Amazon and Walmart stand out with online auto parts content that engages buyers, but even they face significant challenges in managing digital content, according to a new report that reviewed auto parts ecommerce sites.

A new automotive aftermarket industry report cites Amazon and Walmart for providing the best online product “page experiences.” But it also asserts that the overall “content quality bar is low” on automotive aftermarket ecommerce sites, leaving open the opportunity for online competitors to boost conversion rates and sales through better product content.

The third annual Automotive Aftermarket Digital Health Report reviews nearly 13,000 product pages across eight auto parts categories on the ecommerce sites of seven merchants: RockAuto.com, Advance Auto Parts, Amazon, Auto Zone, NAPA, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Walmart. The report was produced recently by Content Status, a digital content management technology provider, and Pivotree, a digital agency and systems integrator.

For displaying products online effectively, the report notes the significance of developing:
● An effective product data taxonomy for helping online buyers discover products across multiple categories.

● Comprehensive and accurate product descriptions with images to help buyers decide on purchases and become loyal customers, leading to increased conversion rates and sales.

But the report found that only about half of the reviewed merchants’ ecommerce sites followed effective product data management procedures.

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For example, it found:

● 49.4% “adhere highly to category taxonomy and intermediary category page guidelines.”

● 50% “adhere highly to product image and gallery user interface (UI) guidelines.

● 40% “adhere highly to product information and specification guidelines.”

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● 66% of displayed products have only four or fewer images.

● 82% of displayed products don’t include 360-degree spin images.

● 82% of products have no videos.

The report also notes the challenges merchants face in receiving and managing often incomplete product data, often in various formats, from multiple suppliers. “Incomplete or inaccurate product information hampers your customer’s ability to make informed decisions, resulting in decreased conversion rates and diminished customer trust.”

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Automotive aftermarket lags in digital content

It adds that, despite digital technology improvements for automating and streamlining data management, “the automotive aftermarket industry remains heavily reliant on manual entry, review and normalization of data,” resulting in a lack of efficiency and accuracy in managing effective online product content.

The report breaks out performance scores for the seven retailers by overall content management, data taxonomy, and content by eight auto product categories, including brakes, car batteries, fuel pumps and oil filters.

Although the report singles out Amazon and Walmart as overall leaders, its retailer scores vary widely across the multiple scoring areas. For overall content, it cites Amazon as tops for “providing more content than other retailers.”

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For taxonomy, the report scores AutoZone highest, followed by NAPA, while giving Amazon a “poor” score.

Among the eight product categories, the report calls out several retailers for effective content strategies, such as Advance Auto Parts with detailed product descriptions in brake rotors and O’Reilly in spark plugs for detailed product descriptions and 360-degree images.

The report found that car batteries had the most effective content overall among all retailers, and it cited Rock Auto for providing specification documents for all of its featured battery products.

It found oil filters to have the most lacking content overall but cited Walmart and Amazon “as the clear leaders in this category by consistently providing more content.”

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But while the report gave Walmart and Amazon the highest scores for oil filter product descriptions, it gave Walmart a “poor” imaging score for lacking documentation and rich images.

Paul Demery is a Digital Commerce 360 contributing editor covering B2B digital commerce technology and strategy. [email protected].

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