MTS eyes mid-range opportunities as prices rise, develops e-commerce offering

The reduced buying power of the pound is one of the few persistent themes in this period of Brexit induced flux. For the UK’s tyre distributors, it also compounds the effects of rising raw materials prices, and wholesalers must negotiate this period to help support retailers and their already slim margins.

As one of the UK’s largest players, Tyres & Accessories asked Micheldever Tyre Services how it was negotiating these market conditions. The wholesaler states that it has taken on this challenge by targeting “the opportunities that have arisen from the movement in prices between premium, budget and mid-range tyres.”

It is the latter of these traditional segments that MTS says has provided the best prospects, since the price gap between mid-range tyres and budget tyres has narrowed sufficiently to enable independent tyre dealers to maximise their margins, while also promoting better quality tyres at an attractive price to their customers.

Alan Baldwin, MTS sales director, comments: “With the movement on prices between premium, mid-range and budget, there has been a fantastic opportunity to offer a significantly better alternative for a negligible additional outlay. By doing so, garages are not only providing their customers with better quality tyres, but also improving their own profitability.

“It’s a key message we have taken to our dealer network and one we would hope to see them utilise to the benefit of their customers and their business.”

Developing TyreClick

An overarching trend for the wholesale sector in recent years has been the importance of supporting dealers with e-commerce solutions, and MTS has continued to develop its TyreClick platform. The wholesaler launched a “major upgrade” to TyreClick this year – “one of the biggest and most significant investments in TyreClick since its launch in 2014, including a number of new design and user functionality features.”  The design and structure of the site has been overhauled to increase engagement, professionalism and deliver a more contemporary aesthetic, with responsive design implemented to increase user functionality across mobile devices. Visitors accessing TyreClick via mobile phone have increased considerably in the past year, MTS adds, predicting that it will be the most common way to reach the site in six months’ time.

Further features include a more refined search option to allow users to filter out specific tyre brands and tyre types, and an MOT booking facility, enabling users to submit their registration number to identify any upcoming MOT, which will then allow the user to book their test instantly online. The upgrade has been implemented to deliver two key objectives for TyreClick, MTS states: to improve Google SEO effectiveness in order to drive more search traffic, and to reflect the latest usability and website design currently available. The latest figures show a 90 per cent increase in sales value for those selling through the site. Its supports more than 900 transactional websites, linked to independent tyre retailers, each with their own local URL.

MTS has also invested in people with the creation of TyreClick Leaders’ at each of its regional offices to ensure the teams are fully trained in all things digital to advise their customers. Baldwin adds that MTS is “not going to stop investing in the site, as we continue to press on with our ambition to have the best tyre selling site in the business and ensure our partner dealers have the best opportunities to sell or compete online.”

MTS also offers lots of trials with third parties. For example, Media Hawk – a technology that can track phone calls – has been used to help support follow-up phone calls after the website captures a sales lead. “It’s part of our commitment to helping provide the dealer network with the most suitable technology to meet their customer needs,” MTS states.

While MTS continues to support its network through a programme of localised benefits, including demographic and stock profiling, mystery shopping, pricing intelligence, training, e-commerce development and local marketing activity, these technological approaches seem to be yielding results. MTS’ most recent consumer survey, conducted via interviews with hundreds of tyre dealers of all sizes, showed an average score of 8.5/10, a 0.3 increase on last year’s survey topping figure of 8.2, against criteria including marketing and business support; pricing; delivery reliability and stock availability; and breadth and depth of ranges and brands. The company said the survey shows a consistently higher score than its competitors for all criteria across the survey.

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