TireNews July / August 2017
The May issue of TireNews is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of TireNews, Jack Kazmierski.
Death of the Tire Wall
In this issue of TireNews you’ll find an article about Premium Tire & Auto Centre, located in Mississauga, Ontario. I had the pleasure of visiting their store recently and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw… or better yet, what I didn’t see.
Gone is the ubiquitous tire wall that has been a mainstay of tire shops for decades. In fact, there are not tires to be seen anywhere. The owner, Blair Caskie, says that he doesn’t see a need to display tires. “People do their research online nowadays,” he told me. “When they come into our store, most know what they want, and they don’t need to see and touch the tire.”
Caskie says that maybe one in 50 customers wants to actually see the tire that’s going to be installed on their vehicle. “If that’s the case,” he says, “we take them out back and show them the tire.”
The lounge experience
In place of the traditional tire wall is… well… nothing. The waiting area has been turned into a lounge, complete with leather chairs, wood-panel walls, an upscale coffee area, chargers for phones, etc. In fact, it looks more like the reception area of a boutique hotel than the waiting area of a tire store.
It’s clean, uncluttered, and refined. It actually makes you want to linger for a while, rather than keep checking your watch to see when your car will be ready. And perhaps that’s the feeling all retailers need to strive for as they create an ambiance and an environment that attracts customers and makes them want to be there.
That leads me to a question all tire retailers need to ask themselves: Is it time to say goodbye to the traditional tire wall? Is it needed, or is it a relic of a bygone era and no longer a must-have?
Think about it. When was the last time you walked into your store, or any tire retailer’s facility for that matter, only to find customers crowded around the tire wall, comparing tread patterns and running their fingers along the sipes to determine if that’s the tire they want for their vehicle?
Retail real estate is expensive. Could that area be better employed? Could you fit a few more comfy seats in the space, making your customers feel more at home and less eager to leave? Would it be a good place for a big screen TV? How about a popcorn maker, for those who have to wait with their kids?
If you find that your customers are drawn to your tire wall, then by all means keep it. But if you find that the traditional tire display area is simply collecting dust, maybe it’s time to rethink that space.