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THE ILLUMINATOR VOLUME VII Mobile Friendly MyCarParts All MyCarParts online catalogs recently ALSO IN THIS EDITION received a free enhancement to enrich the viewing experience on mobile devices. The updated interface includes more mobile INVALID APPLICATIONS friendly applicaEon search lisEngs, as well as TO KEEP OR NOT TO KEEP? a reorganized product informaEon page to PAGE 2 beGer present your products on the smaller mobile screens. By making MyCarParts more mobile PRIORITIZE HOLES friendly, Illumaware conEnues to support WITH VIO INTEGRATION the delivery of your catalog directly to the PAGE 3 customer and installer. PuKng your informaEon directly in their hands, whether in the garage or along the side of the road, DUPLICATE ENGINES? generates grass root support for your brand PAGE 3 and can lead to a purchase decision being This enhancement may provide a great made well before the customer arrives at a opportunity to raise awareness about your store. ALer the purchase, leveraging the THE ATTRIBUTES ARE COMING online catalog with a new press release or new mobile MyCarParts interface to deliver THE ATTRIBUTES ARE COMING through social media. If you have any addiEonal assets such as installaEon PAGE 4 quesEons about how to include addiEonal diagrams and warranty informaEon will product informaEon or digital assets to further enhance your brand loyalty in the complete your online presentaEon, please marketplace. let us know and we will be happy to help. 2012 Fall Leadership Days In San FranciscoThe AutomoEve ALermarket Industry AssociaEon’s Fall Leadership Days conference will open September 5th in San Francisco, CA. The conference provides an opportunity for the associaEon’s staﬀ and volunteer leadership to assemble and discuss industry challenges and opportuniEes. It is at these meeEngs where changes are proposed and approved to industry standards such as ACES and PIES.Brian Williams will again be in aGendance represenEng Illumaware, helping to ensure our ability to meet the data requirements of a dynamic industry. If you, or a member of your organizaEon will be aGending and would like to simply meet or discuss new opportuniEes we may assist with, please contact Brian in advance of the conference at Brian.Williams@illumaware.com. AUG 30, 2012 www.illumaware.com 1
THE ILLUMINATOR VOLUME VI Invalid Applications – To Keep or Not To Keep?A common area of discussion regarding the ACES standard is the concept of an invalid vehicle conﬁguraEon, and just how much value they have. Deﬁning and transmiKng invalid applicaEons is a fully supported and well documented funcEon of the ACES XML standard, but it is important to understand that a valid “ACES” pracEce may not be the most successful business pracEce for you.We’ve all been there. Looking at a new “Invalid ApplicaEon” wondering what changed to make it invalid when our own research says it does exist. It is very tempEng to simply click “Keep Record Without ValidaEon” and move on; but that decision shouldn’t be made without understanding exactly how those records are going to be treated by all parEes from that point forward.From a record validaEon standpoint within Evokat, this record will no longer be reviewed for validity, which means that you will not be noEﬁed if anything else changes in the conﬁguraEon. In many cases, this is desirable, but it can also lead to unknown conﬁguraEon holes by not keeping up to date with minor changes made to the AAIA standard. A visual review of your applicaEon deﬁniEons may not be enough to highlight where diﬀerences occur and that can lead to lost sales, especially when records may be dropped when converEng to other standards such as Legacy.Including these records in an ACES XML ﬁle is a valid pracEce and rather straight forward. A simple “validate=no” value is included with these records, telling data receivers that the vehicle being communicated cannot be validated against the VCDB. From that point, it is up to the data receiver to deﬁne if and how they are going to handle these situaEons. The three most common approaches in our industry today are: to ignore the validate value, to skip non-‐valid records, and to accept them. 1) The “validate” value can be disregarded and the records processed normally. This approach can delay ﬁle processing as validaEon reports balloon in size and highlight the records that were already deﬁned to be invalid.2) Receivers can ignore these records enErely, leading to coverage diﬀerences between your catalog and theirs. Even if the records are not ignored during the iniEal processing, a search tool that is structured around the VCDB will eﬀecEvely ignore any records that refer to an invalid conﬁguraEon meaning that potenEal customers may not be presented with your product as an opEon.3) If the invalid records are ingested correctly, and if the catalog interface is designed to allow deviaEons from the VCDB, then the applicaEons can be presented to the customer. Some catalogs, such as MyCarParts, are designed to handle applicaEons in this manner, but it is not safe to assume that all search tools are designed the same way.Keeping an invalid conﬁguraEon does have its place, and has value in allowing catalog managers to author applicaEons in advance of a vehicle’s inclusion in the VCDB, but it can lead to a false sense of security as well. Overuse of the “Keep Record Without ValidaEon” funcEon to keep your “Analyze My Catalog” scorecards in the black should be avoided. Each invalid conﬁguraEon should be reviewed and researched to see if the vehicle was simply reclassiﬁed in the VCDB, or if the original deﬁniEon was actually incorrect. Taking the proper acEon to resolve these records will help drive sales, increase eﬃciency, and improve relaEonships with trading partners. AUG 30, 2012 www.illumaware.com 2
THE ILLUMINATOR VOLUME VI Prioritize Holes With VIO IntegrationTo maximize your sales opportuniEes as well as get your OperaEon (VIO) informaEon comes into play. If you subscribe catalog recognized as an industry leader, it’s criEcal to spend to a VIO data service, such as Polk or Experion, that Eme analyzing and acEng upon your coverage holes. The informaEon can be linked to your coverage holes, at the coverage holes displayed on the Analyze My Catalog Make and Model levels, to highlight the vehicles that should scorecard are an eﬀecEve tool to ensure the broadest market be given top priority. Simply provide us with a copy of the coverage possible and to keep up with changes in the vehicle VIO informaEon you purchased and we will load it into your standards. secured database for use in reports.Evokat presents a structured analysis of your applicaEon Not all coverage holes are created equal, so narrowing your coverage against the VCDB and NAPA Vehicle tables on the focus with VIO integraEon will help to maximize your sales ‘Analyze My Catalog’ page. Holes are broken down into 4 opportuniEes in the shortest Eme possible.acEonable levels for eﬃciency: Makes, Models, Model Years, and ConﬁguraEons without coverage. The diﬀerent Eers are Polk is the premier provider of automoEve market separated to make it easier to idenEfy acEonable holes and intelligence. If you are interested in learning more about to focus on vehicles you are most interested in serving. ways to leverage VIO informaEon, ask us for a demonstraEon or contact ALermarket PracEce Even with this Eered approach, the holes informaEon can be Leader Mark Seng at overwhelming and it can be a challenge to determine the Mark_Seng@polk.com.best starEng point. That is where integraEon with Vehicles In Duplicate Engines?As AAIA has conEnued to expand the coverage of the VCDB recognized as idenEcal. SomeEmes the values are oﬀ by as across the enEre North American ALermarket, through the liGle as 1 millimeter due to reporEng diﬀerences by mulEple inclusion of the Canada and Mexico regions, new data sources.challenges have presented themselves to Catalog Managers in the form of “duplicate” engines. If you are know your part ﬁts a 5.4L engine and are presented with mulEple values, then you should select both engines You may have noEced occasions where the Evokat mapping even though they appear to be duplicates. That is the best screen displays two idenEcal engine values for selecEon, and way to ensure that the coverage you want is deﬁned.wondered which to select. In fact, they only appear to be duplicates but they are not. A complete engine base deﬁnes a We will conEnue to monitor all changes made to the VCDB bore and stroke size, among other values, as well as the more and to pursue ways to clarify these situaEons when possible. visible values such as liter and cylinder. SomeEmes these If you have quesEons, concerns, or thoughts on this point, aGributes are leL undeﬁned which prevents them from being please contact us at any Eme. AUG 30, 2012 www.illumaware.com 3
THE ILLUMINATOR VOLUME VI The Attributes Are Coming! The Attributes Are Coming!Members acEve in the AAIA community are already aware of suppliers will not have to author custom aGributes to ﬁt the a pending extension of the PCDB, called the Product AGribute preferences of speciﬁc trading partners. Database or the PADB. The design of this addiEon has been under review for months and will likely be raEﬁed during the An addiEonal result of the PADB projects is the creaEon of Fall Leadership Days conference in early September. Use of new “PIES Only” and “ACES Only” AAIA Part Types. The SMEs the new PADB is opEonal. However, an understanding of its idenEﬁed several categories where the level of speciﬁcity purpose if your trading partners have plans to require it is needed to describe the product was far less than what is important for future planning. needed to deﬁne its mulEple uses on a vehicle. For example, a bearing may have dozens of speciﬁc placements on a The PADB is the result of a long overdue and very challenging vehicle, but from a product classiﬁcaEon standpoint, simply eﬀort to standardize product aGribute informaEon across the calling it a “bearing” is suﬃcient. These new PIES and ACES industry. Several teams of Subject MaGer Experts (SMEs) Only part types will be introduced to the standard gradually, have reviewed aGributes used by manufacturers and and should be incorporated into your future catalog suppliers to determine a set of common aGribute deﬁniEons authoring plans. Evokat has already been updated to handle by part type. The goal is to both ensure consistent this new level of Part Type assignment, as a primary “Part communicaEon of criEcal product informaEon, as well as to Type” value can be assigned on the Product Detail > Basic simplify the data authoring process. If leveraged properly, page in addiEon to the mulEple part types that can be potenEal customers will not leave confused as to whether assigned via product descripEons. Once the new “PIES Only” “color” and “ﬁnish” actually refer to the same thing, and part types are released, they will be available for assignment on these pages. The true eﬀecEveness of this iniEaEve will not be known for several months, unEl both retailers and suppliers have an opportunity to incorporate and author these values. If either side does not embrace the expansion then the eﬀort will have liGle value, but if it is fully accepted by all parEes, retailers will be able to build eﬀecEve comparison driven shopping carts and suppliers may ﬁnd new ways to communicate their products selling points. Within Evokat, our strategy is to conEnue to provide catalog managers with the freedom to deﬁne product aGributes to ﬁt your custom branding goals, while establishing a link between your aGribute names and the new oﬃcial industry terminology.Contact Information 800.880.4964Bruce Speicher Adrian Klingel Ralph BowenManaging Partner Founder and CTO Evokat Subscription SalesBrenda Heinitz Brian Williams Richelle PowellDirector of Cataloging Director of Operations Director of Finance AUG 30, 2012 www.illumaware.com 4