â€œI think it’s difficult to predict whatâ€™s going to happen in the market with all the problems that are about. The cost of fuel is one problem, and also the fact that cars these days are leaving the factory with so much equipment on them.
My word of advice, particularly for retailers, would be to keep doing what theyâ€™re doing â€“ keep doing well, and keep offering customers that extra level of service.
You also need to be on the lookout for new ideas, donâ€™t be afraid to do something new. For example thereâ€™s a growing sector of the market thatâ€™s starting to feature retro or classic cars â€“ suddenly itâ€™s becoming all the rage to own a classic Mini or something like that.
The beauty of that sector is that when people buy classics thereâ€™s an increase in what theyâ€™re prepared to spend on it. That means a lot of extra business for the local retailer, and I can see that increasing in the coming months.
With that in mind I would also say to get yourself along to the various classic and retro shows that are coming up. Even if you donâ€™t exhibit there go along and start talking to owners, they could be your next customers.â€
â€œWe plan to be thriving, vibrant & growing of course!
OK, so Iâ€™ve always been a little optimistic but I believe that independent car accessory stores who can adapt to a market where added value & service provides differentiation will prosper. Those who are determined to race to the bottom on price will struggle to compete with internet retailers and online channels like Ebay & Amazon.
There will be less pure car accessory stores and those that still remain will have found other niche areas to compliment their offering. That could be in leisure products, cycles, motoring related toys etc. Even stores who retail and factor will find it hard to compete against protective car dealerships, extended warranties and the investment needed to cover the car park.
Opportunities for stores prepared to change and adapt and provide â€˜fitted servicesâ€™ will be sought after as a result of a generation who are generally far less able to â€˜DIYâ€™ either because of the complicated nature of electronics on the car or because basic practical skills are no longer taught in schools.
The major challenge will not only come from the internet but also from a supply chain who no longer see the need, can afford or are geared to service small independent retailers.
In order to survive these retailers will need to be in a thriving group like A1 Motor Stores of course!â€
Co-Director, A1 Motabitz