In August 2021, the people behind Blackcircles ZA announced that the company would tap into “the enormous growth of e-commerce in the country” by launching Blackcircles.co.za in South Africa. Four months later at the end of 2021, the site went live.
On the one hand, most sources agree that online tyre demand is booming as a result of the pandemic and its related lockdowns. However, on the other hand, such rapid growth has also led to increased competition online. One way of finding which tyre firms are getting ahead in the online space is to consider the race for pole-position in Google search results. Since Google is the by far the biggest search engine online holding a dominant 92.47 per cent global market share as of June 2021 (87.7 per cent in the UK specifically), getting your brand ahead of the competition in search results makes a big difference. And paid search advertising, known as pay-per-click (PPC) – is one way to do that. In order to get a handle on the tyre retail sector’s virtual performance in 2021, Tyres & Accessories worked with SEO marketing specialists Evolved who analysed the organic search and PPC performance of the top 23 UK-based etailers and concluded that online specialist Blackcircles is taking ground from bricks and mortar market leader Kwik Fit, amongst other things.
A new partnership with DriverReviews gives Hankook Tyre UK a means of supplementing its consumer-facing website with user reviews. The fruits of integrating the DriverReviews platform can already be seen on Hankook’s UK site, and the tyre maker plans to roll out the concept in further markets next year.
Michelin has added the last 60 per cent of leading French tyre e-tailer Allopneus to the 40 per cent stake the leading tyremaker bought in 2015. Michelin now “intends to develop its knowledge of customer behaviour and the purchasing process and thus continue to offer the best possible experience, from online information seeking, right up to tyre fitting”, company representatives wrote in a statement dated 25 August.
In addition to reporting strong first quarter 2020 sales growth, Tirescanner reports that it has added more locations, and has added three new senior figures to its ranks. Graeme Bissett, previously chairman at TireScanner founder Mike Welch’s previous tyre business Blackcircles.com for 12 years, will advise the board on governance, finance and strategic matters.
Tirescanner, the US-based tyre e-commerce, has announced sales and customer growth of 400 per cent in the quarter covering January, February and March 2020. April and May have continued the same trend with the company predicting another record quarter.
The Tire Industry Association (TIA), which lobbies for tyre safety in the USA, has announced the nominations for the 2019 Board of Directors. Four individuals will be elected to serve on the TIA Board for a three-year term. The voting period will end on Sunday 1 September 2019.
After years of expansion amongst the top 20 UK tyre retailers, the latest data shows that this trend peaked in 2017/2018 when the top 20 accounted for 2014 branches. The same 20 tyre retailers had 1980 branches between them in 2018/2019. And what’s more, the reorganisation of one retailer alone accounted for a 40-centre decline in branch count, with the overall figure remaining positive due to growth at other chains. Here Tyres & Accessories analyses the branch count data in the context of 10 years of comparable research.
Well-known online tyre retail business Blackcircles has launched a website in Thailand. The business, which entrepreneur Mike Welch OBE founded at the turn of the millennium and sold to Michelin for £50 million in 2015, can be found at blackcircles.co.th.
Full Circle Partners, the investment advisory firm co-founded by Blackcircles.com founder Mike Welch has launched a new property fund. FCP Property Development Fund will provide loans ranging from £250,000 to £2.5 million. It has reportedly already invested approximately £6 million and could raise that to £20 million in the next year or so.
As reported at the start of the month, an eBay tyre fitting service is now available in the UK in partnership with Blackcircles.com. The service was launched at the time of the year when the days grow shorter and motorists should prepare their vehicles, particularly their tyres, for winter roads. Kevin Steward, head of sales, Vehicle Parts & Accessories, UK Trading at eBay, has written the following tips for tyre sellers hoping to capitalise on this season’s winter tyre market.
The tyre fitting partnership between eBay and Blackcircles.com trialled in 2016 is back. Promoted as a “fitting option for seamless tyre buying experience,” the new arrangement allows for the fitment of more than 10,000 unique tyre products purchased via the ebay.co.uk site at one of more than Blackcircles 1,200 partner locations throughout the country.
Mike Welch, the founder of UK online tyre retail website Blackcircles.com, has been appointed to the board of US online tyre retailer SimpleTire. Welch has taken up the position of strategic advisor for the company, which sources inventory from independent suppliers and ships to the customer’s chosen location.
Michelin has launched Click2Sell – a website solution the company refers to as “a flexible ‘website in a box’ that helps dealers build their online presence and attract new customers with ease”.
While wholesalers have done similar things, Click2Sell is believed to be the only tyre manufacturer-backed website-building package to allow dealerships in the UK and Ireland the freedom to promote their chosen tyre range online. And, what’s more, the range can be either primarily Michelin tyres or a premium competitor. Click2Sell is open to any dealership.