Scott Thompson is the vice president and general manager of Epicor's eCommerce business unit. Approximately 70 percent of aftermarket parts transactions now run through one of Epicor's e-commerce pipelines, according to the company.
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Thompson spoke to Aftermarket Business World about technology trends and challenges in the market.
What are some emerging requirements that will affect how the aftermarket players approach e-commerce?
You have to have a Web presence that is consumer facing. We've seen that embraced as an opportunity, but some companies find that frightening. At what level does the industry respond to the eBays, Amazons, and Googles of the world? We help a lot of distributors list parts on eBay, and they view it as another channel. We've seen more activity around that particular market channel in the last year or two. Amazon is aggressively coming after that same segment, and Google Marketplace is targeting it, too.
What are Epicor’s biggest challenges in enabling e-commerce in this market? What technical challenges does the company face?
One of our biggest challenges always is that we are very focused on data solutions. The data sets continue to grow and we don't see any end to that in sight.
We see this accelerating amount of content and accelerating rate of publication, and we are continuing to embrace the challenge of how we are going to continue to serve the market.
We see a great opportunity in bringing together all of these different types of data, and finding the slice that will provide a particular solution to a particular customer. How do you manage this Big Data, and create practical business solutions to deliver the piece that somebody needs? We spend a lot of time working on how to bring all of this together to solve the needs of the market and help buyers and sellers.
The good news is that the infrastructure, the speed of the network, and the capability of the platforms continues to grow and gives us the opportunity to have that industry view, and deliver back the pieces those constituencies need to run a better business.
What are some emerging technology opportunities in the aftermarket?
From an Epicor perspective, e-commerce and content are areas that we are placing a lot of emphasis on. We see it as fastest growing piece of this market where we can be a better business partner for our customers, and so we're very focused on bringing these things together and delivering solutions that will help our customers run their businesses better and embrace these markets however they choose to embrace them.
E-tailing is a perfect example. Some companies are scared of it, and others see an opportunity there. We want to have the right tools so they can operationally embrace the opportunity, if that's the way they choose to go.
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