Online Tire Buyers Seen as Savvy Buyers or ‘Bottom Feeders’

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Online Tire Buyers Seen as Savvy Buyers or ‘Bottom Feeders’

Each month we ask members of our National Advisory Council (NAC) a question or questions on a current hot topic. Recently we asked, "Do you sell tires to consumers online via your website? If so, how successful is this for you? If you don't now, do you see your company selling tires online in the future? Do you feel more tire manufacturers will go this route -- following the lead of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Michelin North America Inc.? And are you signed up to be an installer for these companies when they sell tires to someone online?" Here are some of their responses.

1. Customers are able to source tires online from our website. More and more customers expect a seamless experience online -- a turnkey purchasing decision is the expectation. If you come up short, you're behind and are going to miss sales. Eventually all manufacturers will have to have some point-of-sale that is both mobile and digital. We are signed up as a preferred installer for several of the larger, more successful online retailers. We've also partnered with one of the "Big 3" tire makers to install their online purchases. These opportunities create service sales. When you get the car in and get it on the rack -- after doing your due diligence -- invariably, these additional sales opportunities create added revenue.

2. As a wholesale distributor we sell via online site to our dealer customers. I believe more manufacturers will follow Goodyear and Michelin's lead and go online. Furthermore, I believe we'll see more and more online tire sales competition fill this space. This trend is occurring in virtually every industry. While it won't replace brick and mortar dealers, it adds that element of competition and requires dealers to work that much harder for the sale and sell your competitive advantages to savvy internet shopper/buyer.

3. We sell tires online through our website. I feel all tire manufacturers will all sell tires online as it is the wave of the future. We are signed up for the installer programs. The vast majority of these customers so far have been bottom feeders. The majority don’t want an alignment or any other services. The tire manufacturers tell us it attracts new customers. What a joke! Goodyear had its Black Friday Sale last year which gave the consumers free tire installation. We could not compete with our supplier. This has strained our relationship with Goodyear! Our dealership has changed our focus away from Goodyear after our 25-year relationship.

4. Wholesale accounts can purchase tires on our website. Retail can look and call. We will probably offer tires on the web to retail customers at some point. I feel more manufacturers will sell on the web. We are signed up to be an installer for several online companies, but have had very few installations. Our location usually has a better overall price for the customer than the company website, but the younger population often will buy on the web no matter what

5. Yes, we do sell tires online, but it is too early to tell the effect it’s had on our business.

What’s on your mind?

We also asked council members what was on their mind. Here are some responses.

With the potential tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration, optimism is solid in the marketplace. Dealer and consumer confidence is driving some nice business/tire units. Bring on the warm weather!

Jon Shields, Field Sales and Training, Carroll Tire Co., Atlanta, Ga.

The soft winter has hurt our shop. We can’t wait for a hot summer!

Jerry Reygaert, Owner, Reys Auto & Tire, Shelby Township, Mich.

Why were Chinese tariffs removed from truck tires?

Bill Ziegler, President, Ziegler Tire & Supply Co., Massillon, Ohio

MTD’s Senior Editor and Digital Projects Editor Joy Kopcha keeps her finger on the pulse of this topic. For those wanting clarification on the recent tariff decision, check out “Supply and demand: Why there are no tariffs on truck tires from China” on this website. The very latest in tariff information, and archived news items, are all easily accessed on our homepage under the “Tariffs” button. –Ed.

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