A new look for Euromaster
Modern design and enhanced functionality. Cristiano Oliviero, CEO of Euromaster Italia, says "one needs to know how to detect changes if growth is the desired goal"
Not simply a restyling. Behind Euromaster’s renovation, a new and modern look for the network’s retail shops, Cristiano Oliviero, managing director of Euromaster Italia, has a very specific idea in mind: "the transformation of tire shop into multi-service centre". The aim is to improve both the offer as well as the group’s image, keeping pace with the changes taking place in the automotive sector. The project, which required several months of study and in-depth market analysis, is based on a few set guidelines that Euromaster network affiliates must keep in mind when starting their transition. In practice, it is a question of understanding what kind of services to offer within the centre, how to set up a customer reception and relationship management process, how to integrate IS-IT methods and tools and how to establish a more effective communication protocol using digital tools.
What motivated you to innovate your network?
"The need to give a sign that we believe in changes, moving from being a classic tire dealer to a multi-service centre. Everyone is talking about this trend but we have decided to invest in it. It sounds simple, but in reality it's a huge step. It requires vision and courage”.
How did you manage to implement your project?
"We reasoned by elimination, getting rid of what was superfluous. We went beyond the idea of creating only beautiful or large flagship shops for just a few priviledged. Rather, we focused our attention on creating a modular project, able to enhance the value of all our affiliates and, above all, pointing our multi-service centres in the right direction. The final result is a mirror of what Euromaster will be like in the future. Not only in terms of image, but also processes and relationship with the customer. This new concept, first launched in September 2018, in Riccione, Italy, has attracted a lot of interest among the 190 affiliated stores in the network. And in 2019, the first two pilot centres, Elvis Gomme in Domodossola and Panciroli in Crevalcore, became operative".
What can one expect to see upon entering a new Euromaster shop?
"The first thing a customer will notice immediately after entering is a Euromaster specialist standing in front of a car with its bonnet open. Quite revolutionary for a network that has always been deeply rooted in the world of tires. All in-store communication has been adapted to assign the same weight to the two businesses that will support the shop’s future: tires and light mechanic work. This change of identity must be clear for our customers right from the word go. Our centres can boast real experts in the field of routine service and maintenance, and customers who come to us can request a tire change, service, brake assistance or any other service for that matter".
Customer relationship, no doubt, is playing a vital role in this renovation. What does it consist of?
"It is fundamental. In the tire business, customer relations were consolidated many years ago, when product offering and physical proximity were the most important business elements. However, the world is changing, and modern networks place welcoming the customer and communication strategies in the middle of the picture. This means having to rethink spaces and how a shop communicates with the clients. In simple terms, a higher welcoming concept, which places the tire dealer on a par with the most modern workshops: a bright and welcoming waiting room, free Wi-Fi, tidiness and cleanliness. And where possible, a large window that allows the customer to see the work being done on his vehicle without having to step into the workshop. No need for huge investments, and even small spaces can serve the purpose. What counts is putting customer care right in the centre of the design process".
Can you give us some examples?
"We focused much of our attention on the shop's acceptance counter. The traditional workshop counter is high and stands between the customer and workshop staff. This has been functional for years, managing the exchange with the customer and, at the same time, ensuring a protected area in which to do all administrative work: invoicing, payments and authorizations. Today, with the advent of digitization, the volume of paper is reduced and it is possible to have, depending on the degree of maturity and the attitude of the operator, a different set up: a much lower counter that does not serve as a physical barrier. The design of the counter is an important factor in influencing the behaviour of those who live in the shop.
In addition to the counter, you have changed also the area around it. Why so?
"This was to encourage a much more effective relationship with the customer: speaking with the customer while standing next to them, has a different impact than doing so behind a traditional counter. This brings the client and the specialist closer making it easier to explain things and ultimately sell a product or service. All this without leaving the area where we have all the tools needed to produce a quotation and manage each activity”.
Digitization represents another novelty. How did you manage to achieve this?
"We have worked on this for many years, and now we are able to provide our centres with a complete package ranging from a "traditional" computer system to new applications for tablets able to improve communication between the workshop and the reception, besides modern tools for automatic recall and mechanical assistance management”.
So you have built a digital ecosystem within the workshop.
"Yes, all the tools are able to “talk” with each other. The new layouts are consistent with these ideas. Digitization makes it possible to clean up things streamlining operations and eliminating unnecessary paper. The customer contact areas next to the counter are not only used to illustrate and explain the quotations, but also to show, on a tablet, the result of the 12 checks on the car, a fundamental operation in our working method".
Communication strategies are the last piece of the puzzle. How is it different from the past?
"Traditionally, tire dealers based much of their communication on a complex mosaic of racks loaded with tires and brand logos taking up almost all the space available. Instead, we have tried to direct the communication towards a marketing strategy dedicated to the network and its affiliates rather than the producers. Our layout is based on a simple concept: the communication inside the store centres around the network and the identity of the affiliate. All the elements present in the store are coordinated and communication is well-balanced between tires and light mechanics. We need to stress this: good communication is based on a few clear messages. This is often enough to have a new image in the eyes of the customer".