Can Sam’s Club’s new app really cut tire shopping down to 5 minutes?
Customers shopping for tires at Sam’s Club could find faster, more accurate recommendations from store staff thanks to a new app the employees in automotive will have on their tablets.
In July, associates at Sam’s Tire and Battery Center will begin carrying tablets loaded with the Sam’s Garage app, according to a press release. The app reportedly will allow associates to help visitors select the right tires in only five minutes, reducing the average time from the 30 minutes typical of the old, desk and catalog-based setup.
The app will also give associates immediate access to customer-specific information, such a recent purchases, type of car, tire rotation schedule and other facts. It will also let them know which windshield wipers and battery are required for the automobile (listing in-store stock first). Sam’s has plans to expand the functionality of the app beyond just tire buying to improve the shopping experience throughout the Tire and Battery Center.
Studies have indicated that customer-facing employees find themselves to be more effective in their roles when armed with appropriate sales floor technology like tablets. Retailers, however, have been slow to adopt such solutions due to costs and concerns over misuse. In specialty areas like automotive, some also question whether technology will bolster the expertise of store staff or if it will enable retailers to bring on workers with less expertise.
Source: Sam’s Club
Purchasing cars and car-related products and services can be particularly intimidating for customers, and others in the retail world have likewise begun trying to streamline the experience.
Last year, tire brand Goodyear announced the launch of a five-store pilot of its new store concept, Roll by Goodyear. Roll is a tire shopping showroom decorated more like an Instagrammable ice cream parlor than a traditional tire shop, and it has been designed to give customers easy, omnichannel options for tire installation.
Walmart, owner of Sam’s Club, has also launched a few automotive-related initiatives in its main stores over the past few years, such as a CarSaver store-within-a-store concept in 250 locations geared to easing the car buying process. Walmart has also developed a partnership with Advanced Auto Parts to bring car shoppers information online.
- Sam’s Club’s Newest App Cuts Tire Shopping Time to Less Than 5 Minutes – Sam’s Club
- Why are so many associates being deprived of tech by their employers? – RetailWire
- Will GoodYear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important is it for retailers to use associate-facing technology to help speed the sales process along? Is there a chance that reliance on technology could reduce the personal touch that some retailers are famous for, and how might retailers balance personal expert staff recommendations with app-based ones?