Back on May 18, 2011, Modern Tire Dealer posted this breaking news article, Walmart finds another way to take your customers away. In this article, Modern Tire Dealer noted that, “By June, the world’s largest retailer is expected to have a new program in place nationwide that will allow online tire buyers to pick up their tires within hours of their purchase.”
Modern Tire Dealer’s Editor, Bob Ulrich, discussed the subject further in his blog post: Walmart: always playing catch-up, but always trying, to further discuss what this means to independent tire dealers nationwide. “Walmart already offers a “Site to Store” program, which offers free shipping on tire purchases. ‘Orders typically take 1-2 days to process and usually arrive at the store 7-10 business days later,’ says [Andrea] Woroch.” Wal-Mart’s “Pick Up Today” tire program “…will make tires available faster than that.”
There are slight advantages for independent tire dealers over big corporations like Wal-Mart or Sears. Independent tire dealers generally carry at least 11 different brands of tires in their stores versus the five tire brands that Wal-Mart will carry: BFGoodrich, Continental, General, Goodyear and Michelin.
Independent tire dealers also have the advantage where long lasting, personal relationships with loyal customers and a history of being part of the community are concerned. But these advantages may not be enough, when it seems that consumers are driven by convenience of online shopping and its perceived value.
What Can Independent Tire Dealers Do to Compete with Corporations?
Walmart and Sears both have big marketing and advertising budgets. But there is one arena where independent tire dealers have a chance to compete with big corporations: Online. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing do offer ways for an advertiser to pay for the highest spots in their Pay-Per-Click ad space. However, if you want to take up a spot in the natural/organic rankings, you need:
1) A basic website or Google Places Page
2) A Keyword Optimized, Ecommerce enabled website with a tire finder for convenient online shopping & ordering
3) SEO services & online marketing support you can trust from a tire industry expert
A Basic Website or Google Places Page
If you do not have a web presence of any kind, you cannot begin to compete in the online space for a share of your local customers.
A basic website, without a shopping cart or ecommerce ability, cannot help you transact online sales. However a basic, informational website can direct online searchers to your physical location. A Google Places Page is a free local marketing tool that can at least let potential customers know that your company exists and where you are located. If an independent tire dealer wants to begin to create awareness online, these are two of the most basic ways to do so.
A Keyword Optimized, Ecommerce Enabled Website with a Tire Finder
As you can see from the Modern Tire Dealer Breaking News and Blog items, tire sales transactions are happening online.
In an online tire buying article by Edmunds.com from June of 2010, Edmunds.com describes the benefits of shopping for tires online, “…thanks to easy-to-navigate Web sites, consumers can provide their car’s year, make and model and quickly be shown a wide selection of tires that fit their vehicle.
The choices are easily sorted based on the driving requirements, prices or other factors. The tires are then “drop-shipped” to a local tire store for installation at an additional cost. Consumers we have talked with have been amazed at how smoothly the online tire-buying process works. In fact, one shopper called it, ‘One of my best online-shopping experiences.’ Another tire buyer stated, in less than 5 minutes of searching online, I was able to order the tires I needed.
In the Edmunds.com article, consumers additional advantages such as prices are often lower online and the excellent selection of hard-to-find specialty tires and wheels online were noted as well. Wal-Mart is not going to be offering more than five brands of tires. An independent tire dealer who has a website with access to an online inventory wins the battle of product selection against a big company like Wal-Mart quite easily online.
TCS has been in the tire and wheel business for over sixteen years. We have the background on your business, your customers and your industry. Based on our tire industry experience, TCS developed the TCS ePower product that allows independent tire dealers to have a website with real time inventory and pricing, one-stop order management and tools to analyze customer trends. TCS provides exactly the type of website that an independent tire dealer wants and the type of website that customers want to shop.
If you are an independent tire dealer who is ready to explore the possibilities of selling tires online, contact TCS today.
Digital Marketing Support and Guidance to Grow Your Website’s Online Presence
TCS understands that there is more to online success than having a website. You can have the greatest prices and the most amazing website, but if you’re not marketing your website, you will miss out on website traffic and sales.
Many independent tire dealers with websites are aware that there are thousands of companies who will sell you Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services and other online services. Unrealistic promises such as, “We’ll make you #1 on Google!” for wide range of fees or the lack of transparency as to what they can do to help you market your site online is very common. As per Google Webmaster Central: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google” and “Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do”. Read more about Google.com’s Webmaster Central SEO service guidelines to learn what a quality SEO service provider can provide.
TCS has a team of experienced online professionals who understand the different aspects of digital marketing. Online marketing done right can identify online opportunities and set up strategic services that will help independent tire dealers to compete with corporations such as Wal-Mart, Costco or Sears. If you haven’t contacted TCS in regard to SEO services yet, now is the time to do so. With SEO and online marketing, time is of the essence.
Big corporations are not going to stop finding ways to take as much of the tire market dollars as they can. TCS encourages independent tire dealers to watch the trends of online tire sales and to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them.