Having been involved with Automotive eCommerce websites since the mid ninety's, we have seen the growth of technology for the automotive aftermarket sector first hand. It is amazing to see the growth in involvement of the internet surrounding a field where most people are restoring vintage rides and avoiding technology for the sake of simplicity and nostalgia. On the other end of the spectrum, newer vehicles have become so advanced that aftermarket manufacturers are faced with the challenge of developing upgrades and enhancements that don't require professional certification to install at home.
Being the leading provider of automotive eCommerce sites on our platform, Web Shop Manager, the team at Web Design Solutions has been faced with the similar challenges of designing aftermarket websites in a medium that is flat and two dimensional but striving for end results that come alive with texture and depth. Our number one goal is to develop a simple and clean user interface that facilitates and organizes the enormous amounts of automotive data that is available to our store owners.
What we are the most excited about right now is the advancements in what is often called Guided Navigation or Layered Search, one of the best examples of which is Newegg. This service provides you a myriad of attributes to "drill down" that are specific to each category. What this does is allow you to organize your products into more general categories, but then provide numerous ways for the user to essentially build their own category tree on the fly. In the automotive aftermarket industry, take intake manifolds for instance; one user may want to see all manifolds with a polished finish while another wants to see all manifolds that accept a square bore carburetor.
You might say this is not really much more that an advanced Year Make Model lookup similar to what you see on many performance aftermarket websites now, but there is a lot more that goes into it. Specifically, linking up attributes to the appropriate categories on the fly and only asking for vehicle information when it's critical to select the proper SKU to make the purchase. Many consumer may not want to enter their vehicle information until they have found the product they want to purchase, while others may want to put their vehicle in first so they they don't waste time looking at items that may not fit their car or truck.
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