There's nothing sexier than tyres. At least that's the impression one might get from looking at a Pirelli Calendar. Not that you see that many tyres in The Cal™. A lot of gorgeous women, not many tyres. 

The automotive industry, including the wheel and tyre sector, can often feel a little like it’s stuck in some kind of Jeremy Clarkson timewarp. However, even it is making some concessions to the changing times. It has to, with the likes of Tesla, Google (through its subsidiary Waymo), and even Apple looking to revolutionise the way we drive and use cars.

A recent example of a company looking to change with the times is American tyre company with its new prototype boutique retail offering called Roll by Goodyear.

Roll is an interesting example of how businesses can reconfigure what they offer to tap into new, potentially lucrative market segments. It's also another example of companies in traditionally male-skewed product categories waking up to the fact women buy their products, often in great numbers, and there’s money to be made if you’re smart to that fact.

According to Goodyear, Roll came about following a great deal of consumer research that found many people, men and women included, found buying tyres to be an onerous and time-consuming task. The upshot of the research was that it would be a good thing to make buying tyres quicker and easier. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but sometimes even the most obvious things can elude big companies and even whole industries.

It’s usually blindspots like this that disrupters exploit. Alarm bells should always ring when the prevailing attitude in a business or industry is ‘that’s just how we do things?’

“Roll by Goodyear makes buying tires easier,” said Fred Thomas, vice president and general manager of Goodyear Retail, in the company’s media release. “Guests can choose when, where and how to install their tires and they are in complete control of the process from start to finish. Goodyear is eliminating the waiting room and giving people time back in their day to do the things they really want to do.”

Again, it's not rocket science. However, what's especially interesting about Roll is the concept and the look of the store tested very well with Millennial women. The design of the store is quite elegant. You can see why young women might be keener to pop in and browse the store for a new set of tyres than in your standard blokey tyre shop. It does look a little like an upmarket shoe store — but with tyres on the wall.

Source: Goodyear

Another factor that might be underlying this trendier, more customer-focused concept is that Goodyear is vying with other tyre companies for the loyalty of the Millennial generation, which is now well into its car ownership years. Hook them in young and they might stay loyal for a lifetime, so the thinking goes. That line of thinking is maybe not as sound as it once was, but it’s certainly a consideration. 

Of course, it will take more than a beautiful showroom to win young people and women over. Excellent service and convenience are a big positive though. 

Companies that have traditionally marketed their products to men can no longer ignore women or treat them disdain. There's too much money to be made to do that. Aside from being the Chief Purchasing Officers of the Home, women are also making decisions for themselves about what they want to buy. Women are far less likely to rely on a man in their life to go and buy tyres for them these days.

Goodyear's Roll is just one example of the way modern businesses have to rethink their approach to selling. It's not exactly revolutionary, but it's a welcome bit of forward-thinking in a sector not noted for its progressive thought.