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A Good Look At Aftermarket Car Parts

Aftermarket vehicle parts is a rapidly growing business in Australia and for good reasons. Numerous automobile enthusiasts like to make their car special and stand out from the crowd by making adjustments to the original. Though due to the limited choices provided by automobile manufacturers some look somewhere else. This is exactly the demand that aftermarket car parts are designed to fill

When purchasing a brand-new car from an automobile dealer, there is something frequently called “stock” which are the conventional choices supplied by the dealer. These standard stock alternatives include the vital elements such as engine, transmission, wheels and also performance part. The stock can likewise include interior vehicle parts such as lighting. Though lots of dealership do offer upgrades to a certain extent these are still limited for many automobile lovers even with options such as alloy wheels, satellite navigation and other extras. Therefore many individuals look somewhere else to really modify their vehicles.

Some buy aftermarket car parts for security factors such as xenon headlight upgrades which supply brighter and whiter light and therefore greater visibility. Other people may just desire their automobiles to look excellent and have that exclusivity and would acquire styling parts and accessories like body kits and alloy wheels to make their cars stick out from the crowd. For lots of automobile lovers acquiring aftermarket parts and customizing their vehicles is a passion and might invest thousands on efficiency upgrades, interior & exterior styling as well as other cosmetics.

Many automobile adjustments (or mods, as it is typically referred) made to a car are collectively known as aftermarket car parts. So exactly what are these parts? Simply put, aftermarket parts are those which have been made by a company other than the original producer of your car. Original parts are frequently called “OEM” parts; short for Original Equipment Manufacturer.

So why buy parts from someone aside from that of your vehicle manufacturer?

It’s like in any market if a business are making only particular sort of products they might have more understanding than the initial makers therefore they have the capability to offer much better and bigger variety of products such as a business specializing in efficiency car parts might provide lion’s shares. Aftermarket automobile parts consist of wide variety of product types such as light bulbs to air filters and turbo packages and chrome wheels. Some aftermarket parts can be installed by the automobile’s owner with very little or no knowledge about automobiles while other parts might require you to seek an expert to set up the part. You should consult from a knowledgeable individual before acquiring an aftermarket automobile part. Reputable online auto parts store like “Prospeed Racing” would be happy to do so.

There are certain criteria which one need to be aware of prior to heading out to purchase aftermarket automobile parts. First of all you have to know that setting up an aftermarket vehicle part might null your vehicle warranty, if there is any. For that reason, make sure to check your guarantee files before continuing to install a car part. Secondly ensure you know your vehicle make, model and year as these are the typical requirements used to inspect whether a part works with your automobile. Finally make sure to examine your regional laws as installing a particular kind of part might be considered illegal in your area of residence.

Would you like to learn more about your options in aftermarket parts for your vehicle? You can check out websites like http://www.prospeedracing.com.au. They literally have hundreds of aftermarket automobile parts, car exhaust and supercharger kits  that you can choose from!

 



Where to Purchase the Most Affordable Car Parts

ford-mustang-auto-vehicle-80465-mediumLow-cost and fast vehicle components could be acquired almost anywhere, although it’s just an issue of being able to understand where they exist and how you can discover them. Additionally, many people make a living off of acquiring low-cost automobile parts and also selling them on public auction internet sites on the net, consisting of eBay. It’s time for you to take advantage of the sector of the affordable car components, however, as well as have the ability to have some of the exact same privileges as those who are currently offering them! If you need to recognize where to get these kind of links then right here is your chance to take the information and also run with it to the auto parts that you want and needs.

The Best as well as Cheapest Exterior Automobile Parts

One of the wonderful places to deal with getting economical external vehicle components is the junk backyard. Although the junk lawn is not worth obtaining mechanical parts from, the exterior parts of a car are typically taken into consideration risk-free to be bought. The primary reason for this is that you instantly recognize just what you’re getting. Consider this: if you see a front bumper of a car with a damage on the right side, then you understand that you’ll be getting and purchasing a bumper with a dent on the appropriate side. Additionally, some of these car components problems can easily be dealt with if one understands enough regarding the automobile parts that they’re acquiring. Overall, however, junk backyards are certainly some of the better locations to obtain the most affordable and also authentic external vehicle components.

The Best and also Most affordable Mechanical Auto Parts

Equally as scrap lawns are the best locations to obtain your hands on several of the least expensive outside vehicle components, there are also places that take care of the least expensive mechanical and engine vehicle parts. Usually these can be acquired with wholesale lots of individuals who routinely offer car parts, yet this also suggests that you will have to buy a whole lot at once to get the part that you want for really cheap. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth the rate to get an entire number of engine or mechanical automobile components from a wholesale lot supplier just because you can likewise turn around and also re-sell them for a major revenue!

Where Automobile Parts Must Not Be Acquired

There are a lot of places to obtain a few of the most affordable auto components, and also two instances were noted above. There are also some places, though, that should not be contacted for any type of kind of car component whatsoever. These places are car dealerships, and most of the moment these areas take care of strictly produced as well as required auto components via the automobile firm itself. This additionally implies that they will certainly be some of the most pricey, which is why they shouldn’t be gotten there.

If you are trying to find cheap auto parts after that all you need to do is comply with the insight here to get your practical several of the best, reputable, and affordable vehicle components. Despite the fact that you could obtain your practical a lemon every when in a fantastic while, the fact of the matter is that inexpensive automobile components do exist for those that want to try to find them!



Where to Locate Auto Parts in Your City?

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If your car needs repair services then opportunities are that you have taken it to one of the primary car service center around your city or state before. In fact, there are probably a lot more auto service center in one city compared to their are automobile parts stores. This is all foregone conclusion, however, if one has to make their own vehicle repair works or wants to, automobile components certainly should be found. If you are having a difficult time looking for the auto parts that you require after that there need to be a lot of shops in your area that will permit you to obtain the repairs that should be done on your auto. Below are some recommendations of stores to attempt if you are trying to find some car parts:

NAPA

The NAPA shop has actually long been a popular car components keep that people have actually been able to go to in order to acquire the auto parts that they require. There are plenty of these sorts of stores around. In fact, this is a chain auto parts store that is located not just in each State, yet additionally outside of the USA also. While at NAPA, one is able to get the precise auto components that is required in order to make the repairs to a vehicle. Additionally, the NAPA Business additionally has car service center sprayed throughout the nation too. For instance, there is a NAPA AutoCare Facility, NAPA Crash Facility, along with a NAPA Vehicle Facility. There is usually a NAPA auto components save wherever there is a NAPA shop of any type of kind, however one cal always call simply in case. Additionally, NAPA likewise has an online shop where one could buy car components from them and have them shipped promptly via a UPS service.

AutoZone

Another chain car parts save that is incredibly popular is AutoZone. AutoZone is additionally a store that has an automobile parts store in practically every place around the USA, but they do change from NAPA in a somewhat various means. Whereas NAPA typically stocks auto components for many autos which about it, AutoZone has an entire choice of various other different vehicle items in their shops. As an example, self-supporting batteries can be purchased, sturdy flashlights, in addition to an entire myriad of various other products created vehicles. AutoZone is one of those family names that is always mentioned as well as could be trusted to acquire the proper and best auto components from.

Automobile Fixing Shops

One place that you could not have actually believed to looking is a car repair shop. Think it or not, vehicle service center do have connections when they wish to acquire auto components for numerous servicing projects. They are generally more than going to expand this company to the clients, yet there is generally a service-fee that supports it.

All these concepts are terrific if you are seeking automobile parts in your location. Chances are that you must have the ability to find the proper vehicle components that you’re looking for and ought to have no trouble by using a few of the stores and suggestions noted over!

For more information on honda performance parts, exhaust pipe or supercharger kits, browse the internet.

 



The Pros And Cons Of Getting A Used Auto Parts From Auction

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Are you out there for a brand-new used automobile? If you are, have you ever before thought of going to a car auction? Every year, a relatively large number of individuals leave with a top quality utilized automobile from an automobile auction and currently you could want to think of doing the same.

Although it greats to understand that many have had success with automobile public auctions in the past, you could be questioning whether attending a car auction deserves your time. To establish whether one is, you may wish to think about examining the advantages and disadvantages of getting a made use of auto from an auto public auction. A couple of car auction benefits and drawbacks are quickly touched on below.

Probably, the most significant pro or plus side to acquiring a used automobile from an automobile auction is the cost. Auto auctions are popular for their more than affordable rates. Depending on the auto auction that you attend, as well as the automobile that you prefer to buy, you might walk away with a top quality utilized automobile for as little as a thousands dollars! In all honesty, you never know just what treasures or quality used autos you will locate until you go to an automobile public auction. That is why it is encouraged that you a minimum of participate in a regional car public auction, also if it is just to see just what one is like.

One more one of the lots of pros or plus sides to acquiring a made use of auto from an auto auction is the choices that you have. In terms of the made use of automobiles that you need to pick from, it is not unusual for an auto public auction to ranging from as lots of as fifty used cars or more. Much of these made use of autos include various years, in addition to different auto makes and also versions. In maintaining with the options that you have, you additionally have a selection when it comes to picking a made use of vehicle auction to go to. If you live in or around a large city, such as Chicago, you might have even more auto auctions to select from. You might decide to go to an automobile auction that provides you the chance to inspect each car or you can select one that does not have any type of admission costs.

Although there are a number of pros or plus sides to purchasing a used auto from an auto auction, there are additionally a level of disadvantages as well. The good news, however, is that those downsides could not also apply to you. Among the downsides or disadvantages to purchasing a made use of vehicle from a car auction is that not all vehicle public auctions have an examination session. An inspection session is when you are able very closely analyze or evaluate all of the autos that will be auctioned off. You need to never ever get a secondhand automobile without completely analyzing it first. This drawback to acquiring a made use of vehicle from a vehicle public auction might not also be an issue, as long as you decide to attend a pre-owned auto auction that allows you to evaluate all of their automobiles first and they are out there.

Another con or disadvantage to acquiring a made use of automobile from an automobile auction is the fact that you typically aren’t actually offered any type of assurances. Probably, that is why it is so important that you are able to check a used automobile prior to bidding process on it at a car public auction. When you spend for and obtain your made use of vehicle, it is after that your own as well as you are in charge of it, liking all updates as well as servicings that may need to be made. It is difficult, if not essentially impossible, to find an auto public auction house or company that provides service warranties on their pre-owned vehicles. Obviously, acquiring an utilized car is a threat anyways, as a lot of used vehicle dealerships, along with owners straight-out marketing their automobiles do not offer guarantees either.

If you stay in or around the Chicago area, you could want to check out North Coast Car Public auction. Their online web site can be located at www.publicautoauctionnst.com. With routinely arranged vehicle public auctions, in addition to info on those auctions, including the used vehicles that will be auctioned, North Shore Auto Public auctions is known for being one of the best auto public auctions in the Chicago location.



Why Market Research Will Make You, Not Break You

MARKET RESEARCH separates perception from reality! It solves your mysteries! Market research is factual. Let’s talk cases.

Case one: A retailer, who is catering to the DIY business and carrying extensive hard parts inventory, thinks he wants to add installation to his business, but analysis (market research) of the local marketplace shows enough well-planned and -operated installer businesses already fulfilling the needs of the population.

He decides, “I shouldn’t go into my own installation business.” Then he thinks, “Maybe these installation businesses need a local supplier with excellent hard parts availability and hotshot delivery. This will help get cars off the lifts when the vehicles require a part not on the shelf.”

A market research strategy would be to find out if there is adequate hotshot delivery currently available. If there is a void and Mr. Retailer is willing to meet the required price (after analyzing his cost of delivery and looking at his remaining margins), he can become a hotshot and add the same business he thought he wanted to compete with.

This case means business expansion — where it will work and yield profit, although at diminished margins.

Market research differentiates your wished-for perceptions from the real business situation. It gives you solid, defensible facts in place of the “I know . . . I feel . . . I wanna be . . . I’m afraid . . . ” vagaries in planning situations.

Market research:

  • provides an accurate assessment of situation.
  • gives you the insight from which to define strategy.
  • stocks the tools with which to develop business tactics.
  • allows the execution of tactics with greater efficiency and accuracy.

Case two: New competition is coming to town. A big-time name shows up at the city or county planning commission with a leased plot to ask for zoning approval of its development plan. Yikes! What are you going to do?

The emotional reactions may be to cut your prices or to bury your head and know that your customers love you enough to withstand the friendliness, the crisp marketing, the overwhelming parts availability and the glamour of the new store — to say nothing of the prices. Or, you could consider going out of business. Nonsense.

It’s time for some market research before you take price-cutting action or resolve to run away or ignore the real world activities in your market. Market research can tell you not only what your competition is doing, but also what your customers and prospects expect from a business like yours. Used correctly, it puts your business on the right path, giving it specific direction. It can save you from costly experiments going in the wrong direction, away from profitability.

Worth the investment?

Market research is an important component in your business plan. You need it to live. Market research is good.

What’s more? You can afford it. As an automotive parts and accessories seller, you’re not bankrolling Nielsen to evaluate national TV programs for national market research.

Market research is worth your investment (which could be minimal), because it provides specific direction. Going without could cost you more in the long run because you might change your marketing strategies without the necessary information. What if you guessed what should be done with no information? If the fact-absent strategies you choose are wrong, the tactics you choose to implement those strategies are doomed to failure.

The good news

Market research gathers objective data. It reports what’s going on, and provides facts to help business planning. It tells you exactly what your customers and prospects want and expect from you. And, it can look into the short-term future of customer expectations.

How do you go about this? What should you do?

The good news is that, when doing market research, you get to talk to people. You talk to customers and prospects. You also talk with owners of other non-automotive DIY-type businesses in your community to learn about what they know. Their customers may be demographically similar to your target customers.

The hard part of the good news is to decide what conditions and what to ask them.

The even harder part of the good news is your acceptance of the fact that consumers may know more about your business than you know about your business.

In case one, the tactic was simple. The retailer who wanted to enter the service business had to observe the existing service and repair facilities, talk with some people and make a determination whether or not there was room for one more business of this type in the town. He also had to decide what unique selling proposition (USP) he had to offer to differentiate his business from the others in the market.

In case two, where the big name is coming to town, you have several market research choices. No matter which (or if all) technique you choose, you must talk to consumers of automotive aftermarket products, not only your customers. Talk to the other guys’ customers. Why? Because these men and women are your customers-to-be.

When you’re conducting research in your own stores (the casual intercepts your employees make with in-store shoppers), make this activity look a little more formal by having your associates dress just a little differently from those who are not collecting data: perhaps a jacket, and probably a button which could say “On official assignment,” “Checking customer satisfaction,” or “Talk to me — I’m listening.”

Techniques to the trade

What are some market research techniques? Well, you can use one-on-one interviews. You can intercept customers and prospects to find out what their needs and expectations are. You can conduct focus groups. Also, you could do a broad-base community research project, but I don’t recommend that for local retailers or jobbers. Each of the other techniques has a different level of reliability, and collectively, they build a well-rounded picture. A blend might work well in this instance.

A focus group or two could be comprised of dedicated DIYers from your customer base and from your competition’s customers. An employee can be coached and trained to ask customers a specific set of questions while they are in your store. Also, in-depth conversations with individuals should set up the trick.

The trick is to use what you’ve learned from listening. Done correctly, market research will provide specific answers that will jump off the page when you look at the data.

Research is insurance

Another nonspecific in market research is the right budget. There are no hard rules of thumb.

You must talk with the discipline’s professionals (not necessarily national firms — small and local firms do good work, too) to find out the answers to the following questions: “If I spend this, what do I get?” and “If I want to find out this, how will you do that, and what will it cost me?”

The rationale for spending anything at all is this, “If I don’t spend it on the front side of my change, what will the back-end cost be if I’m wrong?”

Think of research as front-end insurance. Think of ongoing, or repeated, research as continuing the insurance coverage. Research insures that you have the pulse of the market. This means that you know what your customers and prospects expect and what your competitors’ customers expect of their retailers. Research also confirms that your premise is still solid — that the markets or consumers’ needs aren’t changing.

The next question is: “Can I buy market research? Is the data I need sitting on some shelf?” Probably not. You need local data. Your local research tells you that you should be heading in a specific direction.

The Polk Company, a national resource, is the exception. The Polk Company’s vehicle registration data for your specific area will help you stock what you need to stock to keep your customers happy. Automotive part suppliers have used Polk data for decades to plan their regional and local warehousing inventory balances.

What if you operate in a NIMBY (not in my backyard) market? For example, if you see a lot of Hispanics in your neighborhood, ignore the national facts and concentrate on local realities. Go with your marketplace: a lot of new Hispanic residents repair and maintain their own vehicles. They also buy accessories. Use market research tactics to ask them what they want from you.

The crucial thing is knowing your local market, understanding it and responding to it. That counts. That will make you profitable. That’s market research.



In-Store Merchandising

IN-STORE MERCHANDISING is all about consumers, no one else. While it’s true that others are affected by the tactics of in-store merchandising — store owners who reap the profits from the high-caliber implementation of a good plan, store associates who work in an environment where customers are happy — the entire concentration of in-store merchandising should be on the consumer.

Why this focus? How about a paraphrase of the old bromide, “The end justifies the means.”

Definitely, absolutely true, and laudable in this case. The end is a happy customer who not only finds, easily, what he has come into the store to buy, but also other items of use to him.

The simple fact that in the automotive aftermarket 70 percent of the final buying decisions are made in-store is the best argument for good in-store merchandising.

Stimulate while they’re in store

Compound that simple fact with the knowledge that 65 percent of those 70 percent of shoppers can be stimulated to make an add-on purchase, and ignoring the latest proven tactics of in-store merchandising is indefensible. Mr. and Ms. Retailer, if you could make an additional 50 cents on every person who walks into your store, what would that mean to you in total dollars in a year?

Given those statistics about in-store buying decisions from the Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute, Inc. (POPAI) (see graph pg. 39), it’s important for everyone involved with in-store merchandising to understand how consumers shop. Once you understand shopping patterns and methods, tactics for effective in-store merchandising can follow.

An art defined:
What is in-store marketing/merchandising? It’s the art and science of creating a knowledge-based, actionable solution leading to a profitable environment, based on the realities of how shopping is done — where products, consumers, and money converge — where 100 percent of the cash changes hands.

Tactics include more than the use of planogramming to determine where on a shelf, within a section, in a product category display, one certain SKU should go to optimize its sales and margin. Tactics include fixtures, signage, shelf strips, interactive in-store advertising media such as application look-up tools, color schemes, and coordinating your out-of-store advertising and promotional messages with what you say in-store.

Solve the complex puzzle

Retailers can design and control only a certain amount of how they display their inventory. Their numerous suppliers ship an incoming product mix which is a combination of packaging, shapes and sizes of special promotion fixtures, diverse color schemes well-thought-out to build brand awareness.

The challenge is to take the various components of merchandise mix and devise a store which pleases the customer because it answers the question in her mind as she enters the store, “What’s here, and where is it?”

How is this done? The best-merchandised store is the result of a successful partnership between a store’s management and its suppliers.

We lag behind

This “successful partnership” concept is new to the automotive aftermarket. Although for nearly two decades retailers and suppliers in other market segments (grocery is the leading example) have cooperated with each other in trusting partnerships to achieve the financial benefits garnered from category management, our aftermarket is just reaching this business-friendship circle.

Category management principles require complete sharing of sales and margin statistics from retail operations with their lead suppliers who assume the responsibility of planning what should be on the shelves, and in what quantity. This helps the store obtain maximum financial results.

That planning is best done by using today’s ultra-sophisticated, business results-oriented planogramming software. Category management creates a contented shopper who returns time and time again, happily ignorant of the great effort store owners and their suppliers expend to make his shopping experiences pleasant and productive.

With sales information available, and knowledge of shopping habits and patterns clear, in-store merchandising can be planned and executed to improve store results. Do it, and they will buy.

You know what? The mere act of doing it (i.e., fixturing and merchandising upgrades) stimulates sales! Consumer studies of in-store purchases, conducted every year for the past ten, haven’t varied by more than two points during the entire decade. The baseline numbers are very consistent.

Do your research

The research results translate to, “Build your in-store merchandising program, and they will come — and buy. They’ll buy more — time and time again.”

It’s similar to a classic management experiment during World War II when employees who received attention from management increased productivity. While management did nothing specific to improve working conditions other than pay attention to that group and ignore the “control” group, the mere act of implementing in-store merchandising change creates sales.

Exact execution is profitable

The degree of increased performance is related to the level of execution and location. That’s why a store chain which remodels chain-wide obtains better results in some stores than in others: the level of execution varies from one store to another.

For example, the placement of a stand-alone merchandiser in the back corner of the store rather than near the checkout counter will cost sales.

It’s a deviation easy to miss when store management looks only at the numbers and doesn’t conduct a store-by-store onsite analysis of the execution of the fixturing and merchandising plan to discover why differing results exist.

Asking the right first question

“What should it cost?” Generally, that’s a retailer’s first question. It shouldn’t be. The correct initial question is, “Can I increase my profit and sales, and what do I need to spend to get those increases?” Investment in merchandising is repaid from increased profitability results.

Next question? “Won’t all this new fixturing and signage create clutter in my store?” Retailers who plan their walk patterns and signage with consumer behavior uppermost in the planning will not risk a cluttered result.

Actually, the aftermarket has it easy in this regard. Think about the challenge of avoiding clutter and overwhelming the shopper with too much signage, which an 80,000 SKU supermarket or 150,000 SKU mass merchandiser faces. Drug stores have it pretty easy in this regard since they have to merchandise only 50,000 SKUs, and some of that sits behind the prescription counter, much like our specific-application hard parts.

No matter whether a store is a supermarket, mass merchandiser, home improvement store, drug store, or auto parts retailer, the consumer is the same person, with the same mindset, same attitude, same demographics in a neighborhood. He and she are stimulated to buy more by well-implemented in-store merchandising programs.

That’s my case for well-planned and excellently executed in-store merchandising and marketing.

In-store buying decisions
Anyone who questions whether or not in-store displays influence consumers to buy should consider this information from the Point-Of-Purchase Advertising Institute. According to POPAI’s most recent survey of Consumer Buying Habits, 53 percent of consumers shopping at mass merchandisers make Unplanned purchases, buying items without planning to buy them before entering the store. Three percent Substitute items, planning to buy a specific brand or type of item, but buying another item or brand instead. Another 18 percent Generally Planned to buy a particular item, but did not have a brand in mind, and 26 percent Specifically Planned to buy a particular item and brand.
The consumer is not a difficult person to figure out when it comes to shopping. Studies on his or her buying habits are on-going. By researching you can figure out your consumers.

 



Case Study: M&H Suzuki Center

Pretend you’re a customer, a prospect, or a dreamer.

Now, walk into Michael Harness’ M&H Suzuki Center in Stateville, North Carolina, and turn right – like most customers probably do.

Your sightline flicks from the well-laced vehicles – all with tags precisely placed on the right handlebars for shopper convenience – slightly upwards, and you see precisely hung promotional banners. You, Joe Customer, want to grab them and put them in your shopping cart.

Overcoming his low 9-foot ceiling handicap, Hartness has a great ceiling-use strategy. All too simple, but oh-so-effective: He uses a down-and-dirty, factory-supplied trio of large posters. The store’s most-prominently featured motorcycle rides slightly in front of the other two. It faces the street outside, and the second-and third- place motorcycles appear to be chasing the leader of this staged race.

The three are strategically placed so that when you enter the shop and turn to the right, these posters, framed by the neon lights on the far wall, will catch your attention…and entice you to make a purchase.

I guarantee you Hartness stood very still for a few minutes to orchestrate this specific visual effect. He concentrated on what his prospective customers would see. And it works.

The pseudo-race, combined with the attractive setting of on-floor bikes, checkered-flag tile and seasonal promotional signs, are designed to lead you directly toward the most profitable items in this store.

From floor to ceiling, it’s great in-store theater. It’s entertaining! It’s eye-catching!

Are you using your ceiling to draw customers to the areas where you want them to spend money? You can’t sell from ceilings, but you can certainly motivate customer from on-high.

The bottom line is that customers who are provided with incentives to look up, to take a storewide gander because of visually interesting displays, spend.

After an imaginary journey through M&H’s layout, take the same walk as a customer through your own dealership to see if your displays lead your eye to the area of your store where you want your customers to spend. If this line-of-sight marketing opportunity isn’t visible, remember Hartness’ cost-effective strategies, and take advantage of the same resources around your store. Then, when you are back to being Mr. or Ms. Dealer, see if you notice a difference…it should shine clear through to your bottom line.

 



Maintenance Will Protect Your Investment

WANNA KNOW THE one simple secret which could keep your store the way you want it — profitable, and head-and-shoulders above the competition?

It’s not design, not signage, not promotion, not merchandising and not even the sophisticated inventory control system today’s competitive retail market demands. And, while category management is the newest mandatory element for competing in today’s automotive parts and accessory selling world, the secret is not that profitable, cutting-edge partnership either.

The secret is maintenance. Maintenance protects your investment — your investment in your market plan, in your inventory, in your new store design, in repositioning your stores to compete with your neighbors.

My point is easily made again if I transpose it to the words used by our friends in the chemical car care appearance products business. They say, “You spent all this money on this vehicle, and you walk away from cleaning it?”

The same is true when it comes to your stores. After the major investments you’ve made in money and time to design and stock your store perfectly, it’s foolish not to spend the effort needed to keep your investment looking its best.

Don’t trash your investment in your stores. Clean-up. Yes, it’s mundane. But, professional guys and gals, housekeeping is not a dirty word. Housekeeping is the magic treatment.

Housekeeping, when it comes to stores, has two aspects. One is cleanliness, obviously; the other is merchandising.

Housekeeping is one of the in-store marketing disciplines which doesn’t stand alone. It cannot be separated from its siblings — design, graphics, merchandising, installation and training.

Maintenance is the process of coordinating the implementation of revising, updating and installing new merchandising.

A poorly maintained store is a poorly merchandised store. When signs begin to look old or outdated, when merchandise is not straightened, when floors are not swept or vacuumed, you demean your business. You lower your image. When you have beautiful products in an unkept environment, you have decreased the value of every item you sell. Whether you realize it or not, you have lowered the value and credibility of your products to the consumer. You jeopardize your perceived expert status. And you tempt your floor and counter personnel to lose respect for you and the store.

If customers think “what you see is what you get,” woe to the store manager who lets housekeeping take less-than-top priority in daily operations.

This goes for operations based on low pricing, too. Low prices do not equal low maintenance. The stronger your maintenance, the stronger your low-price image. Trust me on this.

When today’s customers do not find the pristine environment they demand wherever they spend money, they won’t come back if there is a competing store where they can spend their automotive budgets. So, unless you’re the only game in town or within driving distance, you’d best to mind your shelves and floors.

What should you do?

Develop a housekeeping process. This is daily duty. Assign tasks and times when they are to be performed, and see that some of those rotate among the store’s employees.

Tasks such as what, you wonder?

  • Picking up stuff from the floor, and sweeping the floor. (By the way, in-aisle obstacles are not only an inconvenience to your customers, impeding your carefully-planned traffic flow, they’re also fodder for lawsuits.)
  • Straightening merchandise on shelves and endcaps, and making sure everything faces front. Paying special attention to the bottom shelves.
  • Taking broken packages off display.
  • Straightening signs and merchandisers. Making sure they’re current.
  • Making sure all light bulbs and fixtures function.
  • Emptying the trash and getting it out of the store.
  • Washing windows.
Take a good look at your store with paper and pencil in hand. Make your maintenance task list with an eagle eye. Enlist your employees’ help in this. Reward your employees for adding items to the list, and again for performing housekeeping chores. Post the list where every employee sees it every day. Make this housekeeping thing important. Make day-in day-out cleaning part of your corporate culture. Understand that what your customers see turns into what YOU get in your cash drawer.

And, doing the same things for your store’s exterior areas: picking up trash and sweeping the parking and entry way, etc.

Boring? Yes, but it’s gotta be done. Before the store opens for the day and during the operational hours.

How can you make this happen “24-7,” as the kids say? Post your housekeeping task list in a prominent place where your employees see it every day — like the signs you’ve spotted in restaurants reminding employees to wash their hands before they leave the restroom, or the time check chart for cleaning that same restroom.

Spiff up your store maintenance with a program which brings a little pleasure. How about adding incentives to employees for doing the “same ole, same ole” maintenance chores every day? A little reward now and then goes a long way toward making store maintenance an important part of your store’s operations — a part of your company culture.




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