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The next chapter in tire manufacturer websites — and what it means for you

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The next chapter in tire manufacturer websites — and what it means for you

Fast-forward a few short years. Tire manufacturer websites now dominate the online retail space and provide their dealer network with half of their online tire sales.

Sound far-fetched?

Online shopping behavior continues to evolve. Consumers who include the tire manufacturer in their shopping process have grown 15% per year the past two years, according to RetailWire LLC, an online discussion forum that covers issues affecting the retailing industry.

Compete Inc., another digital intelligence gathering company, reports monthly visits to tire manufacturer websites now exceed 3 million. As tire manufacturers spend millions on online marketing initiatives, where do they send the consumer for their brand experience? Where do they send their consumer for more information?

There is only one place, the company website.

Creating a path to your door?

So what is the next chapter for tire manufacturer websites? The research is very clear. There is a large segment of online consumers who want more than just a branding experience; they want to complete their task. They want to shop, do their research, choose a dealer, generate complete price quotes, make their purchase decision and arrange for installation — all on the site they are visiting.

These consumers are not interested in actually paying online, but prefer to pay at the time of installation. That is what it takes today to meet consumer expectations online.

Beyond providing what the online consumer wants, which is a pretty good reason in itself, there are additional business reasons for the manufacturers to include a shopping platform within their current website programs. Just to name a few:

• Improved sales and marketing efficiency when the focus is on their websites. The savings/improvements will be substantial.

• Improved exposure to their branding messages. Traffic goes up when a consumer can complete their task.

• Product reviews to improve products and share with the dealer network.

• Encourage consumers to make that critical purchase decision on their site so they stop shopping.

• Limit exposure to other brands.

• A solution to the MSRP problem.

• Help dealers with pricing options. There are too many products and too many sizes for a dealer to effectively manage these days.

The key to this next chapter lies in new Web technology, software that can provide an interface for the dealer so they can manage their own program within the manufacturer’s website.

Then we will be on to the next chapter where your tire manufacturers will provide you their branding content, videos, consumer review content to integrate into your own website.    ■

Mike Bruce is president of VTS Solutions Software/Consulting for the online tire shopping segment. He can be reached via email at mike@vtssolutions.net or at (480) 529-5015.

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