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Take a Page Out of Walmart’s Playbook

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Walmart is airing commercials urging customers to get the most fun out of their tax refund.

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The commercial features a man traveling via car non-stop for work and presumably wearing down his tires. When his tax refund comes, he decides to purchase new tires for his vehicle and take a road trip with his daughter. (check out the commercial below)

You might have seen the commercial and not thought twice about it. Or you might have watched the ad and thought, “Walmart is coming after my business.”

I admit when I saw the commercial I thought, “Walmart is going to steal business away from tire dealers.” Upon further reflection, I realized a smart tire dealer would take a page out of Walmart’s book.

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According to the IRS, the average tax refund in 2016 will be roughly $2,900. That’s a lot of money that can be put toward purchasing tires and auto service.

Why not take what’s working for Walmart and make it work for you?

Like Walmart, tire dealers can use the refund season in their advertising. Paying for tires and automotive service may not be fun and might not be what the typical consumer wants to spend their tax refund on, however, using that money to make sure their car is safe and prepared for a spring break road trip may seem more appealing.

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Unlike Walmart, independent tire dealers can use the buy local angle in their advertising. There has been a national trend to support local businesses- spending money at home, keeps money in the community. This can be a competitive edge for dealers.

I want to point out something else from Walmart’s commercial: the man purchases tires from his phone.

Many tire dealers have been hesitant to place online ordering or scheduling on their website. I think this is a big mistake.

There is a convenience factor to being able to purchase tires online. I don’t have to take time out of my busy schedule to go into a dealership to learn about tires or call in to see if an appointment will work with my schedule. This can be done quickly from a phone while sitting at a baseball game, or on a desktop computer while at work.

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I know, I know, what if the consumer chooses the wrong tire for their car? How am I going to upsell, adding warranties, alignments, etc.?

If you are worried about consumers picking the wrong tire size, speed rating or load range for their vehicle, you can follow up an online order with a telephone call.

A call to verify which tires were purchased or a scheduled appointment time offers opportunity for dealers. Customers appreciate that you are the expert, so if you ask them a few questions about their driving habits and what they’re looking to get out of the tire you can reaffirm they’ve made the right tire choice, or redirect them to a tire that will better meet their needs.

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As for selling warranties, alignments or balances, those can be mentioned in a phone call, or the sale can still be made at the service counter.

So go ahead, be like Walmart.

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