E-commerce has grown rapidly in recent years, and shoppers today typically reach for their phone or computer when buying anything new. But when it comes to tire retail, the vast majority of drivers will still not consider buying their tires online.
E-commerce sales were $870 billion in the US in 2021, making up for 13% of total retail volume. Meanwhile, online tire sales – and more general e-commerce for motor vehicles and parts – only accounted for 3% of total sales domestically. So while online tire sales have increased in recent years, especially during the pandemic, it’s still miles behind the rest of the pack.
Let’s be honest for a second: the main reason for this slower growth is that buying tires online is a challenging, confusing process. Why? Many car owners don’t take the time to learn about important tire details, such as tire specs or what type of tire their vehicle can use.
This is a big stumbling block, since deciding what tires to buy is a high-stakes decision. With prices generally ranging from $400 to $800 for a regular set of tires, getting it wrong can be a costly mistake. What’s more, if a customer orders the wrong tires, returning them can be a major inconvenience. And if the tires are not right for the vehicle, it might be undriveable for an extended period of time until the new tires arrive, or even become a safety hazard if the mistake goes unnoticed.
Tire dealers can take the pain out of the process, and steer customers in the right direction by creating a simpler shopping experience with tire size scanning.
Tire websites are for more than just window shopping
The current state of tire e-commerce websites isn’t great: while 90% of consumers start their tire shopping journey online, customer views on tire retailer websites often do not lead to sales. Many customers use websites to browse retailers’ inventory and offers, but will go through their independent tire retailer for advice prior to a purchase, resulting in low online sales and high cart abandonment.
But with the right technology, tire e-commerce doesn’t have to just be for window shopping. Far more deals can be closed online.
By adding a tire size scanner powered by optical character recognition (OCR) to their website, tire retailers can let customers skip the step of finding and manually recording their tire data. Shoppers simply point their smartphone camera at their tires and grab the tire size and specifications – which instantly auto-fill on the webpage.
In this way, they can be confident in what tire they choose to buy online, without always having to consult a tire technician. The technology gives customers peace of mind when purchasing tires online, by eliminating the worry of making mistakes and ordering the wrong product.
Tire size scanning makes it easy to gather data and manage inventory
For tire dealers, the benefits of using OCR tire size scanning are also tangible, including:
- Reduction in wrong orders. The less tires will be returned by customers, the less logistics costs and stress will be put on the tire dealer.
- Increased customer satisfaction. The overall experience becomes less stressful, and customers will know what to expect with their order.
- Customer confidence in online tire purchases. If customers have more knowledge and confidence about what they are buying, they are likely to purchase through e-commerce again.
With more sales online, independent retailers don’t need to have as many tires in stock at each location. This allows inventory to be centralized, allowing retailers to open more locations with smaller spaces dedicated to inventory.
Tire dealers can improve the online tire buying experience with OCR scanning
With the right software and technology, retailers can easily integrate a tire size scanner to any website or app, so that customers can use the scanner no matter whether they are using an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.
Buying tires online can be a confusing and costly process, especially for customers unsure of what kind of tires their specific vehicle needs. Using mobile data capture allows customers to scan their own tires to buy new ones through a retailer’s e-commerce website. For tire dealers, it is a win-win by increasing customer satisfaction and restoring confidence in their customers’ decision-making.
Sponsored by Anyline.