Saleh Taebi might have started his business in a niche market, but it’s grown well beyond that.
Mr. Taebi is the founder and CEO of CanadaWheels, an e-commerce site that sells car tires and rims.
He says the site grew out of frustration with the way rims were sold. Traditionally, consumers shopping for rims have had to deal with a limited selection at auto shops, and a lack of transparency around pricing made comparison shopping difficult, he says.
“If you go with a Porsche to a shop they might quote you something,” Mr. Taebi says, “and then if I go with a Honda Civic, they might quote me something else.”
Mr. Taebi’s approach is the opposite – show customers every option of product available.
While he initially just sold rims, he soon began offering tires as well – opening the door to a much bigger market, one he says was underserved by existing e-commerce sites.
“We have over 200 brands of wheels and tires; we show clients everything they can potentially get for their car,” he says.
Customers start by entering the make and model of their car. They’re then presented with all the options for their specific vehicle.
“When you put in your year, make, model and you hit ‘wheels,’ we show you in real-time what’s in stock closest to you, which is also guaranteed to fit your car,” he says.
By using customers’ locations to match them to warehouses nearby, CanadaWheels can reduce shipping time and costs.
The site also has a visualizer that shows users what different rims will actually look like on their cars.
“It wasn’t a simple e-commerce site that we put up,” Mr. Taebi says.
The site has also started partnering with local auto shops that install the products it sells.
Mr. Taebi credits much of CanadaWheels’ growth to word of mouth.
Local head count
Key markets or customers
Product or service
E-commerce site selling rims and tires
Three-year growth percentage
646.36 per cent
“We never had that push sales philosophy,” he says. “It was always about setting up that pull sales strategy where people come to you because you’re good.”
CanadaWheels is particularly active on social media – it has more than 42,000 fans on Facebook and works to build an active community there, encouraging customers to send in pictures of their cars and show off their new rims.
“We’re doing a lot of things right,” Mr. Taebi says. “We never promise anything we can’t deliver.”
He says the next step for CanadaWheels will be to expand its offering beyond tires and rims, adding other car parts and accessories. The company is also planning an expansion into the United States under the name USA Wheels.
“The biggest challenge is understanding that having challenges is entirely normal,” Mr. Taebi says. “Just knowing that we’ve got to make this better, we’ve got to make this faster, we’ve got to offer more products, we’ve got to do more partnerships; that’s been the main thing, getting used to this feeling.”