Retailing: Image Is Everything
INSIGHT the fourth quarter (Q4) of the year is here again. Q4 is a critical time in the tire business in Canada. Due to fall and winter weather, Q4 is when demand for tires peak. To be success-ful, you must find ways to translate that peak demand into peak sales for your tire store. You want the consumer to fill their demand by buying from you. You are not just selling tires – you are selling yourself and your store, and you need to look good to do it. Consumers have a lot of choice when it comes to where they’ll buy tires, and the reality is that your tire store is only one of those many choices. Not only are you com-peting against other tire stores, but you also have to contend with big box retailers, internet retailers and car dealers. The only way to succeed is to make your tire store stand out and be noticed.
How to shine
How do you stand out as noteworthy or different, and how do you get your store on the consumer’s radar? First, you must identify what you want to be noticed for.
• Do you want to be known as the store that offers the lowest price? While this may attract the consumer, it may also destroy your profitability.
• Do you want to be noticed for your convenient location? Consumers like convenience.
• Do you want to be noticed for estab-lished brands with recognized quality? Brand recognition is a key trigger in the buying process.
• Do you want to be noticed for knowledge and experience? Feeling that “the job will be done right” is another key trigger in the buying process. Consumers like to buy from people who know the product.
• Do you want to be known for longevity? “In business for 10 years!” Longevity speaks to reliability and success, and consumers feel good about buying from a reliable and successful business.
• Do you want to be known for a clean and modern store? Think about this one. Would you shop at a messy, old and poorly lit supermarket if a bright, clean and modern supermarket was just down the street? Ask around, you may be surprised how important good light-ing is when it comes to creating the right “buying environment” for the consumer. Think about the above points and take some time to really look at your business. Ask a trusted friend from outside the tire industry to look at you and your business and get their comments on what they see. What do they think needs improvement? Remember, what you see is not import-ant; it is what the consumer sees that will determine your success! Take notes and then work to effect changes and tweak your image.
Remember, you are the tire professional – and I stress professional. Tires are your business. Tires are not a sideline. You are not a website. You are a tire professional standing in front of the consumer, or communicating with them over the phone. Consumers like the personal touch and they will recognize a professional. Now… do you look like a professional? I hope the above points have provided food for thought and action. Create positive changes in your business, capture the increased demand and have a successful Q4.
Wrote by: Peter-James Gregory is President of Atlas Tire Wholesale Inc.