One of the toughest decisions when building a car is, without a doubt, making your wheel choice. While we have a greater selection than ever before, at even better price points, working your way through the hundreds of styles, available in confusing amounts of finishes, PCDs, offsets, and disc clearances, can be a real head-scratcher. And then you’re trying to imagine just how they will look on your ride — a conundrum that can leave you staring at the wall of sample mags for hours on end, in a futile attempt to make a decision. One that may have you finding out the hard way that the wheel you eventually choose doesn’t clear your brakes or rubs on your front struts.
It’s a process and a predicament that one of New Zealand’s oldest and largest mag wheel wholesalers, DTM Wheels, knows all too well, and that’s why they have spent the last 24 months working on their new kiosk system — a project that is currenting rolling out to showrooms nationwide, and will likely change the way you purchase your next set of wheels.
Typically, when purchasing in-store you’d be greeted with a wall of sample wheels of which probably only 10 per cent would actually be suitable for your application. Then you’d be hunched over the counter looking at the salesperson’s screen as he explained why half the wheels you like don’t fit your application. This is where the kiosk comes in — a larger than life touchscreen-based system that allows you to browse the entire DTM range, spanning 12 brands.
The first step involves selecting your vehicle type, narrowing the selection down to every style available for that vehicle, which you can then narrow further via selections like brand, size, or finish.
Due to the kiosk’s physical size, you’re viewing them in real life size, and joining each wheel are images from DTM’s ever growing gallery of real world examples, so you can get a true indication of exactly what your new purchase will look like on your car. Once you’ve made an informed selection, you can even select a set of tyres to go with it. It’s like online shopping, but with that personal service, knowledge, and advice you’ll only get in store.
That’s why the concept is proving very popular, as DTM’s Sales and Marketing Manager Brendon Tordoff explained: “The kiosks have been in the pipeline for nearly two years. We installed the first trial unit in store at Top Town Hamilton a year-and-a-half ago, to put it to the test and ensure it would last. Top Town saw 90 per cent of its sales made through the kiosk, so it’s definitely been a hit in there.”
The true star of the kiosks is actually DTM’s fitment guide — the difference being that, unlike many companies that purchase their fitment data from overseas, DTM’s was painstakingly built by them for the New Zealand market. And being online allows it to be updated on a near-daily basis.
“Many years ago we ran on spreadsheets like most wholesalers do, but in doing that you keep making the same mistakes, supplying the wrong wheels time and time again, as no one was tweaking the data. It was a nightmare. Now, everyone works off one online fitment guide, from the retailer to our call centre staff. Whenever we tweak it, or add a new vehicle, each kiosk instantly receives it.” Brendon continues. “But, as cars are changing rapidly, it's extremely hard to keep on top of it.”
While the kiosk concept is nothing new in other retail sectors, it’s a first for the wheel market, and will change the wheel buying experience for the better, especially those in the smaller centres as it opens up a wider range of wheels to the consumer not lucky enough to live near one of the larger retailers which may have hundreds of wheels on display. So, the next time you wander into a DTM retailer, let your fingers do the searching and take the pain outta choosing your next wheels.