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ACDelco eForum: Capturing Sales by the Tail


3/8/2011
By Mark Phillips

Prior to the eForum, ACDelco held its national meeting and hosted a range of breakout sessions where attendees learned about the company’s new oil program, incentives and a strategy for its brake program, among other topics.
 
Mark Phillips

DETROIT — ACDelco told attendees of its recent annual eForum that it aims to strategically grow sales with a number of new programs and incentives this year.

The eForum, which ran Feb. 7-11, was held at the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport hotel. Attendance was pegged at 287, which included distributors, program groups and vendors, said Steve Sigg, ACDelco ebusiness manager.

ACDelco's Steve Sigg
Prior to the eForum, ACDelco held its national meeting and hosted a range of breakout sessions where attendees learned about the company’s new oil program, incentives and a strategy for its brake program, among other topics.

“The most important thing we’re trying to hit home is our mission to capture positive, incremental sales,” Sigg said. “That’s how we’re measured and that’s our primary goal.”

To support that, ACDelco is focusing on three areas. “One is leveraging data to maximize our customer’s inventory value. The second item is we want to be great on catalog and product information,” he said. “And thirdly, we want to great at delivering first-choice e-business solutions. That means we want our customer to open that application first off his desktop above all others.”

ACDelco is adding features to its base products that differentiate its solutions, Sigg said. “We’re appealing to the users so they’re inclined to choose us as a first choice.”

ACDelco also is broadening its reach within eBay Motors. “When we initially launched with eBay, it was for obsolete parts. Now, we offer our entire offering. So now within eBay we basically have two stores — one selling obsolete parts, the other one selling all of our own. It’s still fulfilled through our warehouse distributors.”

The company is finding business it didn’t expect on eBay Motors. “We’re getting a lot of international business that we didn’t expect. Someone might own an Impala in Sweden and is looking for a part via eBay. We have shops in rural areas looking for our products. They use it. Do-it-yourselfers are looking for our products and they go on there and buy them. It’s an opportunity to allow access to our products on a 24-hour basis.”

ACDelco is highly reliant on customer feedback to allow the company to put out the best products possible, according to Nancy McLean, director of ACDelco marketing.

“We have a couple of ways we do that,” she said. “We’ve got an advisory council that my marketing team meets with monthly on a conference call and once a year, face-to-face. And then when we have a venue like this. Yesterday, we had eight break-out sessions for our national meeting. Instead of just standing in front of people, we wanted interactive sessions so we could really get that dialogue.”

During Wednesday’s session on promotions, several distributors raised their hands and provided input on how the promotions might be altered to best serve their markets. ACDelco will take that information back to their offices to make any necessary tweaks. That’s indispensable front-line information, McLean said.

“Markets are different, businesses are different. What may work for one, might not work for another. So this is just a really awesome opportunity to get that kind of feedback. We’re doing it all the time. If we don’t have it in a meeting forum, we’re calling customers all day long. It evolves what we bring to the marketplace.”

ACDelco has been using a system to filter out parts from the catalog that aren’t typically used in certain markets. For example, a customer in South Florida wouldn’t need winterized parts.

“We’re getting smart enough to customize what you have, what you need,” McLean said. “It’s not only taking the catalog and filtering out what might not be needed in your market, or you might not need on your shelf, but beyond that, we’re using the tools to understand that Florida market, what’s the mix of vehicles there, we’re marrying data of application information, as well as repair information and trends and histories to not only have the data but leverage the data and turn it into true business tools.”















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