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Joe Marconi

Advance Auto Parts Marketing Continues to Hurt Auto Repair Shops

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Let me give you a prime example of what we are going through as a result of the Advance Marketing strategy:

Last week a customer came to us with a steering pull and requested a wheel alignment. After our routine inspection, we informed the customer that the ball joints were worn and they would need to be replaced before the alignment was done. The customer thanked us and said he would let us know what he decides.

The customer came back yesterday and told us, "I decided to go to Advance, bought the ball joints from them and they even LOANED ME THE TOOLS TO DO THE JOB!"

But, he is the real story: The truck now has clunks and noises and the steering wanders all over the road. His attempt to do his own ball joints, has now left his truck unsafe to drive due to his lack of expertise to perform the job properly.

This is what I have been battling with Advance and no one will listen. Why? They made the sale and that's what's important to Advance. Not the safety of the consumer, and certainly not the shop that lost the sale and is now stuck trying to figure out what went wrong.

The Advance marketing strategy will hurt the independents and send the wrong message to the consumer. Free testing, free battery installation, reading codes in the parking lot,loaner tools sets; will all do more harm than good to the relationship between Advance and the repair shops. How can Advance expect me to buy from them when they want to compete with me? That makes no sense.

And please don't tell me, "That's not your customer." I am so tired of hearing that. It is my customer! The entire motoring public hears and sees the advertising.

This is why I have serious issues with Advance, and cannot support them. And nothing will change as long as Advance listens to Wall Street and not Main Street.

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    • By Joe Marconi



      Source: Advance Auto Parts Marketing Continues to Hurt Auto Repair Shops
    • By Joe Marconi



      Source: Advance Auto Parts Strategy of FREE undermines auto repair shops
    • By Joe Marconi
      I got a call the other day from a shop owner who happens to own a repair shop in the town I live in. He told me that a new Advance Auto Parts store has opened up down the road and they want him to buy from them. I asked him how he felt about buying from Advance Auto Parts. He told me that he really has an issue due to all the signage in front of the store: Free Wiper Blade installation, Free Battery Testing, Free Battery Installation, Free Alternator Testing and Free Starter Testing. There’s even a sign that says, Loaner Tool Sets Available!

      I don’t know how you feel, but as a shop owner I cannot align myself with a company that devalues the work we do. It’s hard enough to generate a profit these days, but to compete with the same business that wants me to buy from them? That’s insane.

      Advance Auto Parts claims that they target the DIY, not my customers. But the truth is, everyone sees and hears their advertising. So my customers here the “Free message” over and over. And, let’s not kid ourselves: If Advance Auto Parts can convert a few motorist to try to do auto repairs themselves; that would be just fine for Advance Auto Parts. All at the expense of the auto repair shops.

      The bottom line here is truly the Bottom Line. Advance Auto Parts has to answer to Wall Street and its investors. I have to answer to one person…myself. And I will not compromise my beliefs for anyone or any company.

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