The parts business is in a rut. We have been doing the same thing for decades now. Isn’t it time to put a fresh face on the parts business and offer customers improved service and convenience?
Start with the tired counter. The stand-up counter has been dead for a long, long time. Some of you just don’t recognize that. Put in a sit down work area. Make it pleasing for your customers AND your employees. Do any of you remember why it is that we have a high stand up counter? Well it is for all of those books we used to have to have as parts catalogues and service manuals. They are now gone the way of the dinosaurs for most significant suppliers.
Move to a self service station in your instore merchandising area. Allow the customers the convenience to price items and place orders themselves. Think of the gas station. They have completely redone their business with their self-service gas pumps and the “service” station. This is not your grandfather’s gas station.
Move to strip malls that are more convenient for your customers. Put is a small fast moving item, supply items, convenience items inventory. Operate like a “NAPA” store. The closer you are to the customer work site the more convenient you are. You might even consider putting a trailer on the customer work site. Make it convenient for them. Make it easy.
Move to the internet. The customer has been purchasing things on the internet now for a few decades. They look for information. They check out different suppliers. They check prices. Are you in the game? You will be left behind if you don’t get in the game.
You are in the retail business in the parts business. I wouldn’t know that from walking into many of your stores. You will both adapt and participate in the market or you will be left behind. The time is now.