Artificial intelligence (AI) has come to the tire industry by way of Sears Auto Centers. With the pilot launch of the retail chain's "Digital Tire Journey" Web app, consumers can identify the appropriate tires to fit their driving preferences.
The app relies on IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier service, which is designed to understand the intent behind text and return a corresponding classification, complete with a confidence score. There are six driving preference classifications:
* Comfort Warrior,
* Value Seeker,
* High Performer,
* Safety Seeker and
* Winter Warrior.
The Sears Auto Digital Tire Journey was created to provide tire recommendations based on the driver style through a customer's response to the question, "When it comes to tires, what's most important to you?" A soccer dad may answer, "I am concerned about driving my kids safely," so tires that have higher safety ratings are presented.
After the user types in an answer, the Digital Tire Journey shows what type of driving style they have. The user then types in either his or her license plate or make/model of the vehicle, and the tool recommends tires with consumer ratings to assist drivers in making an informed purchasing decision.
"The Digital Tire Journey is an innovative service that helps customers cut through the clutter while integrating digital, mobile and online with in-store shopping," says Brian Kaner, president of Sears Auto Centers.
Users have several purchase options: 1) buy the tires online, 2) schedule an appointment for installation at the nearest Sears Auto Center or 3) reach a call center agent to ask additional questions and purchase the tires by phone.
Sears Auto Center is a division of Sears, Roebuck and Co., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp. There are more than 600 Sears Auto Centers nationwide offering a full array of passenger and light truck tires, including RoadHandler, DieHard, Michelin and Goodyear.