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It’s ‘All About the Consumer,’ Goodyear Says

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It’s ‘All About the Consumer,’ Goodyear Says

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s decision to sell tires online was “all about the consumer,” says Mike Dauberman, senior director of marketing and interactive, during a recent press conference at the company's headquarters in Akron, Ohio.

Consumers have come to expect that they can buy tires online, and Goodyear is giving them what they want. “Convenience is key,” says Dauberman. “Not everyone is buying online, but the consumer base is growing.”

Following five years of research, the company began testing the program in 2012. It formally launched at its dealer meeting last January. The company now has 4,000 installers signed up to participate, which includes the company’s 600 company-owned locations. The program went national in September.

Currently, 83% of consumers research tires online prior to purchase, Dauberman reports. This is an increase from 55% in 2010 and 74% in 2012. People are looking for features and benefits and reviews.

The company also found that consumers don’t want to drive more than a few miles to get the tires installed. Goodyear's website offers consumers a list of participating tire installers within their area, listed by proximity to the buyer.

From day one the company took into consideration the role its dealers would play in the interaction, says Dauberman.

Bill Friel, Goodyear’s general manager, consumer dealer retail, notes the program works like this:

  1. The consumer buys tires online via credit card and chooses an installer.
  2. That dealer's warehouse/distributor sends the dealer the tires within 48 hours.
  3. The dealer installs the tires and submits a delivery receipt.
  4. Goodyear credits the dealer for the tires and provides a commission.

Dunlop and Kelly brand tires are offered if there is not a Goodyear tire that will fit the consumer’s vehicle. Thus far, there has not been a problem with the consumer choosing an improper tire.

The online sales program is based on the company’s national/government account platform, which its dealers are familiar with, says Friel. He says its dealers are satisfied with the program thus far.

Company research has found that 70% of consumers buying online are new customers for the tire installers. Some 55% purchased additional services and the average service bill totaled $290.

Dauberman says the company looks for online tire buying to continually grow, albeit at a slow rate. Online sales represented just 6% of the market in 2014, up from 5.1% in 2013 and 4.4% in 2012.

See also:

Gooyear tells dealers it will sell tires online

Bob Ulrich’s editorial “Competing against your supplier”

Goodyear says online selling meets or exceeds expections so far

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