PORTLAND, Ore. — It won't be long before members of the Point S Tire & Automotive Service USA network will have the ability to sell and arrange distribution of tires to other dealers, complementing their core focus on retailing tires and performing automotive services.
The marketing cooperative soon will roll out a business-to-business (B2B) website, designed specifically for Point S members to facilitate the pricing, sale, distribution and timing of the delivery to dealers within their area.
The website, part of Point S' proprietary All-Trac Platform, is being tested, and within the next three to four months, it should be available for as many members to use "as we can handle," according to Point S CEO Walter Lybeck.
Based on early inquires, he expects up to 40% of the Point S member network — now at 245 locations and counting — to participate in the program eventually.
"We developed this as a B2B website designed to communicate with business for business," Mr. Lybeck said. "It has a different look and feel than a typical B2C website."
Mr. Lybeck said the goal is "to punch more sales" through members.
"This is helping existing members who are wholesaling already or going to start to wholesale in their marketplaces," Clint Young, chief operating officer, told Tire Business. "This gives them a platform to do it on and a widget that makes that experience a lot more professional and easier for the store."
The website is all part of the Point S plan to continue to bolster its wholesale business, named Tire Factory Distribution, a "love letter" back to the heritage of the company, according to Mr. Young.
Last September, Point S purchased Northwest Wholesale in Portland, which operated two warehouses with 75,000 square feet of combined storage space.
The group's main wholesale distribution, however, remains in Memphis, where it operates warehouses exceeding 100,000 square feet, allowing it to service dealers in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Point S completed the purchases of those warehouses from Nussbaum Distributing Inc. in September 2019.
Since then, the group has focused on building its network of locations in that area, providing increased efficiencies and opportunities for the Memphis operations.
Mr. Young said the Point S footprint in the Mid-South region accounts for 60% of the new store additions made in 2020.
"That's obviously critical when you're trying to grow that market and the distribution centers and make it a very profitable decision for the membership," Mr. Young said.
Point S can service dealers within a 175-mile radius of the Memphis warehouses, he added.
"We've brought on some stores that are farther out knowing that they're sizable enough that we can set them up with some direct programs and long carrier routes," he said.
It's a work in progress, according to Mr. Lybeck.
"What we're looking at, realistically in that market, is working on developing our routes, frequency and improving penetration in tire store customers," he said.
The Memphis warehouse operation delivers to around 20 Point S locations.
"What that has done is put a lot of growth pressure on that business," Mr. Lybeck said.
The new Point S locations in New England — Gills Point S Tire & Automotive Service acquired 10 Vianor-branded retail stores last year — are serviced by Nokian Tyre P.L.C.'s warehouse in Burlington, Vt.
While Mr. Lybeck said Point S has no plans to add more warehouses in the immediate future. He said distribution is one of the group's two key focuses moving forward.
The other is the co-operative-branded network of stores. Each has a different mindset.
"(Distribution) is about buying tires, shipping product efficiently," Mr. Lybeck said. "It's about making money, but it's (members') money, their profits."