MTD Exclusive: SimpleTire Invests in New Site, Operations
Online tire seller SimpleTire LLC is making major investments in its operation - starting with a revamped website that recently went live, according to SimpleTire CEO Andy Chalofsky.
The redesigned site is focused on “making the journey for the customer easier and making it so that buying tires - for the everyday person, not just the experts - is not only achievable, but also a simple, easy experience,” Chalofsky recently told MTD.
“We’ve created a ‘search type-ahead’ tool, which allows customers to search any way they find comfortable. Think of it as a Google search engine on our site.
“Another area is personalization. We know that customers value a total assortment” of tires and brands “and also flexibility. We want to make sure customers know we have everything, but they can also get the tire they want. Things like ‘top picks’ and ‘OE on vehicles’ and ‘popular in your area’ are some of the beginning elements of the personalization we’ve done to the site.”
SimpleTire also now gives tire buyers the ability to pre-pay for installation. The company collects buyers' money online “and then we remit it directly to the installer,” says Chalofsky. “It creates a smoother transaction for both parties. I would say that the installers who have gone through the process have come back and said it did yield a better customer experience and that customers were happier.”
The company also is making investments in its personnel “and that spans all areas. We’ve hired supply chain, marketing, finance, analytics and programming (people.) There isn’t an area of our business we haven’t made an investment in - focusing on how we can really great people and bringing them onto the team so we can grow our business.
“The other big thing for us is that we are continuing to work with a lot of small businesses, particularly independent tire dealerships,” and enrolling them as installers.
Chalofsky says COVID-19 has accelerated customer acceptance - and use - of e-commerce platforms across all industries.
“And that has been no different in the tire and auto service categories. We’ve certainly seen growth. In the tire landscape, (dealers) are the guys who were hit hardest,” he explains.
“Independent dealers are seeing this as an opportunity to drive customers in the door, rather than something that is there to disrupt their business. Unless you think that online is going away - which I think we can agree that it’s not - this is an opportunity. We are seeing more businesses come around to that mindset.”
When discussing whether or not COVID-19 has impacted SimpleTire’s sales mix, Chalofsky says that although he “can’t paint it with a broad brush, certainly right after COVID-19 (hit), we did see customers being a lot more conservative with their dollars. People were unsure of what the future was going to look like.
“As we’ve normalized a little bit - and certainly with our new site - we’re still seeing that customers are finding a lot of value in tier-one and tier-two. But I wouldn’t say that there’s been one shift and that was the end of it. Where we are throughout this pandemic has had a lot of impact on where customer confidence is and where they are spending.
“I think that this is a really unique time,” says Chalofksy. “And I think the thing you’ll see the most out of us is an increased focus on relationships with our partners,” including tire dealers and other installers.
“We’ve had a lot of great partners and businesses reach out and I would expect more of that in 2021.”