NAPA is hosting the first nationwide edition of its virtual XPO Sale from August 30 to October 8.
Last year’s exceptional circumstances obliged the NAPA team to demonstrate flexibility and to innovate by developing a virtual platform to host its annual XPO Sale.
Following last year’s success, NAPA Canada is proud to be taking this event nationwide in 2021.
“Last year’s XPO Sale was a smashing success,” says John O’Dowd, Vice President of Marketing.
“We seized the opportunity to transform an in-person event into a large-scale virtual happening. And the success of this venture is largely based on the representative strategy we put in place. Auto parts store representatives made appointments with shop managers to help guide their parts searches and finalize orders.”
“In fact, what we did was combine the best of two worlds under a hybrid approach. This year, shop managers will once again be able to peruse new tools and products on the virtual platform. Offers will be adapted according to major Canadian regions, based on their specific needs and purchasing habits.
“Over a hundred animated booths will allow them to browse not only new items but also special offers by suppliers at their own leisure. They can add whatever they want to their shopping carts, discuss product details with their representatives or get any questions answered before proceeding to check out electronically.
“As the XPO Sale will be ongoing for six weeks, representatives will touch base at appointed times to share any new discount offers clients may wish to cash in on.
“Last year, our in-store teams did a remarkable job of providing customer support. The XPO Sale’s success is largely due to this human contact and interaction. People are already fairly comfortable with e-commerce.
“The fact that our representatives are available to help guide buyers is what makes all the difference. Installers see this as an important added value,” says O’Dowd.
Test participants from Quebec and the Atlantic region reacted very positively to the 2020 edition of the hybrid platform, which received over 80,000 visits during the event.
Private access allowed installers the possibility to browse the site, visit booths and add items to their cart at their own convenience and leisure, often outside of business hours. Store representatives had to remain flexible in this regard when making appointments with customers.
The fact that participants didn’t have to travel to make their purchases also contributed to the event’s success. “That translates into savings for them,” O’Dowd adds.
“Also, remote teams didn’t have to travel and weren’t restricted to a limited visiting window. We expect that all installers across Canada participating in the event this year will appreciate the convenience offered by this formula and take full advantage of this opportunity.
“The Canadian territory is immense, and some installers are far removed from urban centres. For many of these shops, the chance of turning up at an in-person NAPA XPO Sale taking place in a large metropolitan area was slim at best.
“Last year’s financial results also justify the resumption and expansion of this virtual experience throughout the country. Sales were higher than in the preceding years.
“What’s more, the savings generated for both organizers and suppliers by the virtual solution translate into us being able to offer additional discounts on many of the products showcased during the XPO Sale to workshops.”
Unexpected outcome and more
“This change was brought about by circumstances. The pandemic changed the game, and the NAPA XPO Sale has gone from a two-day event at Montreal’s Palais des congrès (Convention Centre) to a six-week nationwide event.
So we’re always on the lookout for innovative ways to improve the customer experience,” explains Dominic Baribeau, General Sales Manager for the NAPA Quebec Region.
“This formula allows NAPA representatives to drop in, connect and navigate with installers on the NAPA XPO Sale platform to help them get the most out of the specials and promotions. And since these will change regularly, representatives can also keep them apprised of any interesting new offers.”
The Avalanche rebate program will also be renewed this year. This program allows installers to redeem points earned from their purchases for all manner of catalogue items.
“Here again, store reps can advise installers who are only missing a few points towards getting an item of interest, on how to best obtain that given reward. But no matter how popular and advantageous the virtual formula is, it won’t replace direct human contact, which remains vital to our industry.
“Our representatives have gradually resumed visits to auto service providers in compliance with health standards,” reassures Baribeau.
“It’s important for us to stay in touch with what’s going on with installers. The XPO Sale also serves to facilitate and develop these ties.
“Our Annual Meeting will also likely be split into regional meetings with a smaller number of participants. This will allow teams to get closer and exchange their feedback, and players to better serve each other,” concludes Baribeau.