Development, we take great pride in getting to know and understand customer needs or pain points as we help guide them to solutions that better meet their current needs. Most customers have some form of online cataloging in place, but they turn to us for help taking product lookup to the next level.

This was exactly the case of a recent installation for Sunsong North America, Inc. as they transitioned from an in-house solution to ShowMeTheParts. Sunsong North America is a technology company specializing in research, development, manufacturing, sales, and distribution of automotive fluid transfer hoses and lines.

We caught up with Dan Lewis, Director of Product Management for Sunsong North America, Inc., to discuss how implementation of ShowMeTheParts cataloging has positively impacted business.

Before Using ShowMeTheParts

Prior to using ShowMeTheParts, Sunsong was using an in-house solution created in 2014 by their IT department.

“It was an OK catalog, but it had some deficiencies in that it was very simplistic. You would put in year/make/model and it would pull up everything from brake hoses to power steering hoses. You couldn’t filter on just the part type or front vs rear. It just brought up everything.”

Another shortcoming of the existing lookup tool was you couldn’t select specific attributes like “with or without ABS brakes” to accurately narrow down your product choice. It also would provide a list of part numbers, but it wouldn’t show the pictures for each part. Each of these limitations combined to make it very time consuming at times to find parts.

While the in-house lookup tool was useful to search for OE interchanges, Dan and the team at Sunsong felt an improved search tool would be good for business. The in-house solution hadn’t been updated since its launch and alongside the launch of their new website; they began looking for solutions to upgrade their online cataloging.

Selecting a Replacement Solution

Sunsong wanted to ensure the new lookup process was easy to use, accurate, and displayed information in an intuitive way. They also needed to move quickly and had heard that Vertical Development had helped other companies get up and running in a short time-period.

Specialty Application Search

Sunsong offers bulk hose and end fittings in a range of sizes and needed a search tool that would help customers find these products that people might not lookup via application.  This feature allows customers to look up by diameter and length to determine the proper number to order.

Attribute Search

They also have customers call in frequently for special applications like a brake hose assembly that is several inches longer than the original hose because they added a lift kit to their truck.

“ShowMeTheParts came up with a “Attribute Search” feature where you could go in and say ‘I want to select a category such as brake hoses hose’ and input fitting size, type and overall length’” resulting in a list of hoses that meets those parameters. Lewis highlighted. “This gives people an easy way to find parts when everything isn’t by application.”

By creating a way to quickly find these items using key attributes, customers can quickly find what they need for customized applications. This custom feature puts the tool directly into the customer’s hands vs having to call Customer Service or a Product Manager to manually do research through a series of spreadsheets or diagrams.

Additional Advantages

While the “Specialty Application” search upgrade was significant, it’s not the only advantage Sunsong has realized since switching to ShowMeTheParts.

Search by Engine Size

One new feature that wasn’t capable with the in-house solution is to narrow search by engine size. This is particularly important for Power Steering and A.C. Hose Assemblies that can greatly vary by engine size.

360° Images

More robust 360° images really give customers a great way to see all aspects of a part.

Time Savings

Since switching to ShowMeTheParts, the improved search functionality saves considerable time. Users are able to quickly enter key attributes that narrow down results, eliminating confusion or ordering errors.

“Now, you can see pictures of all results in a row” Lewis shared. “You don’t have to go back and key in other numbers. Simply scroll through and see all the images and options listed for the vehicle and narrow it down by selecting the position to see what options are presented. It’s dramatically faster.”

Working with Vertical Development

We finished up our chat by asking Dan what it was like working with Vertical Development.

“I can’t imagine working with someone that doesn’t know the parts business,” Lewis said with a laugh. “That would be a nightmare.

“You absolutely have to have a company working with you that knows the parts business and knows cataloging. Working with Vertical Development is so much easier because they know what they are doing and they’ve done hundreds of these things.

“You don’t have to explain a whole lot as they just know how to do it. They ask you key questions and then it’s done. If you see something that isn’t quite right, then you let them know and it gets fixed.

“It’s very easy working with Vertical Development because of their background experience and how many ShowMeTheParts implementations they’ve done.”

Final Thoughts

It was great to catch up with Dan and we appreciate him sharing the key benefits and features that have helped make Sunsong’s ShowMeTheParts installation a success.

If you are in a similar situation and would like to explore the ways Vertical Development can help your company upgrade its cataloging efforts, reach out to our sales team to start a conversation.

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Data Mapping Basics & 5 Key Considerations for Choosing Your Automotive Parts Mapping Partner

Maybe you’re just getting started with data mapping and need the basics to help guide you through the process. Or you may be at the point where you are considering moving beyond a do-it-yourself approach—filled with cumbersome text files and spreadsheets—to a more professional and easier to update solution.

Either way, this article is for you!

With over 35 years of automotive experience, we’ll cover everything from what data mapping is to key things you should consider when evaluating potential data mapping partners.

Ready to go? Let’s get started with a few basics.

The Basics of Automotive Data Mapping

What is Data Mapping and Why is it so Important?

In simple terms, data mapping is the process of grouping key data points (information) so they can then be read and understood by another system. Think of data mapping as the preparation work that allows two separate systems to find and display information from a single data file.

In the automotive aftermarket industry, these data points include everything from engine size to part weight. By properly mapping your data, other systems can find and display each and every detail about your part to the potential customers searching for solutions. This ability to quickly identify parts greatly expedites the buying process and drives sales.

However, the opposite is also true. Having an improperly mapped file that doesn’t display the correct information can result in lost sales opportunities or increased returns. This is why it’s crucial to ensure your parts’ data is properly and professionally mapped.

Standardization in the Automotive Industry

To make the exchange of data easy throughout the automotive industry, standards have been adopted.

You’ve likely heard of or had someone request your ACES or PIES files. ACES files power year/make/model/engine lookups used throughout the industry while PIES files populate product information such as weight, measurements, materials, or even marketing literature.

In addition to ACES and PIES files, some partners have proprietary mapping requirements that we will discuss later in key considerations for choosing your mapping partner.

Not All Files Are Equal

While standardization has created the guide for file creation, it’s important to keep in mind that just because someone says they can create an ACES, PIES, or other data file for you doesn’t mean it’s a high-quality file.

Unfortunately, we often see low-quality (dirty) files that have been sold as compliant. The vendors either lack the experience to create clean files or try to cut corners along the way. These files often have overlaps, duplicates, or over-mapping issues that result in them being rejected by channel partners.

Either way, their customers are left with a sinking and frustrating feeling when the file sold as meeting industry standards is rejected by their partner.

Key Considerations for Choosing Your Parts Mapping Partner

Now that you have the basics of data mapping down, let’s cover a few key considerations to keep in mind when choosing your automotive parts mapping partner.

Ability to Create Files for NAPA PartsPro, Amazon, Ebay & More…

The internet has created a growing number of new channels to promote and sell products. While many of these channels continue to use ACES & PIES, a growing number have proprietary file structures. This is why it’s important to consider all of the places you may need to send your data before starting a mapping project.

One benefit of choosing Vertical Development for your next mapping project is our vast experience in the automotive industry. It’s our experience and knowledge that allow us the unique advantage of being able to create NAPA PartsPro files. And it’s that same experience that has earned us “Preferred Vendor” status from Amazon.

Navigating the various partner data requirements can be challenging, so make sure your data mapping partner can help you cross the finish line successfully no matter the challenge.

File Acceptance Guarantee

Speaking of crossing the finish line, be sure to ask how rejected files will be handled. Some vendors will charge additional fees to fix files that have been rejected by a partner, increasing the cost of the project.

At Vertical Development, each project comes with our guaranteed file acceptance. If for some rare reason your file is rejected, we’ll fix it at no additional cost.

Proactive Data Mapping Improvements

As your product line grows, reviewing your data to ensure it is accurate will become a bigger challenge. When selecting a data mapping partner, you’ll want to look for a company that proactively looks for missing or suboptimal data that might result in lost sales.

As an example, we offer a comprehensive “Holes Report” once the data is initially mapped to help provide more comprehensive clean data. By identifying and filling these holes, we help clients develop very accurate catalog files that function flawlessly.

In summary, look for a data mapping partner that is pushing towards best practices rather than one simply meeting minimum requirements.

What Happens When You Grow?

Growth should be a good thing in business. Actually, it’s a great thing.

However, growth can also mean outgrowing past solutions and data mapping is no exception. A great thing to ask potential mapping vendors is what happens if your organization grows to the point where it makes sense to hire an internal catalog manager? Will you be able to seamlessly move your cataloging in-house?

At Vertical Development, we don’t have a standalone mapping system. Instead, we load our customers’ data directly into our industry-leading catalog system. This allows us to create and manage each of the great files our customers need. It also allows us to offer a seamless and pain-free pass-off when our customers grow. Clients can simply purchase our catalog system and we’ll hand everything off so you are up and running on day one.

Planning ahead and ensuring your cataloging can grow with you will help eliminate future headaches.

What Support Does Your Mapping Partner Offer?

A final thing to ask your mapping vendor is what type of support they offer. If something goes wrong, you’ll want to address it quickly and easily.

With Vertical Development, you can have peace of mind knowing that our team is based in Chicago and available from 9-5 CST to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. Our team includes former catalog managers that understand your needs and can guide you to solutions that best fit your organization.

In Conclusion

Hopefully,  this article has provided you with the basics of data mapping as well as key considerations for vetting potential vendors.

If you’re ready to make the jump to professional data mapping and cataloging, our team is here to help you get started.

Simply schedule a call and we can help guide you through each step of the process, no matter your starting point!

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Differentiate Your Brand Using the ShowMeTheParts Mobile App

From banking to shopping to social interactions, the number of tasks we turn to our mobile devices to complete is growing at an exponential rate. The smartphone has become the go-to device in our lives and shows no sign of slowing down.

With this in mind, the question our customers are asking more and more often is “How can we use mobile to reach our customers?”

To answer this question and more, Paul Scripp, Director of Sales, sat down to discuss the value of using the ShowMeTheParts mobile app in this months’ feature.

It’s All About Speed & Accuracy in the Digital Age

When meeting with manufacturers, Scripp encourages them to consider the many different ways speed plays a role in creating successful outcomes.

Pinpoint Accurate Product Search Through VIN Scanning & License Plate Search

By far, the most used and beneficial feature of the ShowMeTheParts mobile app is the VIN scanner. When a car rolls into the bay, it’s as easy as opening the car door and scanning the barcode to get directly to all of the available products.

Not only is the lookup fast, but it is pinpoint accurate as well.

“While a year/make/model/engine search could return four, five, or six results depending on fitment variables, our VIN search decodes to that base level and then goes deeper.” Scripp notes. “We’ll look at whether a manufacturer is mapping to ACES specific conditions like transmission, aspiration, and drive type, so that users find parts only meant for that specific vehicle – It takes all of the guesswork out of it.”

By putting a custom mobile app in the hands of the end-user, manufacturers are increasing the speed and accuracy of the part identification process.

Taking things to the next level, the newly added license plate decoder further simplifies and expedites the lookup process.

Getting Up & Running Quickly

The other concern Scripp often hears from customers is a fear that the process might take too long or might eat up internal time and resources that are a luxury they don’t have.

They are shocked to learn that custom ShowMeTheParts mobile apps are up and ready to go within four to six weeks.

“We have an extremely tight process for creating our apps and we have a website our customers use that is very plug and play. It’s as easy as dropping in their images and away we go.”

As the speed of business increases, ShowMeTheParts is there to help you meet the challenge.

Standing Out From the Crowd Through Brand Differentiation

While the Internet has provided easier and more cost-effective ways for companies to connect with a wider audience, it’s also brought increased competition. Customers can quickly find several options within a category, making brand differentiation key to success.

“A customized ShowMeTheParts mobile app is clearly a differentiator between our customers and their competitors. Not only does it enhance the overall brand image, but it also expands the number of places customers can find them by placing their brands in the app store.”

Each ShowMeTheParts mobile app is customized with a branded splash screen, app icon, and incorporates brand colors throughout for seamless brand integration.

Combined with their other digital marketing efforts, manufacturers are able to build trust with their prospects and clearly differentiate their brand in the marketplace with their custom app.

Three Other Key Benefits

A Great Tool for Sales Teams

The ShowMeTheParts mobile app also becomes a great selling tool for sales teams. “When they go into a shop pitching their product and the competition has an out-of-date, grease-filled book and you have a free mobile app, that’s a big differentiator.”

Quick Access to Current Product Information & Support Literature

Unlike with paper catalogs, with the ShowMeTheParts mobile app, customers know they have the most up-to-date product information available. Furthermore, support documents or installation details such as the cabin air filter access point for an application give techs everything they need to complete the job.

“It puts us at the forefront of the industry and allows for our brands to add more value to their catalog offering.”

Helps Organizations Meet Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Goals

Ceasing or greatly reducing the number of printed catalogs isn’t just a cost-saving measure, it also helps organizations meet their ESG goals by reducing their environmental footprint.

“But Isn’t It Expensive?”

If you’ve considered a mobile app in the past, but held off because you thought it would be too expensive, you’re not alone.

“I think when people hear ‘mobile app,’ they think expensive” Scripp noted. “However, we’ve removed that barrier to entry and when combined with the cost-savings of eliminating catalogs, customers end up saving money while delivering a better product and user experience.”

Final Thoughts & Getting Started

To wrap things up, we’d like to share a testimonial from one of our current customers.

“NGK’s Fast Finder Part Identification App finds your parts faster than you can look them up online – And it fits in the palm of your hand,” stated Terry Steffes – NGK Marketing Manager, Interactive. “This tool is designed to benefit all users, from service professionals to weekend warriors. Just point, shoot, and find your NGK or NTK parts, it’s that easy!”

If you’re ready to join NGK and our other satisfied customers, reach out to Paul today to set up a call! You likely already have everything you need (a basic ACES file) to get started and we can have your custom app available in the app stores for download within a month or two!

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GB Remanufacturing Partners with ShowMeTheParts


GB Remanufacturing saw a need for a mobile version of their catalog. ShowMeTheParts created a new mobile version that allows for enhanced search capabilities, product descriptions and images, technical information, and more. The new eCatalog is easy to use for the consumer and for the business; updates can be made easily from the backend, saving time and money.

Best yet, there’s no need to download anything! The catalog, complete with over 1,330 SKUs covering 91,000 applications, can be accessed at https://catalog.gbreman.com.


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