TireConsumer.com's aim is to be a website where consumers can research tires, compare prices and information, then decide whether to make a purchase and from where. Instead of buying the tires on the website, however, the consumer is directed to local tire dealerships that carry what they're looking for.
This lets consumers shop from the convenience of their homes, but gives the unit sale to the tire dealer.
“They (consumers) can make that selection with no pressure and it builds confidence in them because they've already seen the prices, and then they get to lock in their price and send it to their tire retailer of choice,” Mr. Shaffer said.
This means the dealer would get the tire sale, not an online retailer.
Having this system where consumers can still purchase online — but from a tire dealer — makes it fair, he said and combats strictly online tire retailers while making the process more user-friendly for customers.
“This seems to be just a perfect fit for them,” Mr. Shaffer said.
Although the service currently is free for dealers, Mr. Shaffer said he does foresee eventually having certain charges for referrals and/or the back-office functionality TireConsumer.com offers. For now, the website needs to be able to prove the data to tire dealers before focusing on different pricing models, he said, adding that nothing solid has been determined because the company needs to first compile data on which to base any kind of pricing structure.
TireConsumer.com recently went live after eight months in building and beta testing. The Orlando-based company has added data from tire retailers throughout all major markets in Florida. The company will be expanding and adding Texas locations into its system within one month, Mr. Shaffer said, and then move onto California after that. Once those three major markets are tackled, it will continue to expand into other states.