ORLANDO, Fla. — American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD) Tire Pros marketing group unveiled several initiatives during its recent National Business Conference that are designed to help dealers increase store traffic, improve efficiency and maximize profitability.
ATD executives, including President and CEO Stuart Schuette, joined Tire Pro dealers for the event where presenters emphasized how to leverage new tools and technologies that they said will help dealers "choose to win" in a rapidly changing marketplace.
"Consumers will drive our future," Ryan Marsh, chief growth and innovation officer at ATD, told the group during the meeting.
"The choices we make today will ensure that Tire Pros and our franchisees are ideally positioned for the ways that consumers shop, including how they select their tire and automotive service retailer. We believe that there is so much at stake, but importantly, we believe that we can't do this without one another. We are choosing to invest and to win together."
Mr. Schuette presented an overview of several initiatives the distributor will launch in 2019 to leverage technology and data in order to support its customers, particularly Tire Pros franchisees.
Brian Billick, who coached the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl win in 2001, shared the message of working as a team.
"There are three things that make up any team or organization: people, structure, and chemistry," Mr. Billick said. "You have a winning combination in place when you combine the best players — all of you franchisees in the audience — with the winning game plan that Tire Pros is outlining today."
Among the topics discussed at the conference were:
- • Continuing the "Hassle-Free. Guaranteed" national advertising campaign, supported by digital and online paid media, which was launched in 2018. According to Tire Pros, the campaign delivered more than 50 million targeted impressions, and TirePros.com visits increased sixfold over the last year. The "Find a Dealer" page views increased seven times.
Executives told dealers that this year's campaign will continue to be an important part of the national and local marketing strategy, emphasizing targeted, paid media strategies that they said are designed to increase traffic to franchisees.
- The debut of consumer tools designed to help franchisees connect with their consumers. The Tire Pros marketing team, along with the Mission Based Council (MSB), said the platform allows franchisees to manage and engage with online reviews, uses text messaging to communicate with customers and receive insights about consumers' experiences through an integrated Net Promoter Score module.
- The relaunch of TirePros.com, featuring full e-commerce capabilities. The website will be launching in Q3, with new dealer pages that the group said will enhance what is currently being used. Each facility will have the ability to personalize its location's site to be matched to its community and region. Consumers who purchase tires will be able to set appointments online, creating what the group said is a "simple, hassle-free buying experience."
- Revamp Tire Pros University. Tire Pros execs told dealers that a revamp of the platform is coming in 2019, including a learning and development tool that was developed and delivered in partnership with the Training Mission-Based Council. The platform will be available to all franchisees free, Tire Pros said, making it easier for dealers to attract and retain quality employees.
The industry-leading micro-learning tool will allow franchisees and employees to be more competitive in an industry where the labor market has become even more challenging, according to the marketing group.
- Use the Pros Partnership Analysis as part of its profit-maximizing tools. During 2019, Tire Pros retail account managers will collaborate with franchisees to analyze key metrics in their business and identify areas of focus to enhance profitability. Each participating franchisee will receive these business metrics several times per year.
- Strengthen vendor partnerships. The marketing group released several new products as well as an exclusive promotion plan with long-time partner Continental Tire the America. In addition, Tire Pros detailed an exclusive new program for franchisees, the Tire Pros Edge Program driven by Cooper Tires.
According to Tire Pros, franchisees will have the opportunity to earn multiple program and promotional benefits on their Cooper brand and select Hercules brand purchases under this program.
Tire Pros also highlighted some dealers who were extremely successful in the previous years. Some of the key awards presented during the Conference Awards breakfast included:
- Big Discount Tire Pros of Fairfield, Calif. —Hercules Tires Strongman of the Year Award;
- Carson City Tire Pros of Carson City, Nev. — Continental Tires Rookie of the Year Award; and
- Van's Tire Pros of North Ridgeville, Ohio —Synchrony Rookie of the Year Award.
Steven Moss, chairman of the Tire Pros National Dealer Council and owner of Wilson Tires Pros & Automotive in Elon College, N.C., said everyone works together "day in and day out to make the Tire Pros organization better. For a franchise program to work well, it must be a partnership with a common set of objectives.
"One of the resounding themes I've heard at this conference is (that) we're all family," Mr. Moss said. "When we work together, we can win together."
More than 50 vendors, representing marketing, auto parts, technology, tire manufacturers, tools and supply products, participated in the annual vendor fair.
Recently, ATD announced that nine independent tire dealers in nine states joined Tire Pros over the past previous few months. At that time, Tire Pros said it had more than 640 locations across the U.S.