Blackcircles network tops 2,000 as mobile sales motor

Online tyre retailer today said its network of garages and fitting centres has topped 2,000 as it flagged a rise in sales via mobile devices.

Blackcircles founder Mike Welch. Picture: Contributed

The Borders-based firm, acquired by French tyres giant Michelin in a £50 million deal last year, said its fitting network – which stood at about 1,300 a year ago – now has more than double the locations of Kwik Fit and other high street competitors combined.

Chief executive Mike Welch, who founded Blackcircles in 2001, said: “Right from the start, we have relied on building high levels of goodwill with our customers and that has been converted into the recommendations that have fuelled our growth since.”

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Welch, who left school at 16 to become a tyre fitter in Liverpool and launched his first tyre business in his teens before being headhunted by Kwik Fit, also said that more than 50 per cent of visits to the Blackcircles website were made with mobile devices.

Marketing director Nick Leonard added: “Customer data is showing us that increasing numbers of people are now sitting at home in the evenings, usually in front of the TV, or at work on a weekday morning and purchasing tyres online.”

“Overall, it’s a big deal because the vast majority of our new customers have never bought tyres online before. Whether on a smartphone, tablet or desktop, people know they are only a short drive from a fitting centre.”

Leonard said the retailer has also seen a “steep increase” in new customers, 80 per cent of whom had never bought tyres online before.