In what might at first glance appear to be a franchise, Point S Tire & Auto Service businesses across the globe share a common look, operational approach, online presence and warranty. Yet quite unlike a franchise, those same dealers – the owners of locations within the Point S USA and Tire Factory cooperative – own, run and profit from the national Point S organization. Led by a governing board of nine owner/dealers each elected by their owner-peers to serve a three-year term, the 200-plus independent tire businesses are part of what is often described as a “brotherhood” of independent dealers united under the Point S banner across 20 states with plans to grow.

A majority of U.S. Point S owners came together Feb. 14-16 for the company’s 2019 Owners Meeting, which took place at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas.

The event combined updates from the leadership teams, product updates and training from key vendor partners, and a chance for attendees to network, catch up and learn from one another. Key partners presenting at the event included Goodyear, Hankook, Michelin and Nokian, with a special interest in Toyo, a line now available to Point S dealers after the tiremaker discontinued its long-term exclusive relationship with Les Schwab Tires at the start of this year.

Meeting announcements and highlights include:

A Celebration of Strong Growth

In a year of industry disruption and limited growth within the replacement tire space, Point S USA enjoyed healthy gains and continued momentum. Eighteen new owners joined the organization and four new markets were added – locations in Nebraska, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Unit sales for the U.S. organization overall saw an increase of 11%, with increases in Net Promoter Scores for the brand, now at 69%, which is considered to be among the “gold standard” of companies nationally.

No Stress with Point S

Embracing the Point S global marketing slogan “No Stress with Point S,” attendees of the dealer meeting were introduced to a new marketing approach intended to use emotion as a hook to attract consumers to the brand with the promise of an easy, stress-free experience. Scott Thompson and Devin Barr of MBT Tire Marketing presented details behind the new marketing approach and programs designed to reinforce the Point S brand as an easy solution for consumers with tire and auto service needs.

The goal was to provide some “teeth” behind the slogan’s promise with measurable and actionable steps that reflect how the Point S dealer minimizes the inconvenience of buying tires and having work performed on a vehicle.

The “No Stress” campaign is supported by a new online platform also introduced at the event, the All-Trac Platform. This proprietary new technology is designed to support in-store customer management and an easy customer experience while adding digital conveniences for the customer. According to Steve Helstrom, director of IT and operations at Point S USA, the new digital platform will support continued same-store growth in an evolving digital landscape by offering customer scheduling, reputation management and reviews, declined services management to boost sales and other conveniences.

New programs include:

  • Online scheduler – Part of the new All-Trac Platform, Point S has developed an online appointment-scheduling tool for customers, fully integrated into owners’ websites. Through the platform, consumers can purchase, pay and schedule installation through their favorite Point S location. Available appointment times can be customized by each owner, then confirmed by phone or text through the system.
  • One-Hour Promise – In the interest of a positive installation experience for busy consumers, Point S is introducing a “1-Hour Promise” in tandem with the online scheduling tool. Customers that schedule their appointment online receive a guarantee that the work will be done in an hour (with some exceptions, such as run-flat installation, wide-diameter applications among others).
  • 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee – Further removing the stress of the tire-buying process, if a customer does not like their tires for any reason, they can return them.Membership within the Point S co-op allows for marketing support, access to digital tools, business support, volume bonuses, as well as patronage from their own inventory and unit purchases and a share in the profits of the company. The co-op group owns and operates four distribution centers: Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; and most recently, Memphis, Tennessee.

The 2020 Point S Owners Meeting is planned for the Paradise Point Resort in San Diego.  

This article was originally published in Tire Review.