The Winter that Wasn’t
The winter of 2011 is behind us. “Winter? What winter?” you say. With very little snow – or none at all in some cases – and countless unseasonably warm days, some consumers thought they didn’t really need winter tires.
It may be hard to believe, but the mild winter set the stage for future opportunities – lots of them.
The mild winter, with its dramatic temperature shifts, actually educated the public about the need for winter tires. Many consumers were initially fooled by the unseasonably warm temperatures, and didn’t bother with winter tires until they realized (during one of the many sudden drops in temperature) that their all-season or summer tires simply couldn’t offer the traction they needed during a cold snap or a cold/wet period.
Opportunity = Educated consumers don’t need to be convinced of the need for winter tires. They have discovered that they need them, leaving you with the job of selling them the best winter tires for their vehicle and driving style.
Winter tires wear out more quickly in higher temperatures. With the high percentage of warm days this winter, your clients will likely need replacement winter tires sooner rather than later – maybe as soon as the winter of 2012.
Opportunity = Increased winter tire replacement sales in the coming months.
The lack of snow and the warmer temperatures made the winter of 2011 one of the worst winters for selling winter tires in recent history. This means that what you sold this past season is now a great benchmark for your 2012 inventory forecast, because you cannot sell less in the winter of 2012 than you did the past season.
Opportunity = Much easier for you to forecast your inventory requirements for the winter of 2012.
Despite the lack of serious winter weather in many markets, there were shortages of certain key SKUs for vehicles from minivans to SUVs to sports cars. This is the reality of the tire business today. Over supply is a thing of the past on many SKUs, and shortages are the new reality. This will occur again in the winter of 2012.
Opportunity = Lessons learned about tire shortages will help you plan for the winter of 2012. Plan the correct inventory based on demand and shortage history along with market intelligence. This will increase your winter sales.
Now is the time to review your 2011 winter sales and strategically plan for the winter of 2012. Tire Distributors place their 2012 Winter Booking Orders by the end of April. There is a limited opportunity through May to modify these Booking Orders. If you have not yet provided your Tire Distributor with a forecast of your 2012 winter requirements, then please do so during May.
Tire Retailers are part of a larger entity – the tire supply chain that moves tires from the factory to the retail consumer. You are not alone. You need two points in the supply chain to be truly successful: the point that follows yours – the point of sale to the consumer, and more importantly, the point that precedes yours – the Tire Distributors who supply your tires. Remember – if you do not have product, you cannot close the sale.
Peter-James Gregory is President of Atlas Tire Wholesale Inc.