More Dealers Go Digital with In-Store Displays

Oct. 20, 2021

Consumers are spending more time than ever glued to digital screens. And that’s good news for tire dealers who are moving to less traditional showroom displays. 

Neil Dixon, president of Reese’s Tire & Automotive Tire Pros, a single-store dealership in Cottonwood, Ariz., is one of them.

Neil and his son, Brad, are in the process of going “all-digital.” They have installed nearly a dozen, 42-inch digital screens inside their 480-square-foot showroom.

“We have screens at three kiosks,” says Neil. “We have one screen behind our sales counter, which shows the services we offer. We have one in our waiting area. One screen displays our community stuff - all the school sports and little league sponsorships.”

Another screen loops content from tire suppliers. “And the rest show information about tires, wheels, lift kits and other accessories.”

While COVID-19 has accelerated tire dealerships’ use of digital screens, the Dixons brought in their screens months before the pandemic started.

“It had been a plan of ours for a while and then our representative from Tire Pros talked us into (speaking with) some other stores that had screens,” says Brad, the dealership’s operations manager. “We looked at them and came up with our own ideas.”

The cash outlay was nominal - less than $2,000 for 11 screens. 

“It was no more of an investment than” what it would cost to display “a couple sets of tires,” notes Brad.

The Dixons like the screens’ ease-of-use. “There’s not much we have to do other than changing out the information on them and that’s fairly easy,” says Neil. “We use USB sticks that plug right into the TVs. Getting material from vendors is easy.”

Sometimes vendors ask the father-and-son team to promote sales or specials on the screens, “but it’s usually our decision” as to what to push.

“The biggest thing is promoting the products and brands that we sell and using the screens to explain features and benefits. 

“They also provide an interactive experience,” which, Neil says, appeals to younger customers “who are used to looking at screens all day long.”

Some of the dealership’s customers still want to see and touch actual tires, he adds. (Reese’s Tire was founded by Neil’s father, Reese Dixon, in 1969.)

“If one of our screens is running Michelin content, for example, we’ll have one of our more popular Michelin tires hanging on the wall, right under the TV.”

Screen test

Polo’s Point S Tire & Auto Service in San Antonio, Texas, uses a more even mix of digital screens and traditional tire displays.

“We still have plenty of tires on display” for customers who want to inspect the products they are buying, says Polo Rodriguez, the dealership’s president.

“They want to see the tire and feel the tire and study its sidewall - things you might not get (as easily) from a digital display.”

However, Rodriguez says digital screens offer several advantages. “We can cover every inch of our store with information. A screen gives you that ability.”

And keeping screens spiffy-looking “takes less time than dusting 20 tires a day,” he notes.

Digital screens also help Rodriguez free up valuable wall space that otherwise would be covered by posters.

Digital content is supplied by Point S and automatically updates “every few weeks, depending on promotions we’re running or something we want to highlight,” he says.

The dealership also uses content provided by Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.’s Falken TV program, which “is very cool. It shows extreme racing and off-road racing - all kinds of driving.”

And he drops in content from AutoNet TV, when appropriate. “We’ll switch out AutoNet TV with Falken TV once in a while, just to mix it up.”

Will Polo’s Point S Tire & Auto Service completely phase out tire stands and displays? “There will always be a need to pull a tire and show someone exactly what it looks like,” says Rodriguez. 

But he expects more customers to embrace digital screens over time.

About the Author

Mike Manges | Editor

Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s editor. A 25-year tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward. Before rejoining MTD in September 2019, he held corporate communications positions at two Fortune 500 companies and served as MTD’s senior editor from 2000 to 2010.