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Joe Marconi

AutoZone: Threat or does it fit a need?

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I am staying out in California at my sons place for the holidays. He was complaining to me that the dining room chair legs were loose, so being the mechanic that I am, I took a look. All the bolts loosen up. The heads of the bolts were Allen key style (hex heads). He did not have the right size, so we went out in search of a hardware store, but found an AutoZone on the way.

 

We found the right size hex key and went to the register to pay. This was a Sunday afternoon around 4pm. At the register counter was a line of people buying: Wiper blades, oil, air filters, oil filters, batteries, floor mats, car wax, shop rages, and asking questions about problems with their cars. These were not our customers.

 

But it made me think: Do the AutoZones compete with us? Are they really a threat? Or do they somehow fit a need that we cannot or should not fulfill?

 

Your thoughts?

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  • Similar Forum Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      So, what's worse than AutoZone and Advance doing free check engine light scans? You know the answer, installing the part that was sold by these part stores without performing your own diagnostic tests first.
       
      I was at an affair the other day sitting at a table with a few people I did not know. And then the question I never want to answer comes up, "So Joe, what do you do for a living?"
       
      This person told me a 15 minute story about going to AutoZone to have a check engine light scanned, then buying an O2 sensor, bringing it to the repair shop that was recommended by the AutoZone, only to have the check engine light come on the next day. I am sitting at the table attempting to eat a really bad steak, and now I have to save the world.
       
      The more I tried to explain the more distant this guy became. So, I gave up and suggested he go back to the shop and pay to have the problem tested and diagnosed. His eyes lit up, "Pay for something they do FREE at AutoZone?"
       
      We are evolving into an industry where standards are being re written. And, it's not good. This guy went to AutoZone because of all the ads he hears on the Radio, and also speaking to a few of his coworkers at the office.
       
      Is it me or is there a real problem brewing here? Bigger than we have imagined before?
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      Openbay has partnered with AutoZone Inc. to enable Boston-area consumers to comparison shop and book automotive repair and maintenance services with a network of local professionals directly from autozone.com.
       
      I don't know how you feel, but is this really where we are headed? An online service, now partnered with a Parts Company, that gives prices over the internet and comparisons to other shops.
       
      Am I stuck in the past, or concerned about our future???
       
      Here's an article on the topic:
      http://www.ratchetandwrench.com/RatchetWrench/June-2015/Openbay-Partners-with-AutoZone/
    • By Joe Marconi
      AutoZone continues to show that it is a major player in the auto parts business. With many independents experiencing a roller coaster ride with regard to sales, part companies appear to be doing ok. Below is a link in Aftermarket Magazine.
       
      http://www.aftermarketnews.com/Item/130005/autozone_reports_fourth_quarter_results.aspx
    • By Joe Marconi
      AutoZone…Mission Accomplished! Your quest to sell parts by offering FREE Check engine light scans has successfully changed the way consumer perceive check engine lights. In the mind of the average consumer, there is little to no difference between a reputable repair shop accessing check engine light codes and a part’s house.
       
      At a recent business EXPO in my town, which I attended, dozens of consumers were questioned about the check engine light and if they would take their car to an AutoZone or other parts house if the check engine light came on. Many said they have and would, and many stated “Is there a difference?”
       
      So, I guess for you, congratulationsis in order.
       
      Obviously I am being funny. But this is no laughing matter. Once the consumer perception is set, it is set in stone. This will make increasingly more difficult for us to explain diag charges.
       
      Your thoughts?
    • By Joe Marconi
      My wife was having lunch at her job the other day and a conversation started regarding a check engine light. One of the ladies at the lunch table had a check engine light on and was fearful of the cost before bringing it to a repair shop. Another lady responded by saying, “Take it to either Advance or AutoZone, across from the Putnam Plaza on route 6, they’re right next to each other and they will diagnose your car for free.”
       
      My wife cringed when she heard this but did not say a word. We all know how some people think that pulling codes is an analysis, and how tough it is to charge what we need for Diag time. This perception about Advanced and AutoZone does not help.
       
      I am going to make it a point ASAP to meet with Advance, since they will be the primary part supplier in my area, and have a discussion on this topic. Some may call me naive, but I have to try.
       
      Pulling a code and making a judgment without performing tests is like a druggist at Rite Aid coming around the service counter, taking someone’s blood pressure and then selling them pills based on the readings. To me I see no difference.
       
      You?
       
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