Consumer demand for tire storage has increased over the years, and as a result it has presented dealerships with both opportunities and problems to consider as they aim to meet this growing customer need.
A decade ago, only 20 per cent of Canadian drivers used winter tires. Today, that number has increased to 65 per cent with projected continued growth, according to Domenic Ismaele, CEO of Tire Storage Solutions, who adds that Quebec is one of their biggest clients due in large part to mandatory winter tire regulations.
“The demands (for tire storage) are increasing, and it really truly is one of the best and only revenue and retention tools to ensure customers return to the dealership twice per year,” says Ismaele. “Of course, with this brings the problem of housing and managing a high volume tire storage program for customers. Doing this effectively and efficiently will only happen if they (dealerships) have a proper system in place.”
Tire Storage Solutions (TSS), which is exactly what its name implies, offers a Global Tire Management Services software or CRM that helps dealerships and storage facilities better manage and track tires, along with any increases in the scale of their operation.
In the province of Quebec, LAR (Leader Auto Resources) are one of their clients and are currently storing tires for more than 20 dealers. Groupe Gabriel, which has 22 dealerships, installed the system several years ago.
One of the perks of using the software is that it integrates with most dealer management systems (DMS) currently used in the auto industry. It also does away with the need to duplicate information and use Excel spreadsheets, helping instead to reduce the amount of time and labour required by dealer personnel to manually input customer information.
For example, when an appointment is made on the dealership DMS system, it is then notified that Mr. or Mrs. Smith is coming in on a certain date. Dealers can also use an online web portal and mobile app to manage seasonal tire storage appointments, inventory and logistics — but whatever they choose to input that appointment, the system will “shotgun blast” that information to the warehouse, to the service staff, and in their portal, says Ismaele. “There are a lot of backend things that happen that don’t need the intervention of humans,” he adds.
Ismaele says the system also allows dealers to monitor inventory, movement, tire and rim conditions and measurements, and that multiple reports for issues (such as worn tires and damaged rims) are available.
“Reports like the Worn Tire and Rim report, can easily be executed by dealer personnel who can then effectively sell tires, rim refinishing, wheel balancing, alignments etc., while the customer is driving their vehicle,” says Ismaele. “It also gives dealers the option of off-site seasonal tire storage with a TSS partner warehouse. This allows the dealerships to reap the customer retention and revenue stream benefits of offering seasonal tire storage, even if their facility does not accommodate for storage.”
The system’s barcode label feature is also worth noting, as the custom label is specific to each customer and comes off the DMS information. Dealers can scan the barcode using the TSS mobile app to input any additional data or comments they have about the tire — such as damage or other important notes. It’s something that sets TSS apart from its competitors, according to Ismaele.
“This allows the dealerships to reap the customer retention and revenue stream benefits of offering seasonal tire storage, even if their facility does not accommodate for storage.”
Overall, the TSS system is meant to provide users with improved visibility, accurate inventory management, and seasonal tire storage reports — all of which aid in customer retention and up-selling. “In a nutshell, we are in the business of relieving the pain points a dealership experiences when storing seasonal tires,” says Ismaele. The technology also aims to ensure that dealers and other users have complete coverage and clarity on what it is that they are doing, and that if they find anything wrong with the tires, they can be cleared of the blame.
TSS, who is now celebrating their 10th year in business, recently expanded its services to Germany, and will attempt to further penetrate the European market. Demand for tire storage systems is high in countries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway due to winter tire regulations.
In Canada, aside from Quebec, British Columbia and several other provinces include some form of law around winter tires or chains, offer discounts and low-interest financing, or they simply recommend the usage even though it is not required by law. Consumer education on the matter is also growing.