Amazon.com Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. have added another layer to their working relationship. Consumers shopping for tires on Amazon.com can now have them shipped to any Sears Auto Center for installation. The install service applies to any automobile tire purchased on Amazon, including tires offered by marketplace sellers.
Amazon and Sears began testing the service option at 47 Sears Auto Centers earlier this year. It is now available at all Sears Auto Centers. There were 442 Sears Auto Centers, according to Sears’ 2017 annual report. The company plans to close several dozen auto centers this year, according to published reports.
Amazon began facilitating installation and other services in 2015, when it launched Amazon Home Services. Through it, a customer buying a treadmill on Amazon can book a local handyman to put it together in the same transaction. Since then, other retailers have begun offering similar services to online customers. For instance, Ikea Group bought TaskRabbit last year. TaskRabbit connects local service providers to consumers, such as those who need help putting together Ikea furniture. Walmart Inc., meanwhile, has an arrangement with Handy, a platform for services.
Shopping for tires on Amazon today, consumers see a “Get Professional Tire Installation” message on all tire product pages, below the price and above the product description. Clicking the “Select a Service Option” button opens a pop-up displaying nearby Sears Auto Center locations. Consumers can read customer reviews of the locations and select the delivery location and schedule an installation time, or decline to use the service. Tire installation starts at $19.99 per tire and is backed by Amazon’s “Happiness Guarantee,” which says if the service is not completed as described, Amazon will work with the provider to correct the issue or refund the cost.
“Providing excellent auto service, such as fast installation and free Performance Snapshot evaluations, is at the core of our business and partnerships,” says Mike McCarthy, vice president and general manager of Sears Automotive, noting a positive response from consumers to the test program. “By working with Amazon, we’re proud to further meet and surpass that commitment, thanks to the ease and convenience of their program.”
Amazon isn’t a shopping destination for tire shoppers today. According to an Internet Retailer analysis of SimilarWeb data on organic and paid traffic for “tires” searches, Amazon accounts for less than 1% of organic traffic. It also did not get any paid traffic from “tires” searches during the collection period of February to July 2018, however this may mean Amazon wasn’t buying paid search ads with that term. The retailers that received the most organic traffic for tires searches are DiscountTire.com, with 22.5% of organic traffic, and TireRack.com, with 21.9%. A distant third is Walmart.com, with 8.2% of organic traffic. Tire Rack is No. 134 in the Top 1000.
Amazon began selling DieHard car batteries, battery chargers and other associated products online through a wholesale arrangement with Sears last year, where Amazon is the seller of record. Sears owns the DieHard brand. Amazon also sells Kenmore appliances, another Sears-owned brand, on Amazon.com.
Sears, No. 24 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, has seen its sales online and in stores spiral downward. Sears’ online sales declined 11% in 2017, and total revenue fell 24%.
Amazon, No. 1 in the Top 1000, saw its web sales climb 22% last year.