Lesson #1: Consumer Behaviors, Expectations, and Requirements have Dramatically Shifted
Borne out of necessity, consumer behaviors and expectations are evolving quickly to meet the buying needs of the pandemic. While some driving patterns, such as commutes, have been disrupted, other driving needs have expanded in the new economy. Transportation and logistics have become more essential to the new economy – and this includes not just heavy commercial vehicles, but also smaller trucks and even passenger autos involved in the last mile delivery chain. While overall demand for tires is down between 16-32% from 2019 levels, the essential nature of transportation and the increasing last mile and logistics industry has continued to drive tire sales forward.
In this new environment, consumers and commercial tire buyers alike have changed expectations within the context of the pandemic. Tire buyers no longer find it acceptable to queue in a crowded waiting room and await their turn for tire service. More than ever, tire consumers, much like consumers of all types of services, now demand the ability to schedule a specific tire and auto service time. This allows consumers to avoid unnecessary crowds and interactions in a crowded waiting environment.
While this consumer expectation is relatively new, it is directly tied to the previously-growing on-demand sales process – where consumers more generally seek on the spot problem resolution without talking to anyone. In addition to speedy service and resolution, tire consumers have a growing requirement for constant availability. Whether or not a retail location is open, consumers increasingly want to be able to book services online no matter what time of day it is. And then simply arrive for their arranged service time.
With these dramatic shifts in customer trends, more and more tire and auto service centers turn to online appointment scheduling technologies. Not only can these online appointment technologies help tire and auto service centers adhere to CDC guidelines for keeping business open during the pandemic, but they also (1) help service centers save time and money by letting customers book their own appointments online, and (2) increase business by allowing 24/7 booking.