Basic Tools Still Matter in the Modern Retail World

Joy Kopcha
Posted on February 12, 2020

Sometimes, it’s the simplest tools that make the biggest difference in a tire dealer’s business. Take for instance, voicemail.

Five years ago I was talking to a tire dealer about his social media efforts — he was ahead of the game on this front compared to plenty of other dealers. The longer we talked, the more our conversation wandered all over the place, and eventually he mentioned that he had just recently upgraded his tire store’s telephone service to include voicemail.

I won’t mention the tire dealer by name here, but I was really surprised that this progressive dealer, who was moments ago talking to me about social media marketing, Google Ad words, online tire pricing and booking service appointments online, had only recently discovered voicemail as a business tool.

Truth is, he just hadn’t thought about it.

A friend told him he thought the 50-plus-year-old tire store should get an answering machine. So he did. And it didn’t take long for it to pay off.

“It’s amazing how many calls we missed. We have three lines coming into the building. Yesterday somebody called while all the lines were busy.”

That customer left a message and later came in and spent $600.

I imagine there have been plenty more profit-making messages left on the store’s voicemail in the last five years.

I won’t claim that I remember every conversation I’ve had with a tire dealer from the last five years, but for some reason this one has stuck with me. This tire dealer, with a single store in a city of less than 30,000 people, figured his customers knew when his store was open and when it was closed. And, if they called after hours and didn’t reach someone, they’d call again in the morning. As I recall, he hadn’t ever thought about the customers who might call when all the other phone lines are busy.

I don’t need to tell you that competition is fierce, or that you, the independent tire dealer, still control the vast majority of retail tire sales in the U.S. (63% of sales, to be exact). But that’s all the more reason you don’t want to leave low-hanging fruit for someone else to grab.

So this week, take a walk through your store to look for what you might be missing.  I’m not talking about the big things, like the heavy duty tire changer or other piece of shop equipment you’ve been contemplating.

Better yet, ask a friend who’s not familiar with the ins and outs of your business to walk into your store and take a look around for you. What do they see? What do they smell? What do they hear? (This would be a great exercise for you to do with one of your friends from the local chamber of commerce who works in an entirely different field.) They just might offer a suggestion that’s hiding in plain sight.

I’d love to hear what you find. Drop your comment below, or send me an email.

Related Topics: Joy Riding, retail

Joy Kopcha Senior Editor & Digital Projects Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories

TBC Takes Sumitomo Brand to TMC

TBC Brands LLC is exhibiting at the American Trucking Association’s 2020 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition.


AutoStream Car Care Acquires 6th Location

Rick Levitan and Doug Grills have acquired a 44-year-old tire and automotive business in Baltimore, Md., to expand their network of AutoStream Car Care locations.  

Any election year brings with it a bit of uncertainty, says Bruce Besancon. "I do believe there is a little concern in the marketplace as to which way certain policies will go and what’s going to happen with tariffs (and) our relationship with China."

MTD Exclusive: What's in Store for OTR Tire Dealers in 2020?

The 65th edition of the Tire Industry Association OTR Tire Conference kicks off today. MTD recently caught up with OTR tire manufacturer representatives who participated in the panel discussion during last year’s OTR Tire Conference to get their take on what 2020 has in store.


Michelin Will Raise PLT Tire Prices

Michelin North America Inc. will increase the price of passenger and light truck tires under the Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brands.


Tire Profiles Unveils Interactive Software

Tire Profiles’ (TPI) new TraXtion software gives tire dealers the ability “to manage and act upon” data generated by the company’s TreadSpec drive-over reader.


Goodyear Unveils New Brand Campaign

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. says its new  brand campaign “underscores its more than 120-year commitment to the discovery, growth and possibility that is fueled by mobility.”

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!

We respect your data and privacy.
By clicking the submit button below, you are agreeing with Bobit Business Media’s Privacy Policy and this outlined level of consent.