Can The Auto Parts Retailers Fight Amazon By Offering Lifetime Guarantees?
Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla of the retail online world. FCP Euro is a far smaller competitor that specializes in European aftermarket parts. Can a lifetime guarantee on all parts tip the balance in their favor?
Every once in a while I get a low-mileage older European car that can get finicky if I order cheap parts for it.
So what do I do? I shop on Google. Check out Amazon and Ebay, and then often times I would call FCP Euro to see if they could price match it.
I remember when FCP Euro was FCP Groton. A parts distributor that intentionally avoided selling crappy and third-rate components and instead took the high road with parts that would have been worthy back when the car was new.
You have a Porsche? You don't want to use forty-dollar brake parts on it. Not unless you want to clean your wheels every few thousand miles and revisit the brake job before the year is out.
A BMW M3? Cheap no-name parts are not going to be on your Christmas shopping list.
Even those who drive well kept European beaters often want the better stuff since they plan on having the car as long as the wheels and everything connected to them work.
The problem for a company like FCP Euro is that Amazon is becoming the one big conduit that lights up the online retail world. Quality alone doesn't sell. This is where their new lifetime replacement guarantee comes into play, and it's a bit different than others in the industry.
In the FCP Euro version, you can return any part you buy for any reason and get a brand new replacement. You pay for the part once. You pay for shipping the part back to them, and they offer a brand spanking new version of whatever you like. Sounds good on the surface. I mean after all, you can just own two filters for as long as you own your vehicle and get brakes and other wear components for as long as you own your ride. What's not to like?
Well, it may be a price and convenience issue. I took a look at ordering an oil filter for a 20 year old Volvo I just got in and... Amazon is still cheaper when you factor in the shipping. But on a high dollar product, or one you may replace multiple times because of your driving environment (brakes and suspension components), FCP Euro could have something here that may appeal to those folks who plan on becoming long-term keepers.
So, would you go off the well beaten path that is Amazon and ante up for this type of alternative? What says you?