17 Jul 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

The future of tyre-buying?

Tyre buying is now a fully digital process with tyres fitted right on the customer’s driveway at a time and place that suits their needs. How did we get here though? The answer, of course, is digital.

It’s not a secret that online purchasing has become more popular than ever and even tyre buying is moving into digital world. However, unlike regular consumer goods, the buying journey for tyre purchasing requires technical expertise to fit the purchased items once they arrive on the customer’s doorstep. Here, I will chart the growth of online tyre buying and its transformation to a ‘buy and fit’ market using mobile technology that is closing the gap on this last-mile disconnect.
    
The UK tyre buying market will grow in the coming years on the back of rapid infrastructure growth and expanding automobile fleet sizes. To meet the growing demand by customers for tyre purchasing convenience means bringing together the customer tyre buying journey across an entire digital marketplace, but providing quick and convenient mobile fitting to customers is no small feat. There is clearly an as yet un-met need to provide an end-to-end online tyre buying experience for consumers.
    
During the last 20 years, the development of mobile partnerships as part of the install network of tyre businesses has been extremely prevalent. Until now though, the tyre market has predominantly operated with customers buying tyres and having them shipped to their homes, then being left to take care of the install themselves or take them to a garage for fitting. With the mobile technology and business models available today, this last-mile disconnect can be addressed so that a customer can purchase their tyre of choice, and then schedule an install almost immediately in any county, city or town across the country. There should be no online vs physical divide.

Technology takes centre-stage in tyre buying
A key factor in powering this roll-out is the availability of supporting technology. For TireBuyer, this has meant leveraging existing technology with leading-edge mobile service technology that could underpin the smooth customer journey between online purchase, tyre distribution and mobile fitting provided by any of a network of installers nationwide.
    
Online tyre buying and mobile service delivery is so much more nuanced than just opening the doors and expecting customers to come to you. When your installation process is on wheels, there are so many more variables than a static shop – controlling these variables requires dedicated software support.

Up-to-date data analysis
Avayler provides an extremely tight integration between TireBuyer and its thousands of installation partners to give real-time visibility into van and technician availability. This optimisation goes right down to being able to track the schedule of every van in order to dynamically schedule tasks based on existing installation plans and the proximity of new jobs. The software also lets installation partners clearly track, monitor, and analyse their mobile operations and profitability right down to a per-van basis. Ultimately the field service technology will allow TireBuyer to optimise partner time and energy to provide a better net yield for everybody involved in the tyre buying and installation process. In short, they can then do more jobs for customers. It is like putting together a full jig-saw puzzle set that fits together properly in terms of availability and scale management – especially for mobile tyres that are delivered as part of an online solution
    
Customers are at the centre of this new end-to-end tyre buying experience. Avayler Mobile keeps the customer in the loop throughout the service. After selecting their tyre and specifying a fitting time, the solution alerts the customer of accurate arrival times to keep them in the loop about the service they are receiving. All fitting details are digitally documented for the customer to refer back to on their preferred device.

Building a tyre ecosystem with impeccable data
Since the end of Q1 2022, all mobile teams within the TireBuyer network have been up and running on the Avayler platform. With this live, TireBuyer has been able to leverage data insights to deliver more value for both end-customers and its installation partners.
    
Operationally the aim is to gather insights and feedback from our customers and installation partners in real-time to help inform development going forward. This means using our practical day-to day operation as a live lab to help support and improve how the field service technology will support customers and installation partners now and into the future.

Taking the tyre buying market to the next level
The tyre buying market has moved online at pace – compare, purchase, deliver. But supporting software is required to truly optimise time and resources by seamlessly connecting vehicle owners with trained tyre technicians. With the development of technology and the change of customer needs, the last-mile disconnect in the tyre buying journey can be addressed so that a consumer can purchase their tyre of choice online and schedule an install at their convenience at a time and place that suits them.