Label remains under utilised
Both small and large operators are still failing to include the label in the sales process In July, more than 700 tyre retailers were contacted as part of research into the EU label’s role in the sales process. It so turned out that, during this voluntary period, the label didn’t register as a significant factor. Only four of the more than 700 retailers mentioned the label during the sales process – a tiny 0.6 per cent, a figure well and truly within the margin of error in any survey. On 1 November the voluntary period drew to a close and the sale of passenger car and truck tyres in Europe must now involve a label. In light of the label’s compulsory status, Encircle Marketing revisited the question of its role in the sales process.
To gain an insight into label’s current application as a sales tool, in November Encircle Marketing called a total of 4,700 fast-fit network outlets, main dealers and independent garages throughout the UK. During these 4,700 calls, sales staff mentioned the label on 287 occasions, or 6.1 per cent of the time. Encircle’s findings can perhaps be seen as encouraging, considering the results gleaned in July, and it seems that some – but not all – of the large retail chains have grasped the label’s sales potential.
Hats off to Halfords Autocentre and ATS Euromaster; the label gained a mention in a respective 48 and 21 per cent of all calls made to their outlets. In contrast, representatives at some other major fast fit chains – including the country’s largest – made little reference to the label. Only three per cent of calls made to Kwik Fit resulted in the label’s use as a sales argument. Protyre Micheldever staff mentioned the label ten per cent of the time, not a bad result when placed alongside Kwik Fit’s but still lower than the figures for Vauxhall’s MasterFit (12 per cent) and Peugeot’s (11 per cent) main dealer service centres. On average, main dealers mentioned the label 8.4 per cent of the time.
The greatest disappointment was that the independent local and regional garages still don’t seem to appreciate the label’s benefit as a sales tool. Only three per cent of Encircle Marketing’s calls to regional independent garages resulted in the label being mentioned, and this figure declined to two per cent in calls to the local outfits. This represents a lost opportunity for the independents (and others). In April, consumer magazine Which? reported that 90 per cent of the approximately 4,000 people it spoke to were unaware of the label’s existence, yet when explained the label’s function and purpose, 70 per cent said it would influence their buying decision. With budget brands continuing to be a popular choice for UK motorists – the segment gained 3.4 per cent market share in 2012 to a total of 38.3 per cent (as reported on page 41) – outlets selling these products could do worse than to capitalise on their sometimes surprisingly good label results.
As for which individual brands were recommended on the basis of their label results, Avon, at 11 per cent of the total, was the only one to reach double figures. Encircle Marketing points out that Avon’s high result was achieved through the efforts of ATS and Halfords, who were responsible for 57 per cent of its recommendations. Equal second place for recommendations, at eight per cent each, were Michelin and Goodyear; again, Encircle notes that 61 per cent of Michelin’s recommendations came from ATS and 21 per cent of Goodyear’s were from Halfords. Sharing this second place with the two premium brands was the budget segment. Premium brands Pirelli, Dunlop and Bridgestone each accounted for seven per cent of recommendations, and Continental five per cent.