Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?


Discussion
Oct 31, 2018
Matthew Stern

Plenty of brands have begun to experiment with small, experiential concepts to meet the new expectations of shoppers. Goodyear, however, is the first automotive products brand to try upgrading the tire buying experience with a next-gen retail location.

The tire brand is launching its new store concept, called Roll by Goodyear, in the Washington, D.C. area. Unlike traditional industrial-looking tire shops adjacent to garages with impersonal waiting rooms, Roll locations are showrooms with contemporary design elements located in lifestyle centers alongside other retailers.

Customers can either select the products they want in the showroom or shop online before choosing an installation option, one of which is to leave their keys at the showroom and shop surrounding stores while the work is done. A valet returns their car when the service is completed. Another option is to schedule a visit from a mobile installation van which will come and change their tires.

The initial store launch will consist of five locations. Pre-market testing indicated that Millennials and women, in particular, responded favorably to the concept.

Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?

Photo: Goodyear

Some of the biggest players in retail have been taking steps to make the process of buying or upgrading an automobile less arcane for non-motorheads.

Walmart, for instance, announced earlier this year that it was expanding a one-store partnership with car buying support service CarSaver to 250 store locations. The CarSaver store-within-a-store provides information and advice to customers on the complex task of buying or leasing a car.

More recently Walmart partnered with Advanced Auto Parts to bring value-added content and product information from the specialty store to Walmart customers through an online auto shop on Walmart.com.

Amazon.com has also gotten in on the act with a nationwide deal whereby Sears Auto Centers installs tires purchased on the e-tail giant’s site.

While for years the conventional wisdom was that Millennials were forsaking cars in favor of less expensive, more city-friendly modes of transportation like bikes and walking, more recent data has indicated that Millennial car purchases are on the upswing. This is especially true for new, environmentally-friendly vehicles.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Goodyear draw interest and customer traffic with its Roll concept? Will the concept have a ripple effect on other brands and retailers operating in the same space?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Buying tires is largely an inconvenient 'grudge' purchase. Goodyear’s approach to making the process far less inconvenient solves the right problem."
"Auto is a relatively undisrupted vertical in retail. Winners notice bad experiences first and capitalize on making them better faster."
"...how about Goodyear extends this into a mobile concept at the point of need, like a rolling virtual showroom?"

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19 Comments on "Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?
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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

A sleepy category like tires could benefit from a new approach, and I believe this new concept from Goodyear could prove to be a very smart move. For most people, buying tires (or having winter tires put on/taken off) is largely an inconvenient “grudge” purchase. Goodyear’s approach to making the process far less inconvenient solves the right problem. While I believe the concept has a good chance of success with Goodyear, I doubt that the other tire competitors will respond any time soon — like I said, it’s a sleepy category.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

It’s a paradigm shift from the typically-unattractive tire stores. It’s akin to the service departments in automobile dealerships, in which seats are comfortable, Wi-Fi is freely available and doughnuts and espresso are available at the coffee bar while you wait. Interesting approach to selling tires and certainly an improvement over the current models.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, I like the design and the service elements — especially the option of having the tires fitted while you do other things. On the other hand, having tires changed at a place like Tire Warehouse is not all that bad. True it’s not as glitzy as this, but seeing people in overalls with oil on their hands somehow seems fitting!

The other thing is that this concept might be suited to suburban and urban areas where people can go and look round other shops, but I would not necessarily want to drive into an urban area to get my tires changed. It’s too annoying. I’d rather go somewhere out of town where access is easier.

Richard Layman
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

FWIW, if you look at the press release, all the stores are in suburban conurbations, “town centers” if you will. They aren’t in urban centers. (Another example that “urban” and “suburban” are sometimes terms that aren’t truly specific.) The store in Bethesda Maryland is on “Bethesda Row,” Federal Realty’s first foray into creating urbanized suburban in-city (in this case in-conurbation) lifestyle centers.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

Iconic Goodyear is far from the category leader it once was, failing to fend off a range of brands that have established themselves and taken a piece of its domain, so I’m glad to see some fresh thinking and willingness to experiment. Our local store most certainly offers the same experience it did when it opened in the ’50s or ’60s (I wasn’t around).

Whether or not this concept works will come down to testing.

Looking at the interior photo, I’m skeptical. There’s seemingly no experience there and it looks like a fish in a barrel scenario for commissioned salespeople when a customer does not preorder online.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I’m with you on the photo of the store interior, there has to be more to it. Either that or Goodyear is banking on customers not staying very long – maybe that’s the point. Every customer will want a comfortable place to wait while their car is serviced.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

What’s not to love about a cool showroom, easy ordering, valets that pick up and drop off your car, mobile installation at your home, and real-time status updates? More than Millennials will embrace this concept. I have spent time in tire showrooms and it isn’t a whole lot of fun. Sign me up.

Chris Petersen, PhD.
Guest

What about the rest of us? It’s not just Millennials that will appreciate an experience upgrade! Who wouldn’t appreciate a user friendly environment with a valet! I’m constantly amazed at how many retail concepts are “attributed” to Millennials. All customers are searching for retailers who create relevancy by adding value and taking the pain out of purchasing. The concepts of Roll will be valued by Millennials as well as seniors and all those in between. If you want to label a segment motivated to shop here, think of mom who needs tires and has kids in tow. Both of my vehicles need tires. May Goodyear quickly Roll into my market!

Michael Decker
BrainTrust
Michael Decker
Vice President, Marketing Strategy
2 years 6 months ago

Roll feels like a refreshing upgrade to the traditional, age-old “three hours in a dirty garage with bad coffee” tire shopping experience. Tires are a consumer durable that demand high customer engagement (lots of choices and high price) on a very low frequency (every 50,000 miles!). This combination provides the perfect opportunity for physical retail concepts to shine.

Consumer research begins online, of course, but it is the in-store experience with a knowledgeable salesperson AND compelling display that closes the sale.

Today’s consumer is time and attention stretched, so providing an inviting “in-store shopper moment” with the opportunity to leave and shop while you wait is a clear differentiator in the category would be appealing to all generations, in my opinion. If Roll is proven successful, we will see an immediate ripple effect with competitors opening similar shops in lease-starved malls across the country. Great idea.

Dave Nixon
BrainTrust

A great first step toward reinvention for a tired category BUT, how about Goodyear extends this into a mobile concept at the point of need, like a rolling virtual showroom? Then when they find a vehicle with a flat or are alerted to a need (great app option) they can define what tires or sizes are needed, alert a distribution center and have the specific tires delivered to the “scene” and put them on in the field without a physical retail concept that many folks only visit out of necessity? If the Goodyear rolling service vehicles also did basic roadside maintenance you’d get even greater brand adoption. A radical change in this category is needed.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

As others have pointed out the new Roll concept has many positive attributes. However, that photo indicates a nice but apparently fairly small showroom. For those that don‘t elect to wait for their vehicle shopping elsewhere there appears to be few places to sit, no TV to watch, no coffee, etc. Hopefully that is a mock up rather than a real showroom otherwise it sends a message, “we really don’t plan on you staying here — find a place to go while we change you tires.”

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

This concept is all about the other person’s showroom, not Goodyear’s. Bring customers in, drop off the keys, and shop other stores. It is also about location. This can generate business, but very dependent on the rep on the floor. It takes away inconvenience by allowing customers to multitask and bundle their car service with more exciting shopping.

Car service is tied to time in store. Jiffy Lube, Pep Boys, etc. all have internal timing requirements for their services — Goodyear is doing something a bit different to eliminate the time constraint. Not sure of the ripple effect — it will be a watch and see for most competitors.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust
…”Amazon.com has also gotten in on the act with a nationwide deal whereby Sears Auto Centers…” Wait! This will work only if you can find these centers in the future. Now with this new Goodyear concept: customers can select the products they want in the showroom or shop online. I think gear heads like me can go online, but the vast majority will have to go face to face. Internet sites like TireRack.com can help if you have some basic understandings on what you need, and feel it is imperative to do research on tires. I venture that 90% of people must be told and sold in the facility … and then “showrooms with contemporary design elements” — spending 90 minutes waiting for tire installation isn’t an enjoyable event. The picture of this customer area I think would be painful for 90 minutes of doing basically nothing. At least give me a soft chair and perhaps the news on television. Discount Tire and Les Schwab Tires are two environments I can hang for 90 minutes.… Read more »
Joanna Rutter
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

I think I’m the target market for this: I am a millennial whose poor car is currently sitting in my driveway with a flat tire (same tire I spent hours patching and balancing this weekend). I want this pleasant, prettier tire purchasing experience! Auto is a relatively undisrupted vertical in retail. Winners notice bad experiences first and capitalize on making them better faster.

Brian Kelly
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

In 1997, Sears Auto Centers embarked on a new selling model, to be the “Starbucks” of tire buying. It was NTB. Its promise was “to not treat you like roadkill.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

What we learned is customers care about quality of the work performed (people +product) and the time it takes to get it done (systems+people).

Depending upon the location of the store, and the vehicle demography in the trading area, assortment and price were of variable importance. Higher HHI required HP tires, lower HHI required truck tires.

In 2000, we began a new customer recourse program for Sears Auto Centers called the “Speed and Expertise Guarantee.” Despite a legacy of problematic customer experiences in both tire and battery categories, Sears Auto Centers enjoyed double digit growth for the next two years.

The selling model must be focused on multiple factors simultaneously to ensure customer satisfaction, and in the end, it happens at the store level. Properly trained associates with engaged leadership is crucial. Associates are the brand stewards.

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

This definitely seems like a decent revamp of a buying/service experience which is really not fun currently, and for some, very offputting and even intimidating. I think part of Roll’s appeal will be that the design looks unlike anything you associate with tyres and therefore customers may feel like they’re not going to be bamboozled with jargon, or possibly even ripped off for not being knowledgeable in that area.

I really like the idea that you can drop your vehicle off and then shop surrounding spaces while the tyres are changed. In my experience at least, tyre fitting places and garages are usually based on the outskirts of town or in industrial estates so your options are limited. And the mobile installation option offers even more convenience, which might stop people putting off getting new tyres!

David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
Marketing Strategy Lead - Retail, Travel & Distribution, Verizon
2 years 6 months ago

The Roll concept offers a lot of great features to make tire buying easy and convenient, which will be embraced by time-starved Millennials. The mobile installation van seems like it is the ultimate in convenience, as the consumer wouldn’t have to drive anywhere of the tire service.

The showroom seems least appealing part of the the Roll concept, as it doesn’t look like someplace that anyone would want to hang out. Overall, I think it is a great concept that will do well.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Just thinking this afternoon … if Goodyear plans to locate in areas dominated by other successful retailers, their rent will not come close to the rents they are used to paying in the typical lot. And they won’t be able to persuade the landlord that they should get a better deal because they draw customers. These new concepts will have to turn and burn to maintain proper ROI.

Min-Jee Hwang
Guest

There’s a lot of apathy in this category from car owners, so while it’s good that Goodyear is trying new things, it’ll be tricky to get buy-in from consumers. Tires just aren’t that exciting, and plenty of car owners ignore routine maintenance such as this. Ideally, the concept drives some interest and gets people interested in tires.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Buying tires is largely an inconvenient 'grudge' purchase. Goodyear’s approach to making the process far less inconvenient solves the right problem."
"Auto is a relatively undisrupted vertical in retail. Winners notice bad experiences first and capitalize on making them better faster."
"...how about Goodyear extends this into a mobile concept at the point of need, like a rolling virtual showroom?"

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