In October 2014’s Wholesale feature, Tyres & Accessories asked whether Europe’s independent tyre wholesalers still have a future in the context of the German company Ihle Baden Baden’s failure and subsequent sale to Michelin. Pointing to the lightening of the business due to such factors as the price transparency offered by e-commerce (and online marketing) we wondered whether the value of the relationship between customers and their suppliers had become more tenuous, relying only on price and reliability of deliveries. Should these two considerations become the only weapons in a wholesaler’s arsenal, T&A suggested that their role becomes more akin to a specialised freight forwarder.
First Stop has acquired the services of a new retail business consultant from the fast fit industry. A former retail business manager, and Blackcircles.com area network manager, Dave Hull will play a key role in the company’s attempts to expand, while also stimulating sales from existing First Stop partners, the network stated.
In the context of large chains and online specialists growing in influence, Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), Britain’s largest independent wholesaler, distributor and retailer of tyres, states that its proprietary TyreClick solution could provide an answer for independent garage businesses. The increasing popularity of online tyre sales in European markets, recently noted by Michelin after purchasing Blackcircles.com, is resulting in increased competition for online sales from national chains and specialist internet traders. Recent movement in the online landscape has ignited the debate among independents about how they can compete, and Micheldever says it is stepping into the breach with TyreClick.
Michelin chief operating officer, Florent Menegaux told Tyres & Accessories that the manufacturer would promote synergies with ATS Euromaster following its acquisition of Blackcircles.com. Speaking to Tyrepress following the announcement of its £50 million purchase, Michelin’s chief operating officer said that the UK’s biggest online tyre retail operation would gain “access to ATS Euromaster branches in the UK”, which numbered 343 in the recent T&A survey of the retail landscape.
Michelin has bought Blackcircles.com, the number one internet tyre sales company in the United Kingdom, for £50 million. Based in Edinburgh, Blackcircles.com generated £28 million in revenue in 2013. Run by Mike Welch, its founder, Blackcircles.com has enjoyed growth of around 20 per cent per annum since 2008. The company reports that the first quarter of 2015 saw the company achieve revenues 34 per cent higher than Q1 2014.
Blackcircles.com has launched a sales initiative with a lifetime guarantee. The online tyre retailer is offering a range of “Quality Choice” tyres as a step up from its Value Choice range. Like the lower-priced tyre, the Quality Choice does not specify a brand and model, though it does show tyre labelling grades, instead using its own branding on the website’s point of sale. Unlike the Value Choice, Blackcircles.com is offering an added incentive to customers choosing the Quality range; the online retailer will replace the tyre “in the very unlikely event that your tyre develops a fault due to the manufacturing process or materials used.”
When Blackcircles.com appointed two new directors in early November, it was about more than simply expanding the range of experience available to the firm. It was also about driving the company’s international expansion plans forward. Tyres & Accessories recently caught up with founder and managing director Mike Welch in Edinburgh and found out more about […]
Buying tyres on tick is nothing new across the pond, but a newly-announced deferred finance scheme from Blackcircles.com is said to be a UK first. The online tyre retailer says its ‘buy now pay later’ offering will enable motorists “feeling the pinch in the lead up to Christmas” to avoid the risk of driving on worn, potentially dangerous tyres. Tyres can be obtained now, with payments deferred for six months.
Blackcircles.com has received one of the highest Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of 2014, best-of-class against its industry peers and also ahead of well-known international brands like Amazon, Apple, Mercedes-Benz and Aldi. The company’s NPS of 84 is based on customers’ likelihood to recommend a brand to others and is calculated as the percentage of customers who are ‘Promoters’, rating the business 9 or 10 on a zero-to-ten point scale, minus the percentage who are ‘Detractors’, rating 6 or lower. It is viewed as the leading customer experience metric and provides a strong indication of a company’s relationship with its customers.
British tyre brand Dmack has agreed an exclusive UK supply partnership with Blackcircles.com for its passenger car tyre range. The online tyre retailer will offer Dmack PCR products to its customers and retail partners from January 2015. The deal has been in the making for a few months; having participated in 49 World Rally Championship events since it burst onto the international stage, winning accreditation in September 2010, Dmack has developed passenger car and commercial vehicle ranges for global markets. Manufactured by Shandong Yongtai, with British moulds and R&D, managing director Dick Cormack told Tyres & Accessories in April that the brand would compete as an aspirational mid-range brand, and would seek “the right partners” to achieve this. In Blackcircles – themselves in a period of business expansion – Dmack’s management believes they have found the right partner in their home territory.
Blackcircles.com has appointed two new directors to drive the company’s international expansion plans forward. Alastair Grier takes on the role of commercial director and Nick Leonard joins as director of digital and customer acquisition.
Blackcircles.com has signed a headline sponsorship deal with ITV for the broadcaster’s coverage of Formula E series of races which begin on 13 September in Beijing, China. With the final race on the streets of London on 27 June 2015, other city locations on the calendar include Beunos Aires, Miami, Monte Carlo and Berlin. ITV will be broadcasting live and highlight shows on ITV4, ITV4HD and ITV4+1, with catch up also available on ITV Player, itv.com and ITV Player Mobile app across online and mobile devices.
Following the news that Blackcircles.com opened its fourth PitStop Click&Fit tyre bay in Glasgow at the end of June, Tyres & Accessories spoke with the company’s founder and managing director Mike Welch in order to find out more about the company’s plans and hints that it is courting investment this year.
Blackcircles.com has opened its fourth tyre fitting Tesco PitStop, and first in Scotland, at Tesco Extra in Silverburn, Glasgow. The PitStop is operational and opened for bookings on Saturday 28 June, with the first tyres being fitted on Monday 30 June. The first PitStop Click&Fit tyre bay was opened in Milton Keynes in July 2013. Since then, additional PitStops have been opened at Tesco Extra stores in Bar Hill, Cambridge and Handforth, Cheshire.
The influence online tyre retailing is growing so fast that 20 per cent of Europe tyres sales could take place online by 2020. That’s the view of market analysts at Frost & Sullivan, which also reports that the influence of the internet on the auto industry can be seen in the continuous growth of the eRetailing market for automotive parts in general. According to the analysts, eRetailing of automotive components has given aftermarket participants a fresh boost and presents a new sales channel dynamic enough to be in sync with evolving macro-economic conditions and also flexible enough to address customer needs by offering a personalized shopping experience.