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Distributors have new ‘game-changing’ tactics to supply shops

These three emerging tactics go beyond ordering systems, product availability, pricing, and timely delivery

Fort Wayne, Ind.—Four factors are generally regarded as essential to the success of distributors who supply parts to repair outlets: ordering systems, product availability, pricing, and timely delivery. While those factors are important, three additional tactics have emerged in the changing Do-For-Me (DIFM) market that can provide “game-changing” advantages to distributors in their competition to supply repair outlets.

Here’s a look at what all those factors and tactics are and why they are important, according to Lang Marketing’s latest study.

Conventional Competitive Factors
Four factors are generally regarded as essential to the success of distributors in supplying parts to repair outlets: ordering systems, product availability, pricing, and timely product delivery.

Without undercutting the importance of those four factors, three additional tactics have emerged in the evolving DIFM market that can provide advantages to distributors in this highly-competitive environment.

Tactic 1: Technical Information
Technical information is critical for automotive outlets to rapidly perform diagnostics and parts installation on vehicles whose complexity is growing by leaps and bounds.

Carmakers and parts manufacturers control much of the automotive technical information that installers need. This allows distributors to partner with carmakers and parts manufacturers to promote the use of their products and brands.

Distributors can gain significant advantages over competitors by supplying technical information to DIFM accounts. This will provide benefits to installers that are not readily available from other sources.

This can set distributors apart from their competitors by making their customers more effective and increasing their product use and, therefore, purchases.

Tactic 2: Customer Acquisition
Distributors can provide added values to DIFM outlets by helping to attract customers to their bays. Again, this can differentiate distributors from their competitors. Banner programs and o2o transactions are two ways in which distributors can help installers attract customers.

Banner Programs
Banner programs are marketing and advertising resources that programmed warehouses and jobbers provide to installers to help them attract bay customers and better serve them.

Banner programs reinforce the relationship between distributors and installers by helping to increase the business of installers and the volume of parts they will purchase from distributors.

o2o Transactions
Online to offline (o2o) transactions are gaining significance in the repair market, and they can enable distributors to help installers attract customers. In o2o auto repair, distributors enable customers to purchase parts and schedule auto repair online through a network of authorized service outlets (who perform the work offline).

eCommerce sellers have taken the lead in o2o auto repair, especially regarding tires, batteries, and standard repair jobs such as oil changes, brake work, etc.

To compete in this evolving segment of the DIFM market, brick-and-mortar distributors can use innovative o2o tactics to help provide their Installer customers with greater bay volume.

Tactic 3: Necessary Parts on Hand
Distributors can reduce the need for rapid parts delivery in two ways.

• Distributors can enable installers to stock key products that they use on a repetitive basis, so when jobs arrive in their bays the need for quick parts delivery is reduced.

• o2o transactions can provide another means of reducing the need to deliver parts quickly. In an o2o environment, distributors enable consumers to order repair jobs and installation online. Distributors then deliver the required parts to installers before the job is performed. These o2o transactions are increasing in frequency across a widening range of repair jobs and associated parts.

Distributors who can develop the means to provide needed parts on hand will have a clear advantage over competitors and will become the top choice of repair outlets across a much wider range of products than those covered by this type of program.

Aftermarket Impact
These three tactics have several things in common.

• They enable distributors to take an innovative approach to serving DIFM repair outlets, by moving beyond simply supplying parts to helping installers to be the best and most productive businesses.

• These tactics take the distribution of parts a step further by helping to create an expanded market for the parts that distributors supply to their customers.

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