AutoAnything Co-Founder Shares 8 Strategies for Online Dominance

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Speaking at the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst 2012 Conference, panelist and Co-President at AutoAnything, Trevor Klein, shares his organization’s approach to navigating and prospering in the dynamic online marketplace.

E-Commerce and online marketing is a dynamic world that requires continuous innovation and sometimes risk. You’re not going to get it right every time, especially on the first try...Success in the online world is an evolution, not a revolution.

Top-ranked online automotive accessories retailer, AutoAnything, accepted an invitation for their Co-President and cofounder, Trevor Klein, to speak on a panel at the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst 2012 Conference in Las Vegas. Answering questions about his company’s strategies, successes and failures, Mr. Klein touched on eight important tools for successfully navigating the increasingly fragmented eCommerce landscape.

“E-Commerce and online marketing is a dynamic world that requires continuous innovation and sometimes risk," says Trevor. "You’re not going to get it right every time, especially on the first try. Every time you fall down or have a setback, it needs to viewed as an opportunity to get back up knowing that you have learned something along the way and that several iterations later you’ll hopefully get it right. Success in the online world is an evolution, not a revolution.”

Comparison Shopping Engines:
After years of working with CSEs, AutoAnything realized the inherent opportunities, but found that manually managing tens of thousands of product listings is impractical, labor intensive and time consuming. After partnering with ChannelAdvisor, their product data is now updated, configured and fed each day to an automated system that handles everything associated with listing products. This allows the company to focus on the customer experience.

Mobile:
Referencing Google Executive Chairman, Eric Shmidt’s recent comment that mobile search is growing faster than Google ever expected, Mr. Klein explained the importance of optimizing for this growing demand. With over 20% of AutoAnything’s current search traffic originating from mobile devices, one of the ways AutoAnything plans to facilitate conversion is with a new site rebuild based on the speed and app-like functionality HTML5.

Social Media:
An early social media adopter, AutoAnything has enjoyed significant benefits through brand exposure and recommendations. Rich media sites like YouTube allow customers to search a variety of topics and respond to that content directly, via the comments system. AutoAnything’s YouTube videos have received over 1.7 million views and over 1,000 comments. These free impressions not only drive traffic and revenue, but expose the brand to hundreds of thousands of new people.

Recognizing social outlets like Facebook, Twitter and online forums as places where people gather and share information freely, AutoAnything is facilitating powerful brand recommendations. As satisfied customers talk with friends, forge relationships and share advice, they’re happy to recommend AutoAnything as a trusted retailer with strong value propositions and a dynamic shopping experience.

Fraud Protection:
AutoAnything employs an ever-evolving, multi-step process to prevent fraud. Initially, an internal scan screens purchase amounts and verifies that billing and shipping addresses match. Based on success of that screen, orders may proceed to a third-party system where they’re assigned a confidence-code based on up to 15 criteria. Suspect orders are then subjected to an additional matrix of scoring factors like the item ordered, payment method, IP location, shopping history, etc. The end result for AutoAnything is an extremely low fraud rate when compared to the industry average.

SEO Strategy:
Recognizing that a powerful SEO strategy is key to online success, AutoAnything combines common tactics and industry best practices with the delivery of valuable content that customers can actually use. The organization continues to rank highly with Google and other top search engines—attributing this success to the fact that if the user finds the content valuable, so will the search engines.

eCommerce Channel Variety:
Over the last 15 years, AutoAnything has expanded their eCommerce footprint by harnessing the power of a variety marketing channels. PPC, SEO, Affiliate Marketing, a robust Email campaign, CSEs and retargeting efforts each bring their own measure of success. Combined, these channels have contributed significantly to the organization’s current success.

Learn from your Mistakes:
When AutoAnything partnered with the net’s largest auto enthusiast community to build an online store, it looked on paper to be a match made in eCommerce heaven. However, after much negotiation, effort and fanfare, the partnership ended up a miserable failure. Recognizing the mistake early on, management pulled the plug and cut their losses. The lesson learned was that no matter how large the audience, demand cannot be invented. Moving forward, the company seeks to identify existing demands and cater to those arenas, i.e. eBay Motors and other popular online marketplaces.

“Despite AutoAnything’s success, we’ve experienced many setbacks along the way. Don’t be afraid to take a big leap," Mr. Klein concludes. "You can’t cross a river in two small jumps.”

AutoAnything was founded in 1979 as Blue Ribbon Motoring, a manufacturer of sheepskin seat covers and custom carpet floor mats. In 1997, the company took a new direction and went online as a retailer of automotive accessories. Today, AutoAnything.com is #159 in the Internet Retail Top 200 Guide of eCommerce companies.

For a complimentary catalog or to order any of AutoAnything’s fine products, call (800) 874-8888. International: (858) 569-8111. Fax: (858) 569-8503. Internet: http://www.autoanything.com, Email: media(at)autoanything(dot)com.

Note to Editors: Trevor Klein is available for interviews. Product demos can be arranged.
Contact: Michael Kirby, Senior Copywriter, 1-800-874-8111, ext. 7721 or mkirby(at)autoanything(dot)com

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