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Digital 101: Ensuring Dealer Readiness in the Digital Era

U.S. AutoForce - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It is no secret that times have changed. Long gone are the days of customers consulting the yellow pages to choose a business from which to shop. Today’s consumers are digitally savvy and shop and research online for essentially everything in advance of making either online or in-store purchases. Tires are no exception. Current statistics indicate that upwards of 80% of consumers do some type of online research in advance of making an in-store purchase. While online actions run a wide gamut of both depth of research and time spent online, the fact that 80% of tire shoppers do ANYTHING online illustrates the radical shift of consumer habits in the digital age. While only 6-9% of tire buyers actually complete their tire purchase online, it’s clear that tire shopping is now a digitally driven endeavor.

It is imperative in this new era of digital tire retailing that independent tire retailers ensure a strong online presence in order to remain competitive in the digital landscape. Dealers must have websites which not only convey basic information about the business, but must provide consumers with a quality user experience when they engage the business as a component of their online research and shopping for tires. What does this mean?

Mobile is a MUST!

  • Websites must be fully responsive to perform consistently on any device, whether it is a desktop, tablet or mobile phone. Over 60% of all internet traffic happens on mobile devices, and 68% of all automotive related searches are performed on mobile. It is simply unacceptable to fail to deliver a quality digital experience for consumers engaging a business on a mobile device. Stated simply, in 2017, mobile is a MUST.

Content is KING!

  • Websites must contain quality content relative to what online tire shoppers are searching for. Adding content to a website, such as articles seeking to educate customers about the basics of tire shopping, answering questions like whether they need snow tires, or demonstrating how to check tire pressure will not only be valuable to online consumers, it will also help your website populate higher in a Google search return.

Tools drive SALES!

  • Dealer websites should have a tool that enables consumers to actively shop for tires. Consumers today expect the ability to shop online, they expect complete transparency and the ability to view prices online, and they expect the ability to complete the sale online. Dealers today have a simple choice: They can either build tools on their website enabling consumers to shop for tires, OR they can have consumers shop the big online tire retailers instead. If dealers want to remain competitive in the digital space, it is no longer optional to offer the online shopping tools consumers have come to expect.

Promote your URL to drive TRAFFIC!

  • Dealers should make a concerted effort to promote their website to consumers as a destination for online tire shopping. This can be accomplished through essentially ALL of the dealer’s marketing efforts. Whether it’s direct mail or the dealer’s social media, the dealer’s website URL should be prominently featured so as to brand the site and drive traffic among in-market shoppers and buyers. Remember—your URL is the address of your digital storefront…make sure it is promoted front and center across everything that you do!

While entering the digital arena can seem intimidating for dealers, given the prevalence of consumers engaging tire businesses online, building a strong digital presence is a necessity for tire retailers. Industry experts predict that both the percent of tire buyers shopping online, as well as the length of time spent online prior to tire purchase, will continue to expand in the coming years. Thus, it is critical to tire business success that dealers carefully plan their digital strategies and utilize quality online tools to drive performance in the digital space.

Are you a U.S. AutoForce customer looking for help developing sound digital strategies for success? Ask your Business Consultant for assistance today! If you’re not a U.S. AutoForce customer and you’d like more information about the high quality, exclusive marketing support provided to our dealer customers, email us today at [email protected] or learn more online at