A father and son team launched autoaccessoriesgarage.com in 2005 – and it has doubled in size every year since.
There's an old bank building in Frankfort, Ill., that serves as the headquarters and call center for autoaccessoriesgarage.com. It's a safe bet that there's still a vault on the premises – a good thing, considering how well the auto parts e-tailer is doing.
"I love the fact that UPS technology lets you ask for everything that has happened to your packages," Kyle says. "That cannot be said about anyone else, and it's really helpful."
Auto Accessories Garage is among the fastest growing online retailers of automotive parts and accessories. The company offers most major brands of performance gear, style upgrades and interior accessories from a first-class website developed by Kyle Therriault, co-founder of Auto Accessories Garage, with his father, Steve.
The two launched Auto Accessories Garage in 2005 when Steve decided to parlay 30 years of auto accessories experience into an online store of his own. In the beginning, Steve ran the entire show from his living room and kitchen table, while Kyle handled the technology side of the business. Now the company has two locations and about 50 employees, most in a call center housed in the old stone bank building.
No storage needed
The company has no warehouses or brick-and-mortar retail locations. Instead, Auto Accessories Garage partners with 14 distributors and more than 200 manufacturers, who drop ship direct to its customers.
"The inventory requirements in the automotive industry are deeper and more complex than other industries," Kyle says. "Not only must you carry widgets in different colors, they need to fit a 2014 Ford 150 and maybe a 2010 Audi A4."
Eliminating inventory hassles and expense is good for the company's profit margins but can generate a whole different set of challenges, Kyle says. "That's where working with UPS has been of great value to us. Using the UPS Developer Kit application program interfaces (APIs) at any given time we are able to see where all those packages are. We know if they are in transit, delivered or being prepared for shipment – and can communicate that to our customers."
Technology has made a big difference, especially now that shipments have grown to about 7,000 per month with UPS. "What used to be done manually is handled electronically now. We can ping UPS hourly with Quantum View® Data and the UPS Tracking API and see exactly where everything is."
Transparency boosts customer service as well. "It helps us communicate with customers and make sure they have a great experience," Kyle says. "That's one of the ways we can still set our company apart – you can't call someone at Amazon and ask about an automotive part."
"I love the fact that UPS technology lets you ask for everything that has happened to your packages," Kyle says. "That cannot be said about anyone else, and it's really helpful. Because UPS gives us an exact time stamp on an order, by part number, we can predict exactly when an order will ship. That takes our customer service to a whole new level."