Magazine Article | December 17, 2013

Voice: Critical To Omni-Channel At Advance Auto Parts

Matt Pillar

By Matt Pillar, senior executive editor, Innovative Retail Technologies

January 2014 Integrated Solutions For Retailers

Long live telephone sales, especially when $2.4 billion in sales are riding on them. At Advance Auto Parts, MPLS over high-speed DSL ensures every call reaches a destination.

For 4,000-store $6 billion Advance Auto Parts, every call matters. Some 40 percent of its total sales are to commercial auto repair centers, and nearly all of those sales begin with a phone call. Patrick O’Leary, director of telecom and midrange computing there, puts it bluntly. “If the phones aren’t ringing, we’re not making money,” he says.

Phones are, indeed, more integral to the omni-channel experience than ever. At Advance Auto Parts, where it’s not uncommon for commercial customers to require parts delivery in a matter of minutes, timely response to phone calls is critical to the omni-channel customer experience. That’s why it wracked more than a few nerves at Advance Auto Parts when, a little more than two years ago, O’Leary and his staff decided to migrate the retailer from a disparate DMVPN (dynamic multi-point virtual private network) and POTS (plain-old telephone service) network to MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) over highspeed DSL.