One dealership that has experienced the benefits is Burt Brothers Tire in Utah.
Jeremy Burt, warehouse and marketing operations manager, said having TireConnect in place is like having a salesperson on duty 24/7, doing business with potential customers the dealership likely wouldn't reach with traditional marketing/sales efforts.
"It's amazing how many people are tire shopping at 2 in the morning," Mr. Burt said.
"This has jump-started us into the online business," he said, noting it would be extremely time-consuming and expensive to try and do so independently.
"This allows even a stand-alone dealership to get into online selling," he said.
The TireConnect tool also can be used in the store by store personnel, Mr. Burt noted, to help look at tire options with the customer.
The online buying process "creates a sense of urgency," Mr. Burt said, "in wanting to get that customer taken care of right away."
Online customers can specify an appointment time, which the dealership confirms as soon as possible, Mr. Burt said. This sets into motion an automated search for the tires ordered to ensure they're at the right store before the agreed-to appointment time.
Retailers can designate to Bridgestone which wholesaler or wholesalers they prefer to work with, a request that is then incorporated into the system.
One unanticipated benefit Mr. Burt noticed was that the dealership's store personnel are a bit more efficient now, because they need to spend less time with customers who ordered online once those customers are in the store. He's even noticed that existing customers have started using the tool.