Technology Newsmaker Q&A: Doug Wiggin

Jan. 1, 2020
Doug Wiggin is the new e-commerce solutions director with the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.

Doug Wiggin is the new e-commerce solutions director with the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance. In this newly created position, he will provide guidance and structure for creating and maintaining the Alliance's e-commerce roadmap.

Wiggin has more than 30 years experience working in the aftermarket, including positions at CCI, CCI/Triad, Activant, Internet AutoParts (IAP), and as an independent consultant.

What will be your top priorities this year in your new position?

A key goal for this year is to formulate the Alliance e-commerce strategy. Components of that strategy are already in play. We must provide comprehensive product information throughout the Alliance channel. For example, some of the accessories and supply product could not be found in the electronic catalog. What our eCatalog partners don’t support, we now produce and distribute ourselves. The benefit to our membership and customers is superior content and usability where there was none before. This is vitally important in self-service electronic storefronts where sales growth continues to rise. We’ll deploy additional electronic catalogs to meet customer demand and insure that all product in our channel is visible.  

We’ll develop roadmaps for our technology partners to coordinate their platform integrations with our e-commerce strategy.  Our B2B site, MyPlaceForParts, as well as other selling networks like IAP and NexPart deploy critical Alliance information and applications. The store and distribution network systems also receive upgrades as we advance the strategy.  

What do you see as the most significant challenges your company and the Alliance members face relative to e-commerce?

We must establish “One Face” business proficiency, enabling the Alliance to operate as a single virtual company while preserving member-specific, best-fit solutions.  The diversity of business system types in the membership creates challenges. We have more than 200 different connectivity requirements throughout our supply chain. Web services and SOA allow us to address critical connectivity problems providing standards-based, loosely coupled interfaces for accessing application functionality and data. Web services change the way our software is developed, distributed and used. It allows us to create new products and services faster than existing methods, reach new customers, new engagements and business models.

In addition to functioning as the branded Auto Value / Bumper to Bumper e-commerce site for some of our members, is the Alliance framework for integrating information, people and processes across the organizational boundaries of our members.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to new technology adoption in the aftermarket?

The uncertain economic climate tends to dampen risk-taking associated with change. Yet businesses must adapt to an increasingly competitive environment or become irrelevant. This dynamic is most evident in a large installed base of proprietary, legacy distribution systems facing an upgrade path. There is a lot that can be done with the Internet, but those options are constrained without open architectures and partnership in distribution, logistics and marketing.  

What new technologies or technology developments do you think have shown the most potential for adding value to the aftermarket? Are there new technologies or capabilities that you are the most excited about exploring in the future?

We have a keen interest in search technology where applied to e-commerce product discovery. The traditional hard parts taxonomies don’t work well across many other types of product. Nothing is friendlier than a well-implemented search to cut through a repetitious drill down of product organization. The MyPlaceForParts site offers a hybrid search and filtering method that is very popular with the people we serve (our  customers).  

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