Bond launches Tyregiant.com
It is certainly not the only development to take place within Bond International during 2011, but the wholesaler’s recent launch of Tyregiant.com is likely to be the most headline-grabbing. Over the years various sources representing all the UK’s largest tyre wholesalers have spoken of their capability of offering an online retailing capability, but up till now few – if any – have ventured onto the information superhighway. The solitary pioneering effort in this area was Grouptyre’s GoodTyreGuide, which ambitiously seeks to fuse retailing, reviewing and wholesaling through its membership of whole operations. A year on from that, with the jury still out on whether this concept has delivered the kind of results expected at launch, Tyregiant is pitching itself as a straightforward retail site for consumers. The clever part for Bond (a company that has always shied away from retailing itself so as not to alienate its business to business customers) is that, like GoodTyreGuide before it, it is seeking to offer additional business to its customer base rather than itself becoming a competitor.
“Many shops simply don’t capitalize on what’s available to them. Post Itochu expansion (the Japanese conglomerate now owns the largest wholesaler, its retail chain of 100 plus branches and the UK’s largest retailer – Kwik-Fit), many independent dealers are wondering where they fit in… The largest wholesalers are no longer pure wholesalers, but are rather massive retailers,” Bond International managing director told Tyres & Accessories in a recent interview, adding: “We want to make sure they are still there in five years time.”
Recent years have seen Bond International invest heavily in IT support with a strong bias in favour of improving its on-line services so customers can order with a ‘real time’ view of all aspects of the business. For example any customer using the on-line (fastrac) system can be informed of the exact time a delivery is expected, plus if a POD is required a request can be made via fastrac where a PDF document will be sent directly to the customer’s computer. This is said to have resulted in an increase in on-line B2B sales (as a proportion of overall sales) from 26 per cent to 33 per cent , with a further 3 per cent growth reported in 2011 so far.
Tyregiant is the next logical step for the company and is seen as another good example of how the company has evolved in recent years, with Steve Tidmarsh taking an active role in the development of this project, along with marketing director Richard Croft.
Using its parent company’s 40 year’s worth of experience and current sales levels of over 2.5 million tyres annually to differentiate it from fly-by-night Internet startips, the Tyregiant brand is aimed squarely at consumers and is able to boast 500,000 tyres in stock from day one. Despite being a new venture Tyregiant.com reports that it operates a network of more than 600 accredited fitting centres nationwide and has a fleet of over 100 vehicles delivering directly to fitting stations, Tyregiant promise to make sure the tyres ordered reach the fitting station exactly when they say they will, at a time to suit the customer. How? Through the wholesale business’s dealer network. The idea is simply to drive more retail business to its customers and at the same time put more wholesale business through its own books.
The new site offers all the leading tyre brands and more such as Dunlop, Goodyear, Continental, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Michelin, Firestone, Yokohama and Marshal as well as a full telephone help service on (contactable on 0800 652 0761) where operators already process 10,000 enquiries every day.
As well as investing in web design and search engine optimisation (SEO), Tyregiant has sponsored races at York, Doncaster, Beverly, Ripon and Redcar as a way of raising the brand’s profile. The retail operation sponsored a race on each occasion and a hospitality box at York. Check tyrepress.com and the October edition of Tyres & Accessories, which includes a special e-commerce feature, for further details on Tyregiant’s approach and reporting on the launch of the new e-tail operation.