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Women Buy Tires, Too -- They Have the Numbers, the Influence and the Shopping Skills

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Women Buy Tires, Too -- They Have the Numbers, the Influence and the Shopping Skills

Over the last few years, I’ve subscribed to a variety of blogs and company emails that provide a lot of marketing research on a weekly basis. The hot topic these days is the millennial generation. It’s interesting that much of the current research indicates that the millennial’s buying habits and preferences are migrating to mirror that of the Baby Boomers.

The millennials represent a huge subset of the buying population, but if you really want to talk about numbers and influence, you have to talk about women. Representing slightly over half the population, they hold a great deal of influence over household budgets and buying decisions. Women number over 158 million in the United States with the best shopping skills of any subset. Let me make this point really clear: Women have the numbers, the influence and the shopping skills. They represent the trifecta target audience; get it right and in the right order, and you’re a big winner.

Studies I have recently read indicate women take a different approach to researching and shopping for tires and automotive services than their male counterparts. Women bring their own set of priorities to the purchase process. They are more willing to spend more time in the decision making process, they will put more time and energy into research, and they will ask more questions, if necessary. Studies also show that women callers/shoppers need sufficient information and dislike short or hurried answers. These short answers make a woman feel unimportant, and feelings play a big part in a woman’s ultimate buying decision.

I don’t recommend that you lump all women into the same category, but as a general rule, women are looking for safety, followed by the “3-bilities” (reliability, durability, and affordability). These three categories answer the following important questions:

    • Are you recommending a reliable product and why?
    • Is it durable and going to last?
    • And, finally, are you selling it to me at the right price?

How women feel matters

If you can answer these three basic questions in a fashion that appeals to a woman, then you are going to attract more business from this very important segment; however, you must answer the questions with respect and dignity.

Women tend to be more innately in-tune to the nuances of interpersonal exchanges and, therefore, more in-tune to genuine concern. In other words, women can spot fake fast. It’s been my personal experience that women detest being patronized, to be treated in a condescending manner. When this happens, it is game over.

When dealing with women during a sales transaction, it’s important to be transparent, open and honest; leave it all on the table. Women can tell when you’re holding back something, and that bit of doubt is what I call the “cause to pause.” When a woman pauses, it can be difficult to continue if doubts or issues are left unaddressed.

You have to trust that a woman can make a good decision about tires and service when presented with good information. Avoid the temptation to over-guide or control the discussion. Women don’t typically like to be controlled.

A few more facts and figures to consider:

  • The sooner you share important information up front, the sooner you will begin to build and earn trust. This trust will certainly increase the likelihood of a satisfactory sale.
  • Women rely heavily on online research. They see it as a safe place to start the shopping process, and it’s where they gain enough information about what to buy and where to buy it. Research shows that over 70% of women rely on websites and consider them valuable to the research/shopping process.
  • More good news for the independent tire dealer, women actually prefer interaction with a sales person when making the final purchase decision.

Let’s recap: Women who buy or influence tire purchases are a huge category of consumers, perhaps our most important category; women represent the most skilled shoppers; and women are looking for the “3-bilities” (reliability, dependability, and affordability).

It will benefit your business to manage the end-to-end process with an eye on the female consumer.     ■

Wayne Williams is president of ExSell Marketing Inc., a “counter intelligence” firm based in La Habra, Calif. He can be reached at

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