Playing not to lose: Tire Rack

Swapping snow for summer recently, a kind service tech mentioned that it was time to replace my warm weather tires.

I thought a bit while he researched several in stock options. Having purchased tires from before, I looked for them in the app store. Alas, no app, just a “responsive” website. I gave the website a try on my large iPhone. The experience, at best was not great, at worst tedious and unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the service tech returned with several options, and after offering a reasonable, installed price, I agreed to the Pirellis.

Later, driving with the new tires, I considered the possibilities:

A. What would a great tire app experience be?

B. Why has tire rack avoided an app experience?

C. Have the SEO types won the day at Tire Rack? In other words, playing not to lose?

Some ideas:

1. Simplify

The user takes a photo of the car (and tires/tread?). The app recognizes the car and displays options. Tap to buy (and schedule with my calendar).

The Shazam app experience offers inspiration.

2. Auto-populate details

a. Add metadata including my location, date and time.

b. Leverage car connectivity, from bluetooth to CarPlay and Android Auto.

3. Reminders

a. Seasonal

b. Maintenance

c. Measure wear via the camera app?

d. Use notifications wisely, with an occasional calendar event.

4. Sensors

Presumably smart tires loom.

Might the tire companies leverage the data and build relationships with smartphone users, perhaps part of, or around auto systems?


I sense that the ingredients are present, if not imminent for an interesting and useful app.

Further, will the auto information layer include an orifice model – my way or the highway – or, will a bazaar approach emerge, where suppliers offer their own services, as part of or around the integrators?