I was doing some online auto parts shopping today, looking for pinchweld, as one does when they need that particular soft-rubber-like seal when installing glass in a car. I was trying to avoid going from parts store to parts store looking for the stuff, so I started looking through auto parts websites. Within minutes I was an irritated ball of tension (not the best consumer mindset, mind you).  

The sites insisted that I enter the year, make, and model of my car in order to search for what is essentially a universal product. Of course, since the stuff isn’t model-specific, it didn’t come up in a search. I gave up and drove to a couple parts stores and found what I needed, finding myself less stressed out and more successful using the more traditional method. 

Later in the day, I was online searching through my favorite vintage VW parts store, and found myself wishing I could just put in the year and model of my car and it would come up with the parts I needed. Sometimes, you have to make a choice in how you present products online. In these two cases, I’d choose the method the VW parts house used. Why? Because while it wasn’t as convenient, I was able to find the parts I needed for my car. If your website doesn’t show a product and you carry it, the customer is likely to look elsewhere because they don’t know.  

Moral of the story? Make sure you advertise even your most steadfast product. Your customer won’t always know what they need, so it’s your duty to show them everything they may desire. 

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