GOTHENBURG, Neb.Ag tire, wheel and assemblies supplier Dawson Tire & Wheel has launched AgTireOutlet.com, an e-commerce website that it plans to use to sell new and used ag tires and assemblies directly to end-users.
While Gothenburg-based Dawson Tire hopes to use the new website, which launched in December, as a medium to expand its sales to farmers across North America, the company said it also intends it to be a resource for its network of agriculture equipment customers.
Dawson Tire CEO Eric Mac-Pherson said Ag-Tire-Outlet.com will fill a void in the marketplace by connecting farmers with implement dealersspecifically those who have used tires to sell.
Mr. MacPherson said implement dealerships across North America have accumulated sizeable inventories of ag tires over the years, and finding buyers without a middle-man can be a chore for those companies.
(Today's) farmer, he gets in his tractor, turns into the field, puts it on auto-steer and logs into his new Wi-Fi, and he has his new docking station for his laptop, or smartphone, or tablet or whatever he happens to have, Mr. MacPherson told Tire Business. He spends more time on the Internet than a lot of other people would, and there have been a lot of requests to have our inventory online.
We were working to maximize that, (and) we deal with a lot of implement dealers around the nationand they have a lot of inventory that is dead inventory to themso we're working to get that online as well, he added.
The website has two separate search function tabs that allow users to look for tires, wheels and assemblies by inputing either the tire width or rim size.
It boasts that, when you call Ag Tire Outlet, you get a person. But not just any person. You get someone who knows tires...knows equipment...and knows farming. So they can help you get the right tire to work best for your unique application and conditions.
The website then challenges users: Go ahead. Test our knowledge. Rest assured, when you call us, you won't be talking to a 'call center.' You'll be talking to a colleague.
For implement dealers, Mr. MacPherson said the Internet has opened up his world to buying and selling ag equipment across the continent, but the OE tires fitted on that equipment don't always make sense in the environment where it will be used.
A lot of tires and wheels are based in regions or areas, he said. The Southeast is going to run rice and cane, the Pacific Northwest is going to run specific tread designs. The tractor from Florida is perfectly fine in Idaho, but not the tires and wheels.
That's where Daw---son Tire has really based its business modelaround taking care of that dealer to get him the right tires and wheels on his equipment so he can sell it.
Mr. MacPherson said he envisions AgTireOutlet.com becoming the eBay of ag.
I see it as a bit of a disrupter in the marketplace, he said. I think the tire industry is behind the world in the acceptance of online manufacturer direct to end-user (sales).
I know there's a lot of resistance even to what Goodyear's doing and Michelin's doing, he continued. We're of the mindset to embrace it, because it's coming and we can't change it.
Mr. MacPherson called it a new concept for farmers to be able to purchase ag tires and wheels together online.
They can go order a tire online from lots of tire dealers, but to have used assemblies online, late-model take-off sets, combine duals or irrigation tires and wheels is pretty unique, he said.
Through the first month of its existence, AgTireOutlet.com has sold from Dawson Tire's own inventory of products, but Mr. MacPherson said the company expects to begin selling implement dealers' stock in early 2016, once it finishes automating the sales process.
Right now there's some manual to (the process), but obviously what we do every day is logistics, he said. We know how to ship oversized product, so it's rolling into what Dawson does very well every day.
As of now, only about 10-15 percent of the tires sold via the website have been used products, but Mr. MacPherson said he expects that ratio will change once the company adds inventory from ag equipment dealers.
I think we want the farmer to be able to go there to buy what he needs, Mr. MacPherson said. So we'll be monitoring, as we go along, the interest in both (new and used) segments.
We're positioned to strengthen either one as we see what the market is telling us, he continued. Definitely, with the ag economy as it is today, there's a lot of interest in the used.
Tires listed on the website can be sold as single tires, sets or complete assemblies, depending on the product. Orders can be placed 24/7, and standard orders ship within two business days, according to the website.
Those using the website to make a purchase will receive an email confirmation and tracking information once the order has shipped.
Mr. MacPherson said Dawson Tire has been very pleased with initial responses to the e-commerce website.
We're getting a lot of phone calls and questions, he said. There's been some sales, but whether it's been above or below expectations I really couldn't say, because in this marketplace we didn't know what to expect.
According to its own website, Dawson Tire & Wheel said its main business focus is helping farm equipment dealers move equipment. To support this valuable business-to-business relationship, we offer dealers specific programs not available to end users or farmers.
These programs include Loyalty Rewards, dealer pricing, marketing initiatives, sales support, technical support, training and additional revenue streams. The most notable is our trade-in program where we exchange tires and wheels with a dealer for a more appropriate set that enables the dealer to move their equipment. This program is only available to dealers; we do not trade with end users.
The company notes that almost every piece of farm equipment has tires so it makes sense to keep this business inside your dealership. Dawson is committed to our dealers to keep this a profitable proposition....
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