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Interview with JP from JP's Tuning Shop

Hi JP, thank you for agreeing to an interview with GazZup. You are one of our first and most loyal advertisers, and now we are working on your shop project together. Over this long cooperation there is a lot to ask, say and write about.

Before we start the interview please, briefly introduce yourself.
Name: JP Bartel, nickname: JP
Age: Should I say it? I am 45 years young.
Place of residence: Kapelle
Company name: JP's Tuning Shop
Established: in 2001
Current car: Ford Focus Wagon (daily); Fully customized Toyota MR2 SW20 & VW Golf 1 Cabrio (for fun).
Favorite car: Nissan GT-R
Number of accidents of your life: 1
Maximum driving speed: Over 280 Km / h in a Ferrari F40: over 280k m / h in a Ferrari F40
Hobbies: Well ... guess what? Lego.

Let's start with JP’s Tuning Shop. Please tell us about it. How did you come up with the idea to create a tuning shop? Were you planning to sell products online from the beginning or did you want to create a physical store first?
It started with me ordering parts for my MR2 which I received from all corners of the world. For special products I got many questions and requests to deliver the same stuff. One thing led to another. In the first few years I dealt only with the parts for MR2s. Later I started adding other Toyota models such as the Supra and the Celica, and after some time other Japanese cars. That’s how the shop was born. We started with the name Japtuningshop, since we sold Japanese car parts only. Later on, due to the increasing demand for stuff of other brands we changed the company name to JP's Tuning Shop.

From the day one we didn’t just deliver but we also did assembling (mainly of MR2s). In 2008 we opened a physical store and a garage. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of the crisis and the sales didn’t go well. "Budget repair" and "low-cost maintenance" were then in great demand, and those are the things we don’t believe in. If we cannot deliver quality, we’d rather deliver nothing at all. The garage worked until 2012, and when I got completely tired of it I decided to continue working exclusively online.

Now you have been working in this sphere for quite many years. Have you noticed any change in customers’ interests over the years, or do most people tend to go back to the same product?
At the time of the Fast & Furious movies the body kits were in high demand. Everyone wanted their cars to look like in the movies. In recent years the body kit market has been suffering hard times. What’s popular now is mostly motorsport components such as seats, steering, seatbelts, etc. Many people have a trackday car where they visit different race circuits, and, some of them even participate in competition racing. For these kinds of cars we supply everything from brake upgrades to roll bars, car gauges to intakes and fire extinguishers, but also many racing clothes, shoes, helmets and overalls. We also do a lot in the "high-end" tuning, such as exhaust systems, chassis, high end brake systems and chip tuning. If you are looking for "Walmart tuning", that doesn’t really have anything to do with us. We deliver only quality!

What are your most frequently sold products, if it is not a secret?
We are selling quite a lot of remklauwlak sets (brake caliper paint sets) and car gauges. In 2015, we sold the most remklauwlak sets in the Netherlands.

Do you yourself use the products from your own store, or you secretly run to the competitors?
I use only products from our range. If I come across something that I want and is not available in our shop, I make sure we include this in our range ASAP.

Why have you chosen in favor of tuning and not automotive parts in general?
Because you should always compete against automotive competitors when it comes to price - there is always someone who wants to sell it cheaper, while we want to compete with value and knowledge. If you cannot make a profit, you cannot provide service. In that case, I prefer to deliver nothing.

What feelings does tuning evoke in you?
For me tuning is something unique that creates the feeling of freedom.

All little boys love cars, but for some reason they lose interest in cars as soon as they get married. What do you do as a retailer to retain those guys’ interest?
A passion for cars and tuning can be combined with family life. You can easily upgrade your family car by adding beautiful accessories, but it must be quality then. You don’t necessarily have to hang a big body kit on a car. There are a lot of "young old" guys who want to leave their car as it is but just make it look different from their neighbor’s. For such people we will deliver a nice set of rims under the BMW 3 Series Touring or a performance exhaust system for the VW Tiguan.

How did you come in contact with GazZup and TuneZup?
I wanted to sell my MR2, and for this I was looking for a good marketplace. GazZup and TuneZup are right in the middle of my target audience, which is why I put my car for sale on there. Later I became an advertiser.

What are the benefits for you to advertise on GazZup, and in the past on TuneZup?
Products that are advertised are intended directly for a target audience. You cannot advertise more effectively.

GazZup is currently working on a completely new project with you - an automotive shop exclusively focused on the sale of parts and accessories for automobiles. Why did you decide to embark on this adventure?
Our current shop is at the limit of its abilities. We want to offer a full range of products to our customers, which we cannot do with the current site. For more than two years we had been looking for someone who understands what we want, has that feeling of the industry and who knows the products. 99% of all shop builders are "computer geeks" who have no feeling for the user of the shop. You can often see a lot of ugly shops built completely illogically and absolutely not customer oriented. We wanted something completely different. We wanted to create a shop where customers could easily find what they were looking for and where they would feel at home, a place where the customer would feel like shopping around and talking to other petrolheads. After some extensive discussions with Leander (CTO of GazZup), I had a strong feeling I found someone who understands what we want exactly. He gave answers to questions I had not even raised, and since the answers were correct I easily made my choice.

Your new website will be delivered soon. What are your main expectations from it?
I expect to have a shop where our visitors and customers can quickly find what they are looking for, no matter if they shop on their computer, tablet or smartphone.

The world of the Internet is fast, what coming changes do you see in the online automotive sales field?
I see more and more shifting to larger companies. Small importers will be taken over as they don’t have enough knowledge and are unable to provide customers with full service. I think today there are only a few large shops that are purely specialized in the sale of automotive products, where customers can find everything they are looking for, from alloys to exhaust, from lighting to navigation. Such a wide range requires a lot of knowledge. There are no cars that are the same, they all work differently, and you can only provide additions or changes if you have sufficient knowledge of the matter. There are several cars where you cannot use any other wheels except for their own. So, as a shop you have to do everything to prevent customers from making mistakes.

If you hadn’t decided to work in the automotive industry, what would you have chosen instead?
I think it would have been the interior design sector. As a hobby I still sometimes design kitchens and bathrooms and I also give advice on interior design. I really enjoy doing this. We’ve just moved and I designed and installed the kitchen in our new home.

Finally: Which product should people buy at your store this month because it’s on sale now or never?
Especially for the GazZup & TuneZuppers we have a hell lot of a discounts on all classic lines of car gauges. Just use the promo code "GazZup" or "TuneZup" at checkout and get 15% off our already low prices.

Thank you for the interview, JP. Is there anything else you want to say to all the ladies and gentlemen of GazZup?
Yes, keep up the good work & stay tuned!
March 24, 2017
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