Today on AMN, we are featuring a recent interview with Automotive Parts Associates’ (APA) Gary Martin, who shared thoughts on the organization’s keys to success. Martin’s interview is part of the annual Program Groups Overview published in Counterman magazine, a sister publication to aftermarketNews.
What is one thing you want those working at either the warehouses – as drivers, category buyers – or on the counter to know about the keys to being successful today in the independent automotive aftermarket?
There is no substitute for treating the customer well, in every respect, which translates to the age-old “customer service” with a smile. That treatment has to translate into substance and value for the customer, consequently, independent distributors must attract and hire the best employees possible in their respective markets with a knowledge of the independent automotive aftermarket. Training employees to sell the message and the added value proposition of the independent distributor is key relative to product selection, availability, pricing and backup support throughout the transaction and afterward. There is still room in this business for the personal touch at every level.
What does the aftermarket need to do to compete – or can it – against vehicles that are increasingly technologically advanced and more difficult to repair and new car dealerships that are adept at luring customers back for service, not knowing they have less-expensive options?
In today’s rapidly changing market, the independent distributor has proven it can meet the challenges of change both now and in the future. The technology needed to address these complex changes is available for the aftermarket through multiple mediums. Those independents that have a strong distribution presence in their channel know the importance of keeping their service dealer customers on the edge of technological trends, and as such, enlist the help and partnership of the manufacturing community as well. From the implementation of training and telematics programs offered, to the time-tested method of old fashioned customer service, the independent has weathered the difficult market conditions in previous years and the aggressive, smart independent will continue to provide a viable and value-added option for the consumer.
What is one thing that is least known about your group?
APA is one of three major program distribution groups that are the exclusive representative of the premiere global program distribution group, Nexus Automotive International. The other two groups are The Automotive Distribution Network and VIPAR Heavy Duty Group.