Looking to help its tire dealers more effectively compete in the online tire sales world, Bridgestone Americas plans to acquire TireConnect Systems, a Canadian software developer that offers a turnkey online tire sales tool.
The acquisition is expected to close within 30 days, and the resulting Bridgestone TireConnect online sales and ecommerce solution will be available to Bridgestone dealers and distributors in the first quarter of 2016.
The move makes Bridgestone the third major tiremaker to stick its foot into the direct-to-consumer online sales waters. In January, Goodyear launched its scheme while in mid-2015 Michelin bought two online tire sales business in Europe.
Bridgestone said the “will allow Bridgestone, its dealer network and distributors to better meet the needs of today’s digitally-minded consumers by providing a simple and fully-integrated tire buying experience from online to in-store.”
Based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, TireConnect Systems was founded in 2012 by George Silagadze. Both he and Chance Harrington, vice president of business development, will join Bridgestone as part of the acquisition.
According to the TireConnect Systems website, its software tool “helps customers and service advisers find and price tires. It can be used on your website and in-store.” The system gives users the ability to access all of their suppliers inventory, control labor and tire prices by location, create up-sell opportunities, set disounts and specials, recommend and prioritize tire brands, and generate regional and location area reports.
The product is currently deployed at some 600 points of sale across Canada and the U.S.; Bridgestone did not say the transition with its ownership would impact current customers.
“We constantly look for new ways to grow our business, while also empowering and growing the businesses of our dealers,” said John Baratta, Bridgestone Americas president of consumer replacement. “We know that we need to be active and aggressive in the increasingly digital marketplace. The acquisition of TireConnect will allow Bridgestone to create a direct path to online tire buying that collectively benefits our dealers, distributors and consumers.”