Tire Registration Mobile App
By the time the debate over mandatory versus voluntary tire registration returns, tire dealers will have access to one more tool to make it a simpler process. Tire Force Solutions Ltd. is ready to reveal TireDOTRegistry, a mobile app that works with any existing point-of-sale (POS) software to help dealers electronically harvest U.S. Department of Transportation data from tires sold and combine it with vehicle and consumer information.
Craig Howes, CEO and president of Tire Force Solutions, says the standalone app, which will debut at the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, was created first as a feature to be added to the company’s POS software. It was modeled after a similar feature that handles tire rebates and warranties.
Howes and Adrian Rudzikas, director of information technology and solutions, were working on the tire registration technology just as the Tire Industry Association and Rubber Manufacturers Association lit another round of fireworks in their decades-long debate over the issue.
“We didn’t realize what we had. This is a much bigger issue, especially for dealers who don’t have a technology department and needed a go-to for technical help,” Howes says. “We knew it needed to be incredibly easy to use. And we don’t want to slow (technicians) down in the bays.”
At the SEMA Show the industry will get a look at the app for Apple products. It’s also available as a Web-based system. Dealers pay either a $15 monthly fee or $150 for an entire year for each store. The system allows unlimited users per store. So while technicians technically could install the app on their own devices and use it, Howes expects it’s much more likely that a shop will invest in one or two iPods, have everyone use the same hardware and create individual user names.
Dealers can use the app in a way that best suits their shop’s workflow, Howes says. Some might launch the app and manually enter the information from the tire or scan it while the car is still in the shop. Others might take photos of the tires in the service bay, but then have someone at the front desk input the information with other data from the customer’s sales ticket. All of the app’s data can be integrated into the dealer’s existing point-of-sale software.
Howes says the company is working on an image capture option, where the app will extract the U.S. Department of Transportation data from the tire’s sidewall and plug it into the appropriate fields on the form. “I’m not sure that we’ll have that done by SEMA,” Howes says.
Another feature that is ready to roll is a recall notification system that alerts consumers, as well as dealers, when a recall takes place. And rather than just send a message to the consumer, Howes says there’s a message to connect that consumer with the dealer to get whatever. “We think it should connect the two and round off the service to make sure the dealer gets the best opportunity, which naturally should generate some additional revenue.” ■
With tire registration, paper is still popular
CIMS Inc. has been focusing on tire registration for more than 40 years, and even with multiple electronic upgrades over the years and the introduction of a mobile app two years ago, Jeff Coffman, vice president of sales and marketing, says about half of the company’s 15,000 dealer outlets prefer paper registration forms.
And it’s not just single store owners choosing pen and paper. “There are some mass merchandisers that choose to do it that way,” Coffman says. “There are larger dealerships doing it electronically and some of the largest in the country are still using the form.”
Coffman says the latest round of back-and-forth between the Rubber Manufacturers Association and Tire Industry Association has been beneficial in one regard. It’s made more dealers aware of the requirement to register tires. Angela Trayer, vice president of operations, says “There are some dealers who perceive this as brand new legislation.”
The key is to meet dealers at their comfort level. For some, the paper registration form works best, and is the most cost efficient way to register tires. For others, entering the data from an app and merging it with the shop’s point-of-sale software is essential.
“Every dealer has a different scenario,” Coffman says. And Trayer adds, “We accommodate.”