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BRIDGESTONE has opened its doors to a fresh store interior design, a year after changing the external design, in a bid to boost customer numbers in Australia’s $5 billion tyre industry.

The new-look interiors for Bridgestone Select stores are being rolled out now and come 13 years after the business first launched its retail franchise model under that name.

It is also a continuation of a plan by Bridgestone to appeal to customer needs, according to Bridgestone Australia director of sales Heath Barclay.

“When we launched Bridgestone Select, we did the unexpected by removing tyres from the showroom,” he said of the 2006 launch.

“Our goal was to create an environment that didn’t look, feel or smell like a tyre store and provide a clean, welcoming environment.

“This next iteration of our store interior is about redefining the customer experience again.”

Mr Barclay said consumers were constantly exposed to the remodelling of stores from all types of retail businesses.

“The McDonalds of today is vastly different to that of three years ago, and the revamp of Caltex saw the introduction of the Foodary,” he said.

“Our new stores set us apart from the rest of the industry and, of course, our beloved gecko on the wall adds a spark of personality to the room.”

The new-look interior is a complete change to the company’s current reception and waiting area, with a contemporary design and materials that reduce its environmental footprint such as LED lighting, timber and recycled tyre rubber flooring to create an industrial look.

Bridgestone Select started changing the exterior of its stores last year, adopting a vibrant red facade.

Mr Barclay said red had always been a colour associated with the Bridgestone brand.

“Our new stores and stores that are undergoing refurbishment are becoming even more recognisable to customers seeking out our brand,” he said.

“Our goal was to set Bridgestone Select apart and with our commitment to providing the best possible customer experience, I believe our new interiors, combined with our great level of service, will lead to high customer satisfaction.”

Bridgestone Select was recently named as the winner of Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers – Auto Servicing category, as well as the Reader’s Digest Gold Quality Service Award for the tyre retail category in 2018.

Tyre retailing in Australia is worth about $5 billion a year and is growing at the annual rate of about 1.3 per cent, according to a June 2018 report by IBISWorld.

It said the growth was modest because, although there were more cars on the roads, people were travelling less kilometres in a bid to reduce their running costs.

Tyre sales were also being affected by the trend to smaller cars that tend to travel longer distances on their cheaper tyres, congestion on roads that deter some people from using cars, and population densities are increasing in cities where cars may not be needed.

IBISWorld said there are 2069 tyre businesses in Australia employing 11,500 people.

By Neil Dowling

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