AAPEX Annual Conference 2017

John Kinsella, VP & Senior Consultant at FitForCommerce, presented the keynote address at the AAPEX Annual Conference in Las Vegas on November 1st, 2017. The Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo is one of the nation’s largest conferences, serving over 158,000 automotive aftermarket professionals from nearly 140 countries. John’s presentation, The Future of the Buyer – Navigating Omnichannel Successfully”, received an enthusiastic response from the auto professionals as they position their industry for future omnichannel growth.

The Auto and Parts industry is one of the leading categories in online sales, ranking 3rd overall at $48 billion this year and tracking at 11% of overall online sales. The industry seeks to leverage this trend by better integrating and aligning the digital and store channels for their customers. The most profound opportunities for growth and creating customer loyalty are with personalizing the shopping experience across all channel based on customer’s preferences (such at type of automobile) and their abilities with DIY car maintenance. The best auto aftermarket retailers are gathering customer data across many customer touch-points, then using these insights to create a more relevant and engaging experience. For example, preferences gathered in stores can be leveraged to personalize the web site experience and emails for higher conversion.

The industry leaders also recognized the profound opportunity to drive increased store traffic and sales from web influenced sales. Last year, over 56% of retail store sales in the country could be attributed to the influence of the web or digital devices from research, comparisons or digital marketing.  Many auto aftermarket companies are taking the lead with online store inventory lookup, buy online-pick up in stores and customer loyalty programs that serve online and store channels. And, they recognized that efforts to create a differentiated online experience will drive even more incremental store sales.

The presentation blended omnichannel strategy trends with best practice tactics from the auto aftermarket industry to be relevant to the audience. This gave attendees real examples from competition within the industry. However, Kinsella pointed out that the competition was not just the retailers in the room, but any retailer who offered a better experience…because customers have limited time and resources. The auto aftermarket shopping experiences need to be enhanced with efficient “frictionless commerce” and differentiated engagement, particularly with the high number of very specialized auto parts that the challenges of DIY maintenance. The industry is poised to take on the challenge by accelerating innovation, better aligning channels and personalizing the experience for their customers.

 To learn more about navigating omnichannel, contact us!