How is Advance utilizing its recent acquisitions to serve professional customers?
At Advance, our merchandising strategy involves providing high-quality, reputable brand-name parts and accessories to our customers, including our premium CARQUEST brand. The acquisition of GPI, which included the CARQUEST and WORLDPAC brands, has strengthened our product proliferation. We are able to leverage our network of more than 6,500 locations, including our HUB store network and our channel partners like Autopart International to cross-source product in order to get our customers the parts they need fast. Today, we have more product in-market than ever before enabling us to have same-day availability in most markets.
Are there any categories of parts that are doing better now because the average vehicle age is over 11 years?
With engines lasting longer than ever, consumers are more willing to invest in repairs to ensure that their vehicle “is still running great.” Undercar categories like, steering, suspension and chassis are benefiting because cars are running longer. Brakes and other maintenance categories are also doing well because cars, although older, still require maintenance to keep them running.
Are shops taking full advantage of your program group’s ecommerce offerings? Why or why not?
Yes, we’re seeing more and more shops engaged with Advance’s online properties – from parts ordering to training – each year. We continue to expand our ecommerce platforms as commercial customers increasingly turn to the Internet for part orders. Especially when it comes to hard-to-find parts, our system can determine if a part is in stock through the HUB network, can cross-source enterprise wide or can order directly from the vendor, and deliver within a 24-hour window.
What overseas opportunities exist for traditional, American-based program groups?
The proliferation of aftermarket technology has created a category of services that can live online or on-demand for commercial customers and shops across the world. At Advance, we’ve worked to be at the forefront of that push by bringing technology to shops in markets outside of our store footprint with the tools available from the MOTOSHOP Technology Tools portfolio. We’re able to work with shops in Mexico, Latin America, Asia — and really anywhere in the world — on programs such as online training, shop marketing and the installation of a shop management system.