Aftermarket auto parts distributors are challenged every single day to compete effectively, retain and grow their good customers and manage all the issues related to product returns, which are generally more than 20% of their orders. They struggle to differentiate their services offerings and achieve loyalty among their customer base.
Consider these points…
- Sales reps periodically visit the repair shops in person and, unfortunately, often interrupt the shop workflow. Promotional sheets included in order deliveries are a one-size-fits-all solution and are often ignored. While sales reps will continue to be indispensable in relationship building, it is difficult to achieve good coverage with the current approach.
- The impact of the 20% product returns on distributors is severe. Returns must be picked up, inspected, put back on the shelf, and the customer must be properly credited. Parts that can’t be resold cause further headaches. All of this eats deeply into margins.
- Unnecessarily long phone calls reduce the peak order-handling capacity of the skilled counter staff while increasing hold times for other customers – at least those customers who don’t simply hang up in frustration. To relieve this bottleneck, parts counter personnel are forced to rush and this in turn increases the likelihood of making mistakes.
- Worst of all, efficient competitors like eBay Motors and Amazon are beginning to steal market share and fuel prices are increasingly volatile, making it difficult to forecast operations costs. These factors are creating an urgent need to improve the efficiency of the core rapid-delivery business.
We think there’s a better way to engage with the customer while reducing product returns.