Becomes 'Go-To' Source in Competitive Market with LaserCat 3
• Location: Summersville, West Virginia
• Industry: Automotive
• Number of Stores: 1
• Employees: 13
"Our success is based on our ability to set the benchmark for quality, service, and professionalism. Basically, we're telling the competition, 'We're this good-don't you wish you were?'."
Mark Smith, Owner | Wholesale Auto Parts
A Clear Leader in a Crowded Parts Market
Mark Smith, the owner of, Wholesale Auto Parts, competes with a traditional jobber down the street; an Advance Auto Parts® store within two miles; and AutoZone®, NAPA®, and Fisher Auto Parts® locations within a few minutes' drive of his combined parts store and service center in Summersville, West Virginia.
Yet, when local repair shops, car dealers and do-it-yourselfers need the right part the first time, more often than not their first call is to Wholesale Auto Parts. In fact, even Smith's competitors call his store for help when they can't identify the right part for a customer's repair.
"One of the things we pride ourselves on is the ability to come up with a solution when no one else can," Smith explains. "Even our Yellow Pages ad says, 'If we don't have it, can't find it or tell you where to get it, you probably don't need it.'"
The secret to Wholesale's expertise is highly skilled countermen and Epicor LaserCat 3. Smith's counter team was among the first to pilot The LaserCat 3 eCatalog in 2006, and he's even more bullish on its capabilities years later.
"A lot of times people come in and say, 'I hope you can help me-I've been everywhere else.' Well, if you have The LaserCat 3 eCatalog, you have the ability to do that. You can help them because this catalog has so much more information and it's so robust and so fast compared to the cataloging most other stores have. It's phenomenal."
Goal #1: A Superior Customer Experience
An Auto Value affiliate, Wholesale Auto Parts can't compete dollar-for-dollar with national retail chains when it comes to advertising, promotions, and other businessbuilding resources. That's why delivering a truly differentiated customer experience is so important.
"Our success is based on our ability to set the benchmark for quality, service, and expertise," he explains. "Basically, we're telling the competition, 'We're this good-don't you wish you were?' The LaserCat 3 eCatalog helps make that possible."
The LaserCat 3 eCatalog redefines the eCatalog experience in usability, breadth, and depth of product information. Its point-andclick interface consolidates most critical information on a single screen to help counter professionals dramatically reduce the time needed to find, recommend, and sell the right parts for millions of automotive and light/medium-duty truck applications. "Because the LaserCat 3 eCatalog's advanced logic enables the user to launch a look-up with any of several inputs, it's much more conducive to how you actually receive information over the phone so you don't have to write down all these notes and then try to figure out what you've written when you finally get a screen opened up," Smith says. Several inputs, "It's much more conducive to how you actually receive information over the phone so you don't have to write down all these notes and then try to figure out what you've written when you finally get a screen opened up," Smith says.
This highly intuitive interface results in faster and more accurate research, which helps reduce returns. It also accelerates the learning curve for new store personnel.
"It makes the new counterperson a lot more confident, and your customers are going to react positively to that confidence rather than saying 'Put someone else on the phone,'" Smith adds.
'I Can Sell Almost Anything…'
Being fast and accurate is one thing; being able to find and sell parts that other stores can't is both a major competitive advantage and a significant profitability driver.
Smith says The LaserCat 3 eCatalog enables his staff to gain high-margin sales by providing access to hundreds of additional manufacturers and product lines. The eCatalogue integrates all of The Epicor comprehensive aftermarket databases-including Interchange, BuyerAssist, All Lines, Manufacturer's Pricing, and ItemExpert-which provide critical application information not available to users of other electronic catalogs.
"The competition's cataloging is primarily directed to the products they stock in their stores or DC's," he says. "With The LaserCat 3 eCatalog, I can access hundreds of manufacturers and product lines I don't stock and place a special order to gain the sale. In many cases I can even interchange those manufacturers' part numbers back to my own in-store lines and find that I have the part I need right here on my shelf. It's a huge benefit."
A Proven Way to Increase Margins
The LaserCat 3 eCatalog is also helping Wholesale Auto Parts employees demonstrate their unique knowledge and sell more premium products. The key to these benefits is Smith's ability to control the order in which brands are listed for specific applications.
The ability to prioritize search results is equally effective in driving premium sales. "If you can prioritize the results so your counter staff quotes from high to low [price] and give the customer some options, a lot of times you'll find the customers want the premium brand," he explains. "But if your staff never offers the premium, the customer is never going to buy it."
Imagine having competitors refer their customers to your store. That's the kind of selling advantage Smith envisions for other The LaserCat 3 eCatalog users, regardless of store type or market size. "Frankly, I can't imagine running a parts business without it today."
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.