Special Reports

Search Autoparts/Aftermarket-business/Research/Special-reports/

2011 Auto Chain Product Study: Wipers

Wiper sales depend on being quick with product placement
Monday, January 3, 2011 - 01:00
Print Article

When it comes to sweeping across the marketplace with sparkling sales numbers for your windshield wiper offerings, “price is a big driver,” says Chris Olson, buyer/product manager at Roanoke, Va.-based Parts Depot, Inc.

The figure on the sticker is so important to the customer that “we do competitive price shopping” to make certain that Parts Depot can deliver the best deal, he says.

At McKay Auto Parts, headquartered in Litchfield, Ill., “we’re very retail-conscious,” says president and CEO Jim McKay. The company carries a vast selection ranging from price-based lines to premium products.

 

“We have the whole gamut covered,” according to McKay. “NAPA keeps us up-to-date with the newest styles, so we’re not stuck with old inventory.”

Sales uptick in the fall and continue throughout Illinois’ rough and unpredictable winter months. The operation’s distribution network is able to turn on a dime when conditions deliver a sudden wiper spike, “especially if you have ice – that will destroy them,” he points out. “If there’s a storm we can restock really quick.”

Just as the weather patterns seem to be always changing, the wiper styles of choice are prone to shifting as well. McKay says his customers are assured that whatever preferences they have are promptly met.

PAGE 2

“We have the ability to run with that. We don’t say, ‘This is our offering and that’s it,’” he points out.

“We have 17 stores, and what we have in one store may not be the same style we have in other stores,” McKay notes. The highly localized selection tied to the hot sellers is augmented by the company’s enthusiastic approach to personal service. “We do business in a number of small towns, and we put the wiper blades on for them.”

The motoring public is actively advised that McKay’s is the best place to shop for wipers. Radio advertisements are aired, and “whatever displays NAPA comes out with we have.”

In the Peach State, the delectable world-famous fruit crop is a product of Georgia’s rainy nights and hot sunny days, which means that carrying high quality wipers is the best way to take this category to market. “If you sell a ‘good’ set of wipers, the first time it rains they come back and want ‘best,’” says Wayne Marsh, vice president of store operations at Brooks Auto Parts, Inc. in Douglas, Ga.

“The wiper is lying on the windshield in the hot Georgia sun,” Marsh explains. “The biggest wear on the wiper blade is when it isn’t being used. A cheap wiper will stiffen and bounce across the windshield, and once you’ve had one of those you don’t want another one.”

“The value option still continues to sell” at Automotive Parts Headquarters, Inc., based in Saint Cloud, Minn. Some customers amid the rugged winter wonderland tend to shy away from the more expensive varieties, even if they have to keep coming back to say “give me another one,” according to retail merchandising director Mike Lichtenberg. People remark that “if I have to pay that much, give me one that’s cheaper.”

PAGE 3

He does report that “our stores are just going crazy with the rubber-booted wiper blades.”

Sales spikes are highly dependent on the immediate state of the climate. “It only happens when conditions are right. If it’s raining out, sleeting out or snowing out we sell a lot of wipers. If the sun is shining we don’t sell any,” Lichtenberg says.

It is incumbent on repairers, however, to stock a complete selection at all times to ensure that they’re ready to roll for any inclement condition. “Once the weather hits you’d better have them on hand to install,” says Lichtenberg, “otherwise the customer drives to the next shop to see if he’s got them.”

The company’s shop-oriented advertising feeds on quality beef jerky – and Lichtenberg places great emphasis on the word “quality.” The high grade meaty treat is dispensed when businesses buy a certain quantity of wipers.

 

When it comes to sweeping across the marketplace with sparkling sales numbers for your windshield wiper offerings, “price is a big driver,” says Chris Olson, buyer/product manager at Roanoke, Va.-based Parts Depot, Inc.

The figure on the sticker is so important to the customer that “we do competitive price shopping” to make certain that Parts Depot can deliver the best deal, he says.

At McKay Auto Parts, headquartered in Litchfield, Ill., “we’re very retail-conscious,” says president and CEO Jim McKay. The company carries a vast selection ranging from price-based lines to premium products.

 

“We have the whole gamut covered,” according to McKay. “NAPA keeps us up-to-date with the newest styles, so we’re not stuck with old inventory.”

Sales uptick in the fall and continue throughout Illinois’ rough and unpredictable winter months. The operation’s distribution network is able to turn on a dime when conditions deliver a sudden wiper spike, “especially if you have ice – that will destroy them,” he points out. “If there’s a storm we can restock really quick.”

Just as the weather patterns seem to be always changing, the wiper styles of choice are prone to shifting as well. McKay says his customers are assured that whatever preferences they have are promptly met.

Article Categorization
Article Details
blog comments powered by Disqus