CINCINNATI—Tire Discounters Inc. has opened its prototype “store of the future” in suburban Cincinnati and launched a fleet services program aimed at providing companies that operate car and/or light truck fleets in its coverage area with improved billing and invoicing and other perks. The initiatives tie into the dealership's aggressive growth plans for the next several years, including a dozen new locations this year and next. The new store, in Colerain Township in northwestern metro Cincinnati, is an open-plan design that Cincinnati-based Tire Discounters describes as a “clean, contemporary environment customers enjoy spending time in” that is a “radical departure from the image many have of a typical tire store.” The innovative store design, the work of Cincinnati architecture firm PDT Architects L.L.C., provides added transparency to waiting customers through video feeds in the waiting room, enabling customers to watch their cars as they are worked on every step of the way. It will be the blueprint layout for new stores the dealership will open in coming years. Development of the new design was driven by research, customer comments and feedback from the dealership's 80-plus locations, plus the recognition that a majority of tire buyers are female. “PDT knows the foundation of Tire Discounters' brand is based on customer service,” said Mark Browning, lead project designer at PDT. “We wanted to create a design with a customer-friendly environment that contained all the amenities to not only make her comfortable, but provide additional resources to help make more informed decisions.” Technicians and sales personnel use individual tablets, creating a more personal interaction for every customer, the dealership said. “Tire Discounters is changing the landscape of what the tire store experience can be,” said Jamie Ward, executive vice president. “We've earned the trust of our customers over the years through our distinctive customer service. Now we're combining that with an unparalleled in-store experience, resulting in unmatched customer satisfaction.” Other customer-centric features Tire Discounters is offering are complimentary Wi-Fi, a refreshment bar, varied television programming, a child's play area and family restrooms equipped with diaper changing stations. The store features drive-through service bays and updated ergonomic placement of equipment for more efficient service, the company said. The store design enhances comfort, transparency and efficiency through these and other features, and the store construction sets industry standards for use of eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient technology, including energy-efficient glass, use of recycled rubber materials in flooring and landscaping, LED lighting and light-reflecting roofing, state-of-the-art energy-efficient air compressors and Rotary Shock Wave lifts. In addition, digital in-store presentations and communications will reduce the use of paper and save energy. Tire Discounters did not disclose its investment in the new store, but said the company was “pleased that the architecture team kept costs close to previous construction by utilizing advanced construction techniques and methods.” The new store is not LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, but management has discussed pursuing that distinction. The outlet is Tire Discounters' second in Colerain Township. The dealership has 82 stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and has disclosed plans to open as many as a dozen stores a year for the next five years. Tire Discounters has engaged Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services as its master broker to help determine both site selection throughout the company's existing footprint as well as work to identify other markets for expansion. The dealership's fleet services initiative, being rolled out through all 82 retail stores, provides centralized billing to all major fleet management company national accounts, electronic centralized invoicing and billing options to local fleet accounts, as well as exclusive offers not available to the general public, the dealership said. The program, test-marketed in the Cincinnati area in January, is designed for fleets with vehicles up to to 3/4-ton gross vehicle weight. “Our focus with Tire Discounters Fleet Services is on outstanding customer service while maintaining a pulse on the fast-paced business needs of our fleets—specifically, professional service with an emphasis on safety while still providing highly competitive pricing,” said Nils Olsson, director of business development. Tire Discounters suggests businesses using its Fleet Services can save time and money in their vehicle maintenance by reducing the time spent on tracking these expenses together with getting it done right the first time, although it declined to quantify the savings. “We know that managing a fleet of vehicles...goes far beyond the cost of the repair,” Mr. Olsson said. “Timeliness, commitment to vehicle safety and quality products from Tire Discounters makes the nuisance of fleet maintenance and repair so much easier for our accounts.” The dealership also said it understands the need for centralized billing and competitive pricing, which is controlled by the point-of-sale system, ensuring price consistency from store to store. Tire Discounters Fleet Services provides customers with a choice of paper-based or Web-based billing, the latter provided through the dealership's dedicated fleet website, TireDiscounters.MyFleetCenter.com. The company said it has experienced a “significant” increase in same-store fleet sales and vehicle count since launching the Fleet Services initiative. To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6145.
The future has arrived: Tire Discounters takes wraps off new store — a "radical departure'
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