to strengthen customer retention.
You just recently announced expanded coverage for MotoLogic. What does the increased coverage entail?
It’s two things. First, our eServices development team is regularly adding new manufacturers to MotoLogic. We launched last April with the “Big Six” manufacturers (Ford, Chevy, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan), followed by adding VW, Audi, Mazda, and most recently Smart and Mercedes. Our development team uses technology allowing the information in MotoLogic.com to be displayed without any human editing and [it comes] direct from the manufacturer, making the info 100 percent OE. This process also allows us to preserve hyperlinks throughout the articles found in MotoLogic as well as enhances the quality of the OE images. It’s this technology that makes the information in MotoLogic unique, while also presenting quite the development feat with each new manufacturer added.
The second coverage increase came with the addition of an older model vehicle library. MotoLogic now offers services information for vehicles as far back as the 1950s.
And finally, we’ve also introduced an automotive support staff, which offers training support and a fax-back service for the remaining 6 percent of manufacturers not in MotoLogic today.
With these two products being relatively new, what kind of feedback are you getting in the marketplace and how are you using it to refine the products?
The feedback has been positive and exciting as we’ve gained exposure in the industry. The innovative features that MotoLogic brings to a shop have been well-received, and even recognized with multiple awards since last October. Advance strives to be innovative, and more importantly, we strive to develop and refine current products to provide solutions to existing challenges faced by shop owners and technicians. It’s a significant part of Advance’s commercial growth strategy and continues to drive product development.
Coming from an eCommerce background, what are your thoughts on e-tailing in the aftermaket today? Many have concerns about its impact on bricks and mortar stores. What’s your take – can the two peacefully co-exist long-term? Do they (online e-commerce and bricks and mortar stores need each other in some way?
All the data we see shows that customers are increasingly relying on the web to find the parts they need. Initially, the industry had seen slower e-commerce penetration than other industries, but those trends are changing quickly. The interesting difference for the aftermarket is that when customers are looking for a part online, they typically still need the part very quickly. From Advance’s perspective, our network of stores, along with our commercial and real e-commerce sites, give the customers the best of both the online and store worlds. The growth of our sites suggests we have made it easy for our customers to find quality parts at a great value in the timeframe they need.