Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2001   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: May 2001


Internet In Future For 86% Of Aftermarket Companies

A website is either a current reality or will be before year’s end for 86% of aftermarket companies, according to a recent survey.

“E-Commerce & the Aftermarket,” a research report published by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), says that the barriers to entry are dropping. “Many smaller companies are overcoming the notion that creating a website is too costly,” says Al Gaspar, president and CEO of the AAIA. “For example, the median startup cost for manufacturers’ representatives is $550.”

The 40 page survey reports that the most popular products marketed and sold over the Internet by respondents to the survey are hardparts (33%), followed by performance and comfort accessories (30%), and tools and equipment (29%).

The survey also revealed that most companies expect to increase their web budget; most felt it increased sales; most websites reported a zero return rate; that the majority manage their websites internally; and the most common service offered is store and product locators.

“The research in this report reflects how the Internet is affecting the automotive aftermarket supply chains and distribution channels by reforming interactions between buyers and sellers,” says Gaspar. “Whether informational or transactional, aftermarket businesses are rapidly developing their own electronic presence.”

Uni-Select Presents New Distribution Center

Uni-Select put its shiny new “Toronto” DC–it’s actually in Brampton–on display, revealing elegance to its organization and efficiency.

“Everything is stacked by brand in a way that means we don’t have to go moving skids around all over the place,” says warehouse supervisor Bob Prkash. This means, for example, that brand name and the Auto Extra brand parts from the same supplier are positioned in the same aisle. This facilitates stocking and stock picking as well as vendor inventory management.

The 82,000-square-foot facility also features 14 loading bays, bright lighting, and generally better facilities.

Bestbuy Forms Alliance with Industrial Distributor

Bestbuy Distributors Limited and Independent Distributors Inc. (IDI) have formed a strategic alliance.

IDI is a major provider of industrial products to their 161 independently owned locations across Canada with office and warehousing facilities in Mississauga, Ont. Bestbuy Distributors Limited is a major provider of automotive products to 142 independently owned locations across Canada with office and warehousing facilities in Mississauga, Ont.

IDI and Bestbuy have a long-standing relationship dating back to the early 1980s. Formalizing this new strategic alliance will solidify this relationship in having both companies work together on various projects in enhancing the viability and bottom line position of both companies.

Wrenchead.com joins with NAPAonline.com

Genuine Parts Company’s U.S. wing, NAPA Auto Parts, has announced that its NAPAonline.com online store will be the exclusive provider of auto parts and accessories sold to consumers through Wrenchead.com.

Starting in the second quarter of this year, consumers visiting Wrenchead.com will be linked directly to NAPAonline.com.

Castrol Looking for Top Tech Students

Castrol will award the “Top Tech” students in twelve cities across Canada a chance to get down and dirty in the pits with the Castrol Syntec and Snap-On Racing teams.

Designed to recognize high-school students who excel, the “Castrol GTX Top Techs,” program demonstrates first hand the reality of putting these skills to use in a real-world simulation. Each grand-prize winning Top Tech student and the teacher who nominates him will spend a race day at a CASCAR sanctioned event. The winner will join D.J. Kennington or Chris Fowler in the pit, meet the crew and experience a race from behind the scenes.

To receive nomination forms and additional information please call 1-888-CASTROL.

PartSource Launches “Club Card”

PartSource has announced the launch of its first loyalty program geared to retail and wholesale customers.

The Club Card offers members exclusive privileges, including discounts on selected in-store items and access to special product promotions.

The Club Card is offered without sign-up or annual fee and applies discounts at point-of-purchase. Discounted items are comprised of a number of product lines or categories. The list is on display in the stores and discounts range anywhere from 10 to 50%, with product offerings to change approximately three or four times per year.

Club purchases can be tracked for warranty purposes, increasing customer convenience in the event of lost or damaged receipts.


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