October 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Advance Auto Parts zooms onto the web with a new store

After a former e-commerce site came to screeching halt, Advance Auto Parts has refueled its online presence with a new site that gives shoppers the option to pick up online orders in stores.

Eight months ago it looked like Advance Auto Parts Inc. had lost the online race when its joint venture e-commerce site with CSK Auto and O’Reilly Automotive Inc. came to a screeching halt.

But Advance Auto Parts refueled and is back on track with a new e-commerce site all its own and an online inventory of more than 100,000 SKUs, the retailer says.

The site was launched last month and runs on an IBM WebSphere e-commerce platform and web storefront from application development company CrossView Inc. The new web store includes features such as a drop-down menu on the home page that immediately takes shoppers to multiple departments organized by categories such as replacement parts, auto parts, brakes, batteries, performance, accessories, and tools and garage.

“Giving shoppers the ability to navigate the site quickly and easily was a top priority,” says Advance Auto Parts senior vice president and general manager of e-commerce Scott Bauhofer.

Reviews and more

The new e-commerce site features customer reviews using technology from PowerReviews and transaction processing services from PayPal. To boost multichannel sales, Advance Auto Parts’ web store also has a buy online/pickup in-store feature. In addition, customers who make a web purchase can return the merchandise to a nearby store.

To promote its new e-commerce site, Advance Auto Parts is offering free shipping on orders of $75 and up. “The biggest thing customers want to accomplish is finding the right part or tool in the least amount of time and having multiple options to complete the purchase,” says Bauhofer. “That was another priority we had for the new site.”

Advance Auto Parts, which last month named GSI Commerce Inc. executive vice president for partner strategy and marketing Fiona Dias to its board of directors, has been crafting a dedicated e-commerce strategy since the spring. Earlier this year Advance Auto Parts and CSK Auto ended their joint-venture e-commerce operation-PartsAmerica.com-after CSK Auto was acquired in July 2008 by O’Reilly Automotive, an auto parts retailer with 3,387 stores.

mark@verticalwebmedia.com

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