The story behind X-Cart’s pivot to the automotive-centric eCommerce platform

To learn more about X-Cart and its success, we sat down with Chief Operating Officer Jordan Checketts.  

Jordan Checketts, COO, X-Cart

X-Cart positions itself as an agile and scalable eCommerce platform, which has been around for more than two decades. In recent years, it has focused specifically on the automotive aftermarket industry. At the end of October, the team will showcase their latest tech at the top industry event – the SEMA SHOW 2023. To learn more about X-Cart and its success, we sat down with Chief Operating Officer Jordan Checketts.  

Jordan, can you provide some background on X-Cart and its journey in becoming an automotive-centric eCommerce platform?

X-Cart has an over 20-year history as a versatile eCommerce platform serving various industries. While recognizing the unique challenges of the automotive aftermarket parts market, we decided to move towards becoming an automotive-centric eCommerce platform. This transition allowed us to develop specialized tools and features tailored to the automotive sector. We have our own tech resources that give us an opportunity to launch new features fast and efficiently and provide a wider range of customization for clients. This helped us tremendously in transitioning to the automotive field, which requires paying close attention to specific features and market demands.

See X-Cart at SEMA Show, North Hall Booth 11627. See boOth location

What inspired the development of X-Cart specifically for the automotive aftermarket?

The inspiration came from acknowledging the intricacies of selling auto parts and accessories online. Fitment compatibility, catalog management and customer expectations presented unique challenges. We saw an opportunity to simplify these complexities, making it easier for businesses in the automotive aftermarket to succeed in the online marketplace. Envisioning the flexibility of our platform, having vast tech resources and unique X-Cart components and technologies, we were able to develop products specifically for the automotive aftermarket parts industry.  

X-Cart has always been a platform that supports large inventories and provides flexibility through a high level of customization. We realized that these unique features would be ideal for the  automotive niche, especially considering the fact that there was no such eCommerce solution for the industry at the moment.

How does X-Cart address the unique challenges of selling auto parts and accessories online, such as fitment compatibility and extensive catalog management?

We are trying to help automate the aftermarket parts business for companies to save time and increase productivity. X-Cart addresses the challenges through a combination of features and integrations. Fitment compatibility is made accessible through our Year/Make/Model functionality, VIN lookup and catalog providers’ integration. 

These features significantly enhance the customer journey by simplifying the search process. Customers can quickly and easily find products compatible with their vehicles, reducing frustration and increasing the likelihood of completing a purchase. It creates a seamless and efficient shopping experience, meeting the high expectations of automotive consumers. 

We also have CloudSearch, a search and filtering engine that provides real-time suggestions. It has auto spelling corrections, multi-language support and many other features – you can search by vendor, see stats and analytics, etc. This tool helps increase conversion rate for our customers. 

Extensive catalog management is simplified using our API-driven technology, allowing efficient data import/export and catalog customization.

Can you elaborate on the technology behind X-Cart, particularly the API-driven approach and how it benefits users?

Our API-driven approach empowers users with flexibility and scalability. It enables businesses to seamlessly integrate and customize their eCommerce processes, reducing development costs and simplifying the development process. Detailed documentation and access to code give users the tools they need to adapt the platform to their unique needs. 

We have two different types of API available. Our Business API allows integration with any 3rd party system on the market. And our Storefront API lets customers build a modern storefront application separated from the backend. There’s a basic app (PWA) already. Developers can use it as a base for their custom storefronts. With this headless approach, they can create or update apps by using preferred tech solutions and it does not affect their website’s backend. 

With the automotive industry continually evolving, how does X-Cart stay ahead of the curve in terms of technological advancements and emerging trends?

We proactively stay ahead by closely monitoring industry trends, actively engaging with industry partners, participating in relevant trade shows, and investing in research and development. This ensures that X-Cart remains at the forefront of automotive eCommerce technology, continually adapting to emerging trends.

We also have many tech resources and solutions in-house, so we don’t need to outsource our product development. And our customer support team is top-notch – we put a lot of emphasis on our customers’ needs and demands and do a lot of research in that regard. We receive a lot of customer feedback, so we gather this input to better understand their needs and provide tech solutions more efficiently.  

What kind of support and resources do you provide to users to ensure they make the most of the platform’s capabilities?

X-Cart offers personalized support, comprehensive documentation, and a rich pool of resources. From onboarding assistance to ongoing technical support, we are dedicated to helping our users maximize the platform’s potential and succeed in the automotive eCommerce space. Our multi-step onboarding process emphasizes our customer-centric approach.

Can you discuss the significance of X-Cart’s role in helping businesses transition from offline to online sales?

X-Cart plays a pivotal role in facilitating the seamless transition from offline to online sales. Our platform provides the tools and integrations needed to blend eCommerce processes with existing offline operations, allowing businesses to tap into new revenue streams and reach a broader online audience. We have many pre-built tools and virtually unlimited customization opportunities!

How does X-Cart prioritize the mobile shopping experience, and what role does it play in today’s eCommerce landscape?

We understand the importance of mobile commerce today. X-Cart prioritizes the mobile shopping experience by offering highly customizable, mobile-first automotive themes that adapt to various screen sizes. This ensures that businesses can cater to the growing number of consumers who prefer shopping on mobile devices.

Can you highlight any partnerships or collaborations that X-Cart has engaged in to further enhance its offerings to the automotive industry?

X-Cart has established many partnerships with major aftermarket data providers like SEMA Data and ASAP. These mutually beneficial collaborations enable us to provide our users with access to extensive auto parts catalogs and ensure compliance with industry standards like ACES and PIES. In addition, we have partnered up with a number of warehouse distributors, most recently with Torqued, and are poised to announce more of these partnerships this Fall, including Turn14. Your readers could be the first customers to benefit from it!  

We also have a partnership with AutoSync, which allows us to offer a visual vehicle studio feature for automotive stores. With AutoSync’s visualizer website visitors can see how their new items — wheels, tires, suspension, window film and accessories — will look from various angles.     

Lastly, how do you envision the future of automotive eCommerce, and how does X-Cart plan to continue leading in this space?

The future of automotive eCommerce is dynamic and tech-driven. Among the most recent trends I would highlight the increased collaboration between platforms through integrations. This is what we are doing with multiple key players in our industry. I also think that the automotive design subsector is going to be the trendsetter for the upcoming years.    

I firmly believe that X-Cart will remain a leader in our industry by consistently innovating, staying adaptable to emerging trends, and providing industry-specific solutions. We aim to empower automotive businesses to thrive in the ever-evolving digital marketplace, driving their success and growth.

Join your colleagues in the global automotive aftermarket. Get the Aftermarket Intel Briefing, edited by Mark Phillips, AAP.

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