Under sunny skies in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, you’d never guess there were still ongoing supply chain disruptions and talk of a possible recession on the horizon, as Point S CEO Walter Lybeck debuted Point S USA’s goal to have 500 stores in 50 states within five years in front of a record crowd for the group’s 2023 Owner’s Meeting. This year celebrating its 40th anniversary, there are currently 275 Point S USA points of sale spanning 29 states.
Lybeck had good reason to be bold about the company’s ambitions, as Point S left 2022 with 28 stores and two states (Alabama and South Carolina) more than when it arrived. With momentum on Point S’s side, the company’s executive team believes it is on track to soon be represented in every state of the union.
“Think about that… that is a massive growth curve,” Lybeck says. “But I am quite confident we can do it. We think we can do this with the program we’ve established. We will, of course, have to monitor and adjust and make some changes, but this 500, 50, 5 plan is going to create for us that much larger group we’re looking for.”
Lybeck says in 2022 alone, Point S USA stores, via the company’s CRM, recorded 145,000 appointments, 22,000 visual inspections and had almost 100,000 messages of appreciation received from customers. To continue pushing those numbers to rise over the next five years, Point S is focusing on four growth initiatives:
- Member retention, by giving a bonus to stores that agree to sell their shop to another existing Point S member;
- Referrals, by offering a bounty to shop owners who convince another tire dealer to join Point S;
- “No Trouble to Double,” which encourages shop owners with only one or two stores to add another via research and financial support;
- An associated dealer program, which gives dealerships the ability to join Point S as a B share owner, meaning they don’t have to brand themselves with Point S signage but have no voting rights and receive no marketing support from Point S.
“In terms of the associated dealer program, we have a lot of members through our affiliated program, and that was okay, but we put that thing on steroids, and we’re getting a lot of potential recruits,” Lybeck says. “We created this [associate] program so we can direct them into the fold, expose them to the group of Point S and get them to that next stage.”
Clint Young, Point S COO, said that 2022 sales for the group were up 10% over 2021, and that “2021 was a rockstar year.” Net income in 2022 was also up 10%, and Point S returned $7.7 million back to its members last year.
“That’s the most we’ve ever returned in the history of this organization,” Young says.
Point S dealers will soon have their hands on new websites that feature AI and machine-learning technologies to the benefit of both the store owner and the customer, Lybeck says.
“This is something that we actually have built into our new website that we’re about to launch, and it functions extremely well. It learns based on the history of your purchases with us, and it changes over time. It grades your purchases. It checks your inventory and it checks our inventory and makes sure that the inventory is available for the customer. Then it prioritizes based on what you like to sell and what you have in stock,” Lybeck says. “That’s what will show up first to the customer, so it’s always something in stock.”
Upcoming Point S Marketing Strategies
Devin Barr, vice president of client services at MBT Marketing, explained that Point S is making three key changes to its marketing strategy in 2023. The first is to add new members to its existing marketing staff, who will take on responsibilities such as helping direct a store’s logo designs, creating advertisements and developing new promotions. The second is to roll out a new marketing campaign featuring a new creative direction in the form of a character named “Leslie (Les) Stressman.” The third is to increase the minimum Point S member monthly contribution rate from $800 to $1,200. The last minimum contribution rate bump the group made was in 2005.
Marketing staff – One of the new marketing positions Point S is adding is a field marketing manager. Barr said the person in this position will play a key role in guiding and supporting Point S owners with their needs specific to their individual stores. This person will meet with store owners in person to review their needs, define goals and create actionable plans; assist with reporting and help identify missed revenue opportunities; and support new members when they are onboarded with Point S.
Marketing campaign – Point S plans to lean into its tagline, “No Stress with Point S,” with the boost of a new marketing campaign featuring a motivational speaker named Les Stressman. Les will lead the Point S marketing message in various commercial spots ranging from 60 to 6 seconds in length. Les will be shown on digital Point S posters starting Jan. 30 and advertisements will begin running on social media in February.
“We knew that we wanted something new. We wanted to put something fresh together. We wanted to make an impact that’s going to break through the advertising,” Barr says. “Les Stressman is going to be our icon, our model, for what you guys do: Providing your customers a stress-free experience.”
Besides Les Stressman, Point S also developed a number of 40th-anniversary-themed promotions that will run throughout the year.
Monthly contribution – Point S is asking its members to increase their minimum monthly contribution rates by 50%. Much of this increase will go toward “Foundational Local Marketing,” which includes Google ads, social media paid posts, advertisements on streaming TV and highly-targetted programmatic display ads online. Barr added that all Point S members will also receive a monthly marketing dashboard for all digital channels to track marketing progress, two annual meetings with the Point S marketing team to review performance, a consistent marketing direction from the Point S team and the ability to personalize local marketing efforts with store-level creative assets.