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GfK Launches New Retail Sales Reporting System for Dealers

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A treasure trove of actionable retail tire sales data, collected as each sale is consummated. Deep-dive information on what brands and models are selling best, at what prices and through what stores.

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What do you think that kind of real-world information should cost an independent tire dealer? A thousand dollars a month? Maybe $500?

How about nothing? $0. Nada.

The dealer’s cost for the data is the dealer’s contribution to the data sets. And GfK Group has made it painless to participate in the nationwide panel of retail tire dealers that will be the lynch pin of its new business intelligence program.

A leading global research group of companies with some 13,000 employees, GfK Group has mastered applying technology and methodology to answering age-old sales and penetration questions in a wide range of fields. It has been working in the tire sector in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia for some 15 years. Those efforts have built GfK into a $1.7 billion company.

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Its goal in the U.S. tire market is the same as elsewhere: give its clients – tire retailers and tire manufacturers and marketers – the clearest understanding of actual sales. As Dick Williams, GfK Automotive Division vice president, noted, there is a significant difference between the tire shipment figures posted annually by the RMA and what is really happening at the counter of tire stores across the country.

In a nutshell, GfK’s software system bolts onto a dealer’s POS system, and mines data about tires sold – by specific brands, models and sizes – and the prices charged. The system even compensates for the impacts of seasonal or short-term promotions, according to Neil Portnoy, managing director for GfK’s Consumer Choices division.

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The great value is that the system shows what is actually moving off the shelves and onto cars on a monthly basis at independent and company-owned stores, which really cover about 80% of the POS movement of tires, Williams said.

It’s a rolling and ruthless benchmark of product and profitability that can help every retail dealer manage their business and find new opportunities, Portnoy said.

GfK doesn’t charge dealers to participate; there are no up-front fees or backside costs. The company is paid by tire manufacturers – currently two of them – and those companies benefit by receiving compiled brand, model, size and price data. Depending on the amount of participants, Portnoy said GfK can provide data and analysis down to a small geographic area.

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John Gamauf, retired Bridgestone Americas executive and Tire Industry Hall of Famer, has been retained by GfK to help roll the program out to dealers and company-owned stores. Gamauf has already been visiting with dealers in person and via telephone to explain the benefits of the program, and admits he is very excited about the prospect of helping deliver the kind of sell-out data the industry has dreamed of for years.

Gamauf uses the example of a Major League Baseball player, who can use the box scores in the daily newspaper to compare his success ratio against his peers. GfK’s research system, he said, allows participating dealers to really understand what’s moving, when and where, and most importantly what other retailers are charging for the same product.

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Gamauf said a dealer might be charging $199 for a specific SUV tire, but the data shows that competing retailers and other dealers across the country are getting $210 for the same exact tire. That analysis helps the dealer find dollars. Conversely, a dealer may find they are overcharging for a particular tire, and a price adjustment may open new sales.

Portnoy said GfK is working with dealer POS software developers like ASA Automotive Systems and MAM Software to integrate its system seamlessly, making the entire system totally transparent to the retailer.

GfK’s goal is to build out the retailer panel to a level that will allow it to make valid statistical extrapolations that best represent a market size it sees as some 33,000 locations. Williams said GfK expects to have the panel set by year-end and launch its first reports in the first quarter of 2016.

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Interested dealers can learn more at www.gfk.com/us.

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