Marketplace taking dealers in new directions
Listening, watching and reacting. These seem to be the steps tire dealerships and other tire consumers must take regularly as they look for new ways to keep up with the competition and expand their operations.
Doing so likely will lead them to expand and evolve their operations to meet a rapidly changing replacement tire world.
Following this approach is how TravelCenters of America arrived at its decision to expand its truckstop business to try and grab a larger share of the replacement truck tire market through expanded service and a broader selection of products.
• This editorial appeared in the June 5 print edition of Tire Business
During meetings with fleet customers, TravelCenters discovered that the majority of truck drivers were having to stop at several places for services such as fuel, tires and mechanical work — downtime that was costing fleets time and money.
This led TravelCenters to create the TA Truck Service Commercial Tire Network and to break away from the typical ways truck stops have operated, striving to become a one-stop, one-solution answer for all of a trucking fleet's needs, including selling and servicing tires and retreads.
The move required TravelCenters to renegotiate its supplier contracts and change its business model to become what it describes as a "full service dealer."
Observing and responding to changes in the tire marketplace also led John "JP" Gallagher III, owner and president of specialty tire wholesaler Gallagher Tire Inc., to launch an online consumer tire business — Tires4That.com.
The company had been contemplating developing a direct-to-consumer approach for years, Mr. Gallagher said.
But after watching Bridgestone Americas, Goodyear and Michelin North America set up direct-to-consumer e-platforms last year, Mr. Gallagher told Tire Business that he felt the time was right to take the company in a new direction, while maintaining its core operation of distributing specialty tires to retail dealerships.
He chose to go the e-business route to attract and sell to consumers, rather than build a brick-and-mortar retail store, because of the lower overhead costs and, as he put it: "People buy cars now online. They can certainly buy a lawnmower tire."
Today, it's not uncommon for non-traditional companies to add tire sales and service to their mix in an effort to attract new revenue and open up new profit centers.
Progressive tire dealerships are doing the same — by listening, watching and then reacting to the marketplace.
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Tire Business would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor Don Detore at [email protected].