AKRON (Feb. 3, 2016) — Use of the Internet and social media continues to grow in all sectors of the tire business as more companies experiment with innovative approaches to reach, communicate and sell to current and potential customers.
This is happening even in the relatively conservative farm tire business, where farmers and dealerships traditionally have been reluctant to stray from tried-and-true ways of doing business.
But innovation is fast becoming the norm even in the ag sector — a sign that all tire dealers need to embrace innovation and new technology, including use of the Internet, to enhance sales.
One of the latest companies looking to innovation to grow sales by using online technology is Dawson Tire & Wheel of Gothenburg, Neb., an ag tire, wheel and assemblies supplier.
Similar to Good-year's decision to begin selling tires online directly to consumers, Dawson Tire launched an e-commerce site in December to sell new and used ag tires and assemblies directly to end-users.
Besides serving as a potential new revenue stream for the company, the website, AgTireOutlet.com, is designed to help implement dealers find buyers for slow moving ag tires. It also will allow the company to expand sales to farmers across the U.S. as well as be a resource for its ag equipment customers.
In making the decision, Dawson Tire CEO Eric McPherson considered the changing characteristics of farming.
Farmers today, he said, get into their tractors, head to the fields, put the vehicles on auto-steer and then log into WiFi. In the tractor is a docking station for a laptop, smartphone or tablet, Mr. McPherson said.
They spend more time on the Internet than a lot of other people would, he said, adding that he's received a lot of requests “to have our inventory online.”
He has done what all tire dealers need to do. That is, first take a thorough look at their customer demographics, noting especially how they like to communicate, receive and review product information and make purchases.
Then come up with a plan that will better serve customers while enhancing their own businesses.
Using the Internet and social media for branding and to connect with customers is becoming commonplace among tire makers.
Giti Tire (USA) Ltd. gained nearly 4,000 fans on its Facebook page with its recent Rosebowl Parade Facebook contest.
Recently, Goodyear launched its Twitter account @Goodyear — giving viewers a chance to win prizes, including free tires, Goodyear blimp rides and a grand prize of a 2016 vehicle.
This is the new way of doing business to reach customers in the tire industry. Tire dealers who resist the changing business norms risk being left in cyber dust.
This editorial appears in the Feb. 1 print edition of Tire Business. Have an opinion on it? Send your comments or a letter to the editor to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, official name of your business, along with the city and state where it's located, and a daytime phone number at which you can be reached.