Retailers to Replace Manufacturers That Do Not Provide Standardized Data

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The Automotive Aftermarket industry is nearly 100 years old and has been profitable every step of the way. Since this has been the status quo for so long, parts manufacturers are comfortable that they are doing everything they can to remain profitable. But that’s not truly the case.

Manufacturers must not only stock shelves with their products, but also stock their product receivers with data about their products. In both the online and brick-and-mortar marketplaces, product data is what sells your product. Even if your product is right there on the shelf, if the customer cannot easily understand that your product fits his need, he will not buy it.

The bottom line is clear: product data is what makes products sell.

Gathering and sending every available piece of product information in the standard industry formats – PIES for non-application specific products, and both PIES and ACES for application specific products – is what makes products visible to consumers. Just as Wal-Mart began requiring barcodes from all of their trading partners in order to maintain working relationships, and barcode requirements became UPC requirements, in the Automotive Aftermarket, product information that complies with the PIES and ACES standards is now mandatory.

Let's look at an example: Gurney's (not their real name) is a brake pad manufacturer. They believe they are giving their receivers – big retailers like AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts – all the product information needed to sell their products online and in their physical stores. This information, however, only gives a mere 8% of the required data fields that one of these large receivers has asked for. The retailer says they have 1,355 Gurney's products in their system that they cannot even find – let alone sell – with the product data they currently have. Just a category and part number alone is not enough information to look up a product; if the product can't be found, it will sit on a shelf and collect dust.

So what will happen to Gurney's and their products? The large retailer will fine Gurney's for non-compliance. If they do not receive relevant product information, Gurney's will be dropped from the large retailer's vendor list completely. Ultimately, Gurney's will be replaced with a new vendor, a manufacturer who will provide required product information in the standardized format.

So just keep in mind: you don’t have to be a Gurney’s, but by delivering your product data using the PIES and ACES standards, you can be their replacement.