COMMERCE, Calif.—AKH Co. Inc. is testing a pricing policy at its Evans Tire & Service Centers that it hopes will foster trust with customers and ultimately build sales. Wayne Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for AKH, said its Evans Tire locations in the San Diego area are offering a "simple add-on" price program. Evans includes fees for valve stems and tire disposal in the price of the tire—then advertises extra costs only for wheel balancing and warranty.
"It's more palatable to customers and easy to present, easy to understand, and it builds trust," he added.
The simplified pricing system was the result of customer surveys AKH conducts monthly. The dealership will continue to offer the program at the Evans locations for an undetermined length of time, he said.
During the first quarter, AKH also pursued an aggressive price comparison campaign in Evans Tire's Southern California market. Evans Tire ads compared the total price, including add-ons, of a 60,000-mile 225/60R16 tire at Evans vs. the prices from three competitors.
The three-month campaign resulted in "a modest increase in unit sales," Mr. Williams said, "and the reception among customers was positive."
He would not reveal the identity of the three other tire store chains used for comparison other than to say they were "all big ones."
Pricing at other dealerships was gleaned from purchases made by "mystery shoppers" from an independent company, he said, as well as by AKH employees.