Auto Service World
News   February 1, 2002   by Andrew Ross, Jobber News

New NAPA Programs Could Build Retail Sales 25%; 123 Stores to be Converted in 2002

Image and training programs and brands to be introduced as part of the NAPA rebranding of the UAP organization are expected to increase retail sales by as much as 25% says vice-president marketing, auto parts division, Simon Weller.
“This operation is much more than a sign change; new product and programs and new informational technology,” said Weller. “It’s a brand new way to go to market. It can provide you with increased profits that can enable you to grow market share.”
The store conversion program, which will be governed by tight rules on appearance and will be served by a single sign supplier for both inside and outside signs, is expected to take some time. Weller says that the goal is for 123 stores, some 21% of the network, to be converted in 2002.
There is, however, more to the program that just a sign change, Weller pointed out. “People are often judged by what they look like rather than who they are. If we are going to be the leader, we need an image adjustment. Before we paint our building and put new signs up, we need to address the inside. NAPA stores must project an image we are proud of.
“Our employees must look professional. The way our stores look, the way our products look, the way our employees look are all part of the NAPA brand. Investing in your store and your people is investing in you r future.”
The store conversion initiative, which encompasses a full gamut of retail and wholesale programs, communications and training thrusts, will begin to be implemented immediately.
Location, employee training, image, exterior identification, communication, business hours and inventory will all be the subject of attention.
“The essential keys to success have enabled U.S. test sites to increase retail sales 25% and wholesale sales 10% in less than one year,” said Weller. “Our American counterparts are doing it today, it’s just a common sense approach.”
Weller outlined many of the programs, which focused on training in order to allow parts store owners and their staff to understand the need for the changes, as well as to improve the profitability of those stores.
One of the main thrusts of the conversion program, perhaps the key point, is retail friendliness.
“Is your store easily accessible to customers? Don’t make it hard to find. Is it in a high traffic area? Where are the people shopping?
“Could you serve your wholesale customers just as well if you were to move? The goal is to gain new cash business while at the same time increasing your wholesale business. The goal is to make your store the destination for retail business,” said Weller. “This is s $2 billion retail market; to not be there is not a good business decision.”

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