Why it’s time to stop offering ‘good, better best’

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Instead of having three different options for customers to choose from, reduce that to two. That means a premium and affordable option, according to an experienced market leader in the automotive aftermarket.

John Washbish, president and chief executive officer of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, believes the quality of aftermarket parts is in a good place.

“In general, I think the quality of aftermarket parts, be it light or heavy duty parts, is better than we’ve ever seen,” said on an episode of curbside chat, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada video podcast series. “Again, overall the quality is pretty, pretty good.”

He believes that the conversation about what is offered should shrink from ‘good, better and best’. Many retailers have three options and they all have at least two. During the pandemic, it was so difficult for stores to get their hands on certain products, they often asked what the handyman had on the shelf.

“During the pandemic, we sold everything – we sold all the bounties because when the installer called, he didn’t care. ‘Just give me what you have to fix it,’ [they would say]’ said Wasbish.

He thinks much of the aftermarket’s inflated result can be traced to more premium products being sold due to shortages of cheaper options.

But with inflation skyrocketing and pushing the price of everything from bread to gasoline to unprecedented levels, consumers are looking everywhere they can to save money. That means pushing for more affordable replacement parts for their vehicle.

“We’re seeing almost an immediate shift from premium to value right now because of the price differential. In most cases, we personally see almost an immediate shift from premium to value right now because of the price gap,” Washbish said.

“In most cases, I personally don’t think you can get a ‘good, better, best’ [system] – you need a better one and a best one to get the job done.

Employees and stores should keep an eye on this trend towards the cheaper option. “I predict that in the coming months we will see a shift towards more of the lower cost items, the value items, because gas money has cost so much of disposable income in the United States and Canada,” said Washbish.