For auto parts eCommerce sites, is mobile responsive or app development better?

Why an App for Complex Auto Part Data Isn't Going to Help

Many online retailers have thought about getting an app to enhance sales efforts and to offer customers something a little fresh. After all, this year the trend is to give consumers a memorable online experience.

Gone are the days that you can sit back and let the customers take the reigns when online shopping. Now, you’ve got to find clever ways to stay in front of them in social media, email, while browsing your version of the best e-commerce website store, through digital coupons, at checkout, and all without being too invasive and annoying.

It’s truly an art that some of the highest grossing companies are still trying to figure out.

As you’re brainstorming about ways to enhance the experience of your target customer, you might think that an app is the way to go. People seem to be jumping on board when it comes to apps, and it gives you a new edge. Right?

Well, the truth is, there is a lot to consider before signing on with the idea. Here we look at what it takes to develop an app that intertwines your complex auto part data and a seamless customer experience, and why it's really not going to help.

4 Factors to Consider Before App Development

Before you move forward with the app designs, there are a few things you need to factor into your decision.

#1: Expense

To have an app designed and developed to fit Apple and Androids, get ready to shell out some serious dough. Because of the complex auto part data that will need to be incorporated, this will be a time-consuming task, and many technicalities need to be considered.

Here’s an infographic from Blue Label Labs that gives a rundown of the cost:

mobile eCommerce apps

If you want a universal experience for your customers (and you do), you’ll need to build the app for different sized screens, as well as to work with big e-commerce stores like Amazon, and this won't come cheap. Plus, if you don't already have an extensive list of customers ready to sign up, get ready to drop some extra cash in your marketing budget.

#2: Maintenance

Once you've invested the initial amount to get the app going, you now have to keep up with the maintenance. And the price tag just went up because devices people use to find your store are continually updating and evolving, and your app is going to have to keep pace with this.

#3: Customer installs

So, you've steamed ahead with the initial phases and cost of development, and now you're tasked with getting customers to actually install the app. And this is going to be trickier than you thought. Installing an app is simple, but it can also require a lot of steps like authorization and registration that some people just don’t have the patience for.

Because apps have taken off, there is an enormous pool of them for customers to choose from. And people can only install so many on their phones before they take up too much space. Trust that there are a lot of companies competing for those spots, and they aren't all in your industry. So here you'll be competing with online retailers with more money to invest and a larger reach.

Here’s a look from Statista at the amount of apps people can choose from:

WebShop Manager Mobile eCommerce

#4: Customer uninstalls

Now that the app is installed by some of your customers, you've got to keep them engaged and show value because most people will uninstall it within a month if they don't use it enough. Or they'll uninstall it to make room for the next app in line that they think they'll have a better experience with.

Apps are easy to install and uninstall, and consumers are continually testing and swiping them in and out of their lives.

What you do need to execute for complex auto part data as an e-commerce store

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse into how much time and money it takes to develop and market an app, let’s look at a list of actions you can take to sell your complex auto part data successfully (at a much smaller price tag).

Responsive web design

A responsive design for e-commerce ensures that customers can easily navigate through your store on any device. Your web design will automatically adjust to fit the screen, and it won’t be as difficult to maintain as an app.

People search the web on their mobile phones all the time without using apps, and you want to be ready for them – especially when they're searching for auto part fitment information because this is more involved than buying a single component product like a book or blanket.


A little SEO can go a long way, and when you target the right keywords, add text to your images, and provide high-quality descriptions and reliable specs, search engines and consumers will notice.

Fitment information abilities

When dealing with complex auto part data, the way you handle your fitment information will be crucial to retaining customers and reducing your amount of returns. Make it simple for people to apply their vehicle information, so they are confident that they are making the right purchase.

A straightforward and safe checkout

Once your customers find the auto part they need, then take them through a direct and safe checkout. Don't send them to a third party screen to check out because this makes people weary. Show your brand throughout the process, and always have a security icon visible.

And don't make them go through a tedious process of registering for your site or filling out questionnaires while checking out. If you want, you can ask them to complete a survey once the sale is finalized or send them an email with a chance for savings if they fill it out, but don't force it.

Here’s an example of how POPSUGAR gets people involved in taking surveys without being pushy:

eCommerce Survey for Mobile Apps

An easy way to reach you

The easier you are to reach whether it’s through a phone number that is simple to spot on your website, through live chat, or by filling out a quick form, the better. Customers are more trusting of online stores that allow them to get in touch with a real person if an issue or questions arise.

An overall experience

If you’re considering getting an app for your auto e-commerce store, first make sure that you’re giving customers an overall experience that keeps them coming back. Once this is achieved and you have fine-tuned the maintenance process, you can revisit the idea of getting a mobile app developed.

In the future, if you find you can afford it and have confidence you’ll make an ROI, then maybe it's time. However, when dealing with complex auto part data, you'll probably discover that the money and efforts are better spent in different areas of marketing.

BEDSLIDE - Client Testimonial

"The best thing out of everything was that our sales went up. The new site had a better design, the checkout process was better, and ultimately achieved all of our goals. That site has been up for a year and a half and we’re very happy with it, it’s still awesome." - Jake Plappert