Is it Time it Rethink your Retail Strategy?

Independent Tire Dealers face new challenges every day!  Fact is that selling and installing only tires is increasingly becoming a recipe for failure.  Faced with shrinking margins and fierce competition from large chains, clubs and internet wholesales, the Independent Tire Dealers must focus on strategies that provide “one stop” vehicle maintenance services as well as tires just to keep their current customers.  “We do it all, if we let our customers go anywhere else for automotive related services, we may lose them for ever.” says John Marino from Marino’s Auto Service in Sun City AZ.  “We recently just started stocking tires, because we don’t even want our customers to buy tires from anyone else.  Our tag line is “Customers for Life”, and we mean it!”

National Chains will do whatever they can to put tires on your vehicle, even to the point of losing money.  A Regional Director for a large National Tire & Service Chain recently explained it like this, “It costs us $350 to get a new customer to walk into our store, they usually come in first for an oil change.  We may lose a few dollars on a deal, but it’s the long term relationship that we are after.  A good customer will visit one of my stores up to six time a year and spend $1500 per vehicle.  Do the math!”

It has been my recent experience that the markets with “Tires Only” as their strategy are still successful for the small  Independent, it is in rural markets where either:

  • Its cost prohibitive for the larger retailer to enter
  • The proformas don’t meet larger retailers ROI requirements

That being said, there has never been a better time to be an Independent Tire & Service Dealer.  Consumers want choices and prefer to work with and support a local business.  If you are still trying to decide whether it makes sense to change your selling strategy from transaction based to relationship based, I would encourage you to look real hard at the relationship based model.  After all,  it is your biggest competitive advantage. You can find some pretty good “One Shop Stop” Best Practices here.

About Patrick Murphy

I have spent the past eighteen years producing, coaching and mentoring retail teams. The past six have been in support of Independents across Western US. Although, I have worked most of my career in automotive retail, It hasn’t and never will be about “cars and trucks.” What it has been about is the challenge and satisfaction of helping people with all types of backgrounds to realize their potential.
I am very proud that many of my former teammates have gone on to do some pretty terrific things with their life. Several are currently running their own groups and a few have even opened their own businesses.
My assignments with Bridgestone Firestone and TBC Corporation has offered me the opportunity to work in and become familiar with many markets across the country. From my hometown of Philadelphia, to Boston, Arizona, Dallas, New Mexico, Florida and Southern California. Each market has presented its own unique set of challenges, but at the end of the day, it always came down to three things: people, process and execution.