Jeremy Lewin, marketing director for American Car Care Centers (ACCC), is not prone to hyperbole. So when he says that Tire Touch is unique in the tire industry, he means it.
Lewin introduced the Tire Touch prototype to attendees at the 2009 ACCC Dealer Meeting in Cancun, Mexico. It is an in-store marketing kiosk with a touch screen interface that serves in-house customers.
Tire Touch also has a "dealer portal" function that allows dealers to interface with the machine. Over time, it also will interface with Web customers.
The unit shows customers what an ACCC dealership has to offer, from tire and warranty information to plus-size recommendations to current -- and highly personalized -- in-store specials. They will even be able to apply for an ACCC credit card on the spot.
"Certain consumers like to be their own expert," says Lewin. Tire Touch allows them to do their own research "in an environment that makes sense."
When not in use, Tire Touch also can be programmed to loop advertising or promotional videos.
Lewin estimates Tire Touch can be ready in three months. Its functionality already has been developed, and "we have the vehicle customization software" that allows customers to see what their vehicle looks like with different tires and wheels. If they so choose, customers can upload a photo of their own vehicle.
The cost to the dealer has yet to be determined. If purchased as a unit, Tire Touch will cost between $1,500 and $2,500, says Lewin.
In the future, Tire Touch will interface with on-line shoppers as well. They will be able to save their research on-line and pick it up at the dealership, much like buying movie tickets through Fandango. A swipe of a credit card will bring up the data. Eventually, they also will be able to pay on-line, adds Lewin.