AUTOXPO’s conference program offered all the tools to reach a higher level.
A true technical and logistical tour de force, the conference program of this all-digital event allowed participants to gather information and advice from experts, while obtaining the latest information on development strategies for the entire Uni-Select network.
A special focus was placed on the new Bumper to Bumper Auto Service program and the benefits it offers to new members. Details were shared on the marketing strategy related to this brand and participants were even able to discover the nuts and bolts of the advertising campaign that will promote the brand.
Other conferences went into more detail on customer expectations, especially those of the millennials generation, so dynamically illustrated by speaker Carol Allain. Uni-Select conducted an analysis of consumer behaviour to better understand their new habits,” explained Martin Lessard. The year 2021 will be the year of targeted digital communication. At the e-commerce level, we will be more present by guiding people looking for parts online to our stores. Our digital advertisements for our shops will highlight the expertise of our technicians. We want to create a buzz for Bumper to Bumper Auto Service. »
This approach was also validated by customer approach expert Félix Laventure, president and trainer for EVP, who stressed the importance of creating a bond of trust between the garage owner and his customer. “Consumers are looking for people who can help them and who will take the time to understand their needs. The welcome is crucial. The technical advisor’s approach must be customer-oriented, not focused on selling parts. It’s not just about fixing a technical problem, but about understanding the customer and building trust. In this kind of relationship, price becomes very secondary. »
Looking to the future
A panel discussion brought together two shop owners and Ben Michaud, National Director of Banner Programs for Uni-Select Canada, to discuss the effects of the pandemic on their operations. Martin Bolduc and Nathalie Gadbois, workshop owners, explained how they experienced the effects of the pandemic in their respective regions. It was also interesting to hear that some practices inspired by the new health measures will remain. Early appointment scheduling and inspections before entering the service bay are examples.
On this subject, according to speaker Stéfane Marion, Chief Economist at National Bank, the good days are coming for aftermarket shops. He explained that despite the historic recession caused by the pandemic, the government’s financial and monetary measures have resulted in an increase in household disposable income and a higher savings rate. “People may be traveling less and being more cautious about spending,” he said. The good news for the auto sector, however, is that “their purchasing power will be there as soon as the recovery takes hold. »
Launch of the Bumper to Bumper Academy
Pierre Desmarchais is a renowned trainer who accompanies several shop managers in the network to increase their profitability. He addressed this topic during his presentation at AUTOXPO. His lecture helped managers establish a measurable game plan for organizing paid days in a very structured manner.
Uni-Select recognizes the importance of supporting managers in improving their performance. In announcing the launch of the Bumper to Bumper Academy, Martin Lessard and Ben Michaud emphasized that an important part of the training program would be designed for them. It is in collaboration with AED that these training sessions will be offered to small groups of managers in order to facilitate exchanges.
For technicians and technical staff, the Academy, in partnership with renowned trainer Pierre Henry of Formation Xtreme, will open a catalog of 200 practical courses. An agreement with CARS OnDemand will also provide access to 400 online courses.
Canadian Supplier Recognition
Uni-Select announced the winners of the annual awards to its supply partners for Canada, which annually recognize their achievements, innovation and outstanding service, on the last day of its AUTOXPO event.
This year’s event was a particularly appropriate time to reflect on the past 12 months of the organization and to recognize the support of its supply partners. “Their efforts have collectively helped us to ensure the supply of the automotive aftermarket, essentially providing products and tools that help our partner members and corporate stores deliver the programs needed to support automotive service shops across the country,” said Jason Best, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Eastern Region, Merchandising and Marketing for Uni-Select Canada.
The unprecedented period we have all experienced over the past year and the challenges this presents for Uni-Select Canada’s customers and suppliers were two topics that were mentioned. Special thanks were extended to all supply partners for their resilience. The automotive aftermarket, as we know it, is a resilient sector and, like the automotive aftermarket, our suppliers have remained engaged and focused on providing products and services in order to find ways to ensure consistent supply,” added Jason Best. We thank all of our vendor partners, their teams and leaders for their continued support over the past few months. »
This year, Uni-Select honoured its partner First Brands Group (formerly known as Brake Parts) with the Diamond Award, a distinction given to a supplier that has excelled in its ability to provide national and private label products through Uni-Select’s Canadian network at all levels of distribution, from its distribution centers to automotive service facilities. First Brands Group was also recognized for helping network members and corporate stores drive sales and provide quality technical support.
The 7th annual Canadian Automotive Group Awards also recognized the outstanding performance, service and support of the winners in the following categories:
- Golden Ally – Sales tools for independent jobbers and installers: Mevotech L.P.
- Golden Ally – Marketing campaign of the year: Grote Industries, Co.
- Golden Ally – Training and technical support: Gates Canada Inc.
- Tech-Savvy Award: Dorman Products, Inc.
- Achiever – Automotive Parts: CDN Energy and Power Corp.
- Achiever – Paint and Body Equipment: ITW Evercoat
- Achiever – Tools and Equipment: Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation