American Tire Distributors (ATD) is looking to give independent tire dealers a leg up in competing against online tire retailers.
This coming spring, ATD will launch TireBuyer.com, a consumer-directed retail tire site with a difference. All transactions, said ATD, will go entirely through independent dealers.
Nearly two years in development, TireBuyer.com will give tire dealers a tool to capture a share of the growing tire e-commerce market now dominated by Tire Rack, Discount Tire and dozens of smaller tire and wheel e-tailers, said ATD.
ATD said that online sales currently account for 3 percent of the tires sold in North America, a figure that stands to double in just a few years. Consumers, driven by a desire for “convenience, control and cost” and “tired of feeling like they are getting ‘sold,’ are turning to Internet purchases,” said Ron Sinclair, ATD’s senior vice president of marketing.
ATD’s own research showed that more than half of tire buyers research their tire options online, turning to tire marketer websites and existing e-commerce sites for information before making an in-store purchase.
TireBuyer.com, said ATD, not only provides data consumer tire buyers want, it also connects live buyers with their local tire dealer.
The system is simple, ATD said. A consumer visiting TireBuyer.com can research and select the tires they want, complete with tire price. After clicking the “Buy” button, the consumer is directed to select their desired tire dealer. The consumer then pays for the purchase and sets up an appointment with the dealer. The tires are ordered via ATD’s existing ATDonline.com system and delivered to the dealer as needed for the appointment, and once the tires are installed ATD pays the dealer for the full amount of the purchase. ATD then includes the sold units on the dealer’s next ATD invoice.
While ATD will set consistent national pricing for the tires with a nominal transaction fee to help ATD offsets system costs each dealer can establish their own fees for mounting/balancing, valve stems and accessories, tire disposal and shop supplies. Pricing, said ATD, will keep dealers price competitive vs. other online sources. The dealer, said ATD, gets the entire gross product on the sale, and gets the opportunity to get the customer’s vehicle in the bay for additional service opportunities as needed. Plus, the dealer can develop a relationship with that new customer.
TireBuyer.com is available to all ATD dealers who qualify: ServiceBAY level five or higher dealers, performance wheel dealers with $25,000 or more in annual purchases, or ATD “certified performance retailers.” ATD said its goal is to have half of its estimated 5,000 dealer customers participating as TireBuyer.com retailers.
Participating dealers will earn credits on ATD’s ServiceBAY program, as well as through tire-company marketing programs in which they participate.