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Retailing through digital platforms

Retailing through digital platforms

By TA News Bureau:

It is unthinkable in today’s world that a customer needs to drive to the auto parts store – ‘bricks and mortar stores’ – to buy windshield wipers or to the local tyre store or to the local discount retailer for fuel additives or the local lube shop for oil change
The global tyre industry is in the grip of innovation disruption that is changing the face of transportation and mobility beyond recognition. It is spreading across the board at a pace, throwing a huge challenge to R&D initiators. Old concepts suddenly look archaic and new ideas keep on impacting performance. Tyre retailing is one area where traditional ideas of delivering services has taken a big blow from revolutionary new concepts of selling products and offering wholesome services.
Malaysia-based MisterTyre has developed a mobile app for home delivery of tyre related services, which it claims is the first in the world. It brings tyres, battery, engine oil etc home. Dennis Melka, Co-founder and Executive Director, says it is unthinkable in today’s world that a customer needs to drive to the auto parts store – “bricks and mortar stores,” as he calls them – to buy windshield wipers or to the local tyre store or to the local discount retailer for fuel additives or the local lube shop for oil change. He says new digital platforms and mobile service delivery will disrupt traditional tyre distribution channels globally.

Excerpts from the interview:

Tyre retailing segment is undergoing a lot of changes to reach out to customers. How different is Mister Tyre’s mobile services from other “home delivery” packages? Is it more about car care than tyre care?

Tyre retailing is largely unchanged for last 40 years and the entire business model is built upon the requirement of the customer driving to a fixed location for service. We see an opportunity to provide customers more selection at lower price points at more convenient times at their preferred locations (home or office).
We provide an end-to-end comprehensive solution for car owners through an easy-to-use mobile app that has dozens of product manufacturers competing for the customer’s order including professional installation. Customers order through the app, they choose the services they require through the app and our professional technicians arrive at the customer’s preferred location and time for the installation. Currently we offer (i) emergency tyre repair and battery service; (ii) new tyre sales and installation; (iii) front wheel alignment and rotation; (iv) oil change; (v) battery sales; and (vi) PureCar an anti-bacterial car treatment; in the coming weeks, we will be expanding the services to rim sales, brake pads and engine-tune up. Our model is a marketplace model in that we have all product price-points to match every customer’s budget. We are an independent e-commerce marketplace offering maximum selection to customers which is very different then bricks & mortar stores who have limited selection.
Our model has numerous advantages over bricks & mortar locations which have limited service hours and limited product stock (many retailers are affiliated with certain manufacturers thereby limiting customer choice). Also, we offer free of charge professional installation of products which Amazon, FlipKart or other ecommerce only platforms are not able or chose not to do. Our prices are lower by appx 10-15% than bricks & mortar locations as we don’t have the high real estate overheads and we offer free installation. Our long operating hours allow customers to choose service times convenient for them, not the garage – our most popular slot is 22:00! Drivers today are stressed for time and want the best service at the best prices – this is what we provide and why we are growing so rapidly.

How does your smart phone app works? How have you integrated technology into it and how do you make it foolproof?

Through the smart phone app, the customer inputs their car’s details and they will have access to the product marketplace with products specifically matched to their car type and brand. They choose the products, service location and time best for them. We arrive at the scheduled time and our professional technicians will do the service. 95% of our customers rate us five stars.

What are the logistical challenges you face in providing services?

At the moment, there are none but certain jurisdictions may have restrictions on road-side works which means the service location options need to be thought carefully about.

Do you provide services to fleets and other commercial vehicles? How do you manage such operations where large and heavy tyres and other parts need to be transported?

At the moment we service up to 24” rims.

Please elaborate on your service fleet. How big is it and how many staff are involved?

We are adding a van every two months based on organic demand. We currently have three vans operating in Kuala Lumpur and purchasing three more.

Do you plan to take your services overseas?

Our model works well globally, we are now exploring launching operations in Singapore and the USA and expect to be operating in both countries by 1Q 2019.

Are you focused on B2B or B2C?

Both. There is strong interest from Fleet owners, such as car sharing providers, who value our solution as we dramatically reduce their vehicle downtime. Current car sharing providers lose two days of vehicle time for simple repair work as they must take the car off-line and have staff drive to a garage, leave the car at the garage, then drive the car the car back into the required location after the repair work is done. With our solution, they simply load the car details into the app and schedule the service at the preferred time and location dramatically reducing vehicle downtime to <1 hour compared to +48 hours previously. For certain car sharing providers, we carry in stock their most common tyre and battery tyres which means we can service their vehicles almost instantly.

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