Distributors have generally held on to four key tactics as keys to their success. But there are three new ones emerging, according to a new report.
The distributors that supply parts to repair outlets point to ordering systems, product availability, pricing, and timely delivery as essential, observed Lang Marketing in a recent Aftermarket iReport.
But today, technical information, customer acquisition and necessary parts on hand “can provide game-changing advantages to distributors in this highly competitive environment,” Lang said in the report, Game-Changing Tactics in DIFM Supply.
As automotive outlets perform diagnostics and parts installation on vehicles with growing complexity, technical information is critical. Automakers and parts manufacturers control much of the information technicians need. Having it available allows the distributor to partner with carmakers and parts manufacturers to promote the use of their products and brands. Those that do this will have a significant advantage.
“This can set distributors apart from their competitors by making their customers more effective and increasing their product use and, therefore, purchases,” Lang’s report said.
When it comes to customer acquisition, distributors can help bring customers to a preferred shop’s bay by making a recommendation.
“Again, this can differentiate distributors from their competitors,” the report said.
And as aftermarket demand grows, distributors can help shops speed up repair times — and cut down on rapid delivery requests — by providing shops with necessary parts to keep on hand.
By taking advantage of online to offline (o2o) transactions, distributors can have parts ready for a shop ahead of time, rather than relying on rapid delivery to get parts in their hands.
“In an o2o environment, distributors enable consumers to order repair jobs and installation online,” Lang explained. “Distributors then deliver the required parts to Installers before the job is performed. These o2o transactions are increasing in frequency across a widening range of repair jobs and associated parts.”
What these “game-changing tactics” allow a distributor to do is take an innovative approach in the way they service their shop partners. They’re no longer simply supplying parts but moving beyond that to help shops to be more productive businesses.
“Second, these game-changing tactics take the distribution of parts a step further by helping to create an expanded market for the parts that distributors supply to their customers,” Lang said.