2017 marks 80 years of growth and innovation at Stapleton’s
…but the firm’s key philosophy remains the same
This year Stapleton’s celebrates 80 years since Sydney Stapleton set up his business in a simple parade of shops at 195 High Street, Watford in 1937. An entrepreneur of terrific dynamism and foresight, he was among the few to spot and take advantage of the fast-growing market for tyres. A decade on, in the post WWII years, the company’s total weekly wage bill amounted to the princely sum of £20. It’s safe to say in this 80th anniversary year the wage bill’s grown considerably now Stapleton’s employs some 1,100 staff at eight regional sales offices and eleven distribution hubs nationwide. It’s also safe to suggest that Sydney Stapleton would be staggered by the scale of his old business, with a current stock capacity of 1.5 million tyres available at any given time.
Like most years in the company’s history, 2017 has been a year of solid, yet characteristically understated, success – all carefully focused on the company’s long-standing commitment to backing its retail partners in every way possible.
It is, of course, well known to all the company’s manufacturing and retail partners that a key part of that commitment is Stapleton’s stable of exclusive brands, including pedigree names such as Nexen, Maxxis, Matador, Riken and Event to name a few. And this year saw Nexen in particular collaborating with Stapleton’s to launch their latest summer tyres at the opulent Wyboston Lakes hotel and conference centre.
Exclusive to Stapleton’s in the UK, the Nexen N’Blue HD Plus HP and N’Fera SU1 UHP launch on 15 June summer tyres was described as “quite an event”, attracting Nexen dealers from all over the UK for a day of white-knuckle driving experiences courtesy of PalmerSport at the Bedford Autodrome. An evening of hospitality proceeded at the hotel encompassed with a presentation from Stapleton’s Wholesale director Nigel O’Hara, Brand Manager Luke Marsden and guests from Nexen themselves.
As is typical of Stapleton’s exclusive brands, Nexen offers tyre retailers a range of choices – and ‘choice’ is a recurring theme when dealers are asked what Stapleton’s can give them to help boost the bottom line. With 25 patterns and over 300 product lines of HP, UHP, 4×4 / SUV and Van tyres, that choice includes a product for the majority of vehicle marques available in the UK.
In addition to comprehensive Key Dealer Programmes packed with marketing support, branded workwear, POS materials and preferential pricing that come with the exclusive brands, Stapleton’s has been busy supporting retail partners nationwide with a range of innovative marketing initiatives including total branded shop refits, van wraps, signage and more.
Maxxis celebrates 50 years
Stapleton’s are not the only ones celebrating an anniversary in 2017; Maxxis commemorated its 50th anniversary this year. Exclusive to Stapleton’s in the UK and originally founded in Taiwan in 1967 producing bicycle tyres, over the last half century the highly regarded manufacturer are now recognised as a top 10 global tyre supplier, distributing to over 170 countries worldwide. Maxxis heavily invests in R&D with five research facilities around the world supporting work to produce award winning tyres such as the Premitra HP5.
On the IT side, things are moving just as quickly. Shortly after the turn of the millennium Stapleton’s released an industry first with the introduction of ProfitLink, the online ordering system – and last year TyreSurf took that initiative to its logical conclusion by providing retailers with their own personalised, transactional websites so that they could be open for business 24/7. By putting the entire Stapleton’s network at the fingertips of retail partners – and indeed of their own customers – the company ensured Stapleton’s retailers have the best possible chance of staying ahead of the ever increasingly competitive online market.
In the same spirit, Stapleton’s has been installing AVC facilities in retailer premises over the last couple of years and 2017 has seen retailers really reaping the rewards as in-store video communications prove popular with customers and drive additional revenue. Of course, the immediate benefit for the motorist is it provides entertainment whilst waiting for your tyre-fitting or repairs – but for the retailer it’s a huge bonus, allowing them to promote products and services, build trust and even sell advertising space to other local businesses.
All in all, 2017 has been a very auspicious year for what’s already proving to be an elevated customer experience adding huge value to the dealer’s offer!
Since Stapleton’s was the first in the industry to go online, it’s only fitting that they continue the tradition of innovation – and among this year’s many developments Rapid in particular exemplifies Stapleton’s pragmatic, thoughtful and customer-focused approach to innovation. If, as mentioned above, TyreSurf took the ProfitLink concept to its logical conclusion by hot-wiring retailers and their customers into the Stapleton’s online network, Rapid makes the vital connection between fast, efficient online ordering and an equally dynamic delivery network.
Like all the greatest ideas, the Rapid collection service is simplicity itself. By offering the customer effective access to its Sister Company Kwik Fit’s retail stocks as well as Stapleton’s own, meaning the consumer potentially has access not only to Stapleton’s stock of some 1.5 million tyres but also to the combining holdings of 740 retail locations nationwide, a staggering 2.25 million tyres or more.
Customers simply search for tyres in the normal way on ProfitLink. If they’re needed outside their standard delivery time, they can use the Rapid search button to scour retailers in their local area for the tyres they need. Once located, it’s a simple matter of adding the tyres to your basket, receiving a security PIN, giving the name and registration number of the person collecting and heading to your local store to collect.
And appropriately enough for a company committed to supporting its retail partners, this year Stapleton’s have come up with a with a new online customer reward platform entitled My Thanks. Customers on certain rebate schemes receive the considerable benefits, simply by having any payments they’re due converted to points so they can use them on the rewards site. These are uploaded to a very user-friendly website where each user can check their progress towards the rewards they have set as their goal. Points can also be redeemed against a fabulous range of possibilities from Christmas shopping and charity donations; from health and beauty to home and garden; leisure and entertainment to exciting experiences, days out and more.
“The My Thanks initiative is just one of many ways in which we’re working for our people and our partners. And I think the overriding strategy that’s guided us throughout 2017 is pretty evident from the long catalogue of innovations and enhancements we’ve made to the service we offer our retailers,” said Wholesale director Nigel O’Hara, concluding:
“I believe that what made Sydney Stapleton a great entrepreneur was his ability to anticipate the needs of a market in its infancy and deliver what was necessary for growth. 80 years on things are not so very different. It might be a far more mature and highly sophisticated market – but we’re still every bit as determined as ever to keep our ears to the ground; to keep up the constant conversation with our retail partners that keeps us right up to date with the latest challenges they face. It’s all about maintaining that sterling standard of support and service, giving the retailer the choice, quality and competitive edge they need to succeed and keep on succeeding”.