SAN DIEGO — It was almost like being part of the audience at the taping of an Oprah show: All the dealers who attended the Point S Tire & Automotive Service USA learned that they were eligible to receive two flat-screen television monitors for each of their locations.
At no cost to them.
The vertical-hanging monitors — or digital posters, as Point S calls them — not only will replace typical point-of-sale (POS) signage, but also will allow the independent dealer cooperative to help boost merchandising for individual dealers by controlling the messaging. So, if a spring sale starts on April 1 with one of its preferred vendors, for example, the Point S platform will begin to advertise the sale on that date on those digital posters.
"We will be able to make sure (the digital posters) are all time-lapsed and don't get stale," Point S COO Clint Young said. "If a dealer gets busy and forgets to put up the promotional ads, they don't have to worry about it now.
"We are providing the content for the dealer, so the dealer can focus on the customer," Mr. Young said. "Anything we can do to make life easier for them, we will."
That was part of the message the Point S executive team left with dealers during the annual Point S Owners Meeting, held at San Diego's Paradise Point Resort, Feb. 20-22. A record number of 500-plus dealers, guests and vendors attended the event.
The monitors, available to the dealers now, will come with two device setups, two wall mounts and an installation guide.
In addition, Point S is offering dealers the opportunity to acquire a more traditional TV for their lobby. Should dealers choose to get a TV (or use one of their own) and its associated content, the cost is $50 per month. Point S will provide some content, and dealers will be able to provide other region-specific content for customers. This package is expected to be ready by the end of the second quarter.
"Technology is so critical to us," Point S CEO Walter Lybeck told the dealers.
"What we're looking to do is save you cost, give you opportunity for sales, give you the opportunity for new customers, and help you run your business with tools that are optional to you," he said. "These are designed by independents, for independents."
The new merchandise push is part of the Point S strategic plan to eclipse a record-setting 2019. According to Mr. Lybeck and his team:
Sales growth topped 10%; same store sales increased; and the network grew by 19 locations and into four new states. Point S now has 225 outlets in 22 states.
Sales in October 2019 were the group's best monthly performance by far, helping the group to a record final quarter.
Point S said tire unit sales rose 7%; passenger and light truck tire sales increased 9%; ag/OTR/ATV sales were up 5%; and winter units increased 26%.
The banner year meant the co-op redistributed $5.5 million to the dealers within the group. The big year was helped, Mr. Lybeck said, by a robust promotion schedule with its preferred partners — Goodyear, Hankook Tire America Corp., Nokian Tyres P.L.C. and Toyo Tire USA Corp.