Point S network’s growth relies on multi-service centres and independence
While celebrating half a century in business Point S looks at the future aiming to become a multiservice vehicle assistance and maintenance network
While celebrating half a century in business Point S looks at the future aiming to become a multiservice vehicle assistance and maintenance network. According to the international group, this objective can only be achieved through qualified operators, entrepreneurial independence, new and powerful IT systems and, above all, through a combination of products and services offered to all customers. The idea behind this strategy is to strengthen customer loyalty policies and to provide its members with the necessary tools to face the changes taking place in the automotive sector and consequently in the car repair sector. We talked about this with Lidia Komjanc, managing director of Point S Italia, and Corrado Bergagna, member of the board of directors of Point S Italia.
Lidia Komjanc, Point S is celebrating 50 years in business what should we expect for the future?
"Point S is a long-standing independent network of tire specialists: 2021 represents an important milestone as we celebrate 50 years of activity worldwide, but it also marks a starting point for the challenges that await us in light of the economic and structural changes taking place in our sector. In the wake of our 50th anniversary celebration, we are engaged in several commercial and promotional initiatives dedicated to our members and end users, supported by international marketing programs and carried out in collaboration with our main tire partners. In any case, the focus and work of our team remains intense on building the "Point S value package" aimed at providing our members with the necessary tools, including new services, products and related promotions, to successfully face the future. One of our main goals is to increase the flow of visitors to Point S centres to increase the overall business volume of the Point S retail network in Italy, keeping an eye on the opportunity to expand further in the Italian market.
What are the strengths of the Point S network?
"Independence and multiservice. These are the two key factors on which Point S will builds it value. This has allowed us to grow and today we are present in 42 countries with 6,000 points of sale and over 23,000 employees. In our traditional segment, we sell more than 18 million tires from the world's leading manufacturers. As for the Italian market, after establishing Point S Italia in 2016, we have now reached 165 points of sale. There is more than just strategies behind these results, we have conceptualized the idea of a network based specifically on the independence of our affiliates and the implementation of new programs and new business models that will allow us to support the growth of our Italian network also in terms of quality of service, increasingly and strengthening the "multiservice" model.
What does independence mean for Point S?
"The independence enjoyed by our members is the cornerstone of Point S' philosophy: a dealer who joins our network does not lose his or her identity nor do they lose the ability to outline their own sales and business strategies. The entrepreneur remains free to make choices: what we do as Point S is to provide our partners with an objective to pursue and provide a series of levers to guide his business plan, aimed at making the most of all the opportunities to diversify products and services, knowing they can always rely on our support with promotions, marketing activities and training. The goal is to enable our franchisees to grow first and foremost as entrepreneurs and increase their value. This teamwork allows each entrepreneur to be rewarded for the hard work, and the network in general to become increasingly solid and reliable towards customers and to refine its market strategies."
Corrado Bergagna, the other aspect of the Point S network is the idea of encouraging your members to become multi-service centres. What is this all about?
"The idea of multi-service centres is not new, but it has become a fundamental choice for those operating in this field. As Point S, we think it is essential to move towards this model and that is what we are doing. In fact, from a network made up of specialized tire dealers, we have now upgraded to a network made up of all-round service centres capable of "taking care" of a vehicle as a whole. And there is more. A multiservice centre must be able to meet the needs of customers by offering tailor-made services. Today, in fact, an operator must be able to supply adequate vehicle maintenance and assistance as well as collateral services".
How do you promote Multiservice in Italy?
"First we need to overcome some preconceived ideas that persists among several retailers and operators, and this is an issue that concerns the entrepreneurial culture. When we talk about multiservice, the image that comes to mind is of huge retail points and workshops, but the approach must be different. The emphasis should be on services that can be offered to clients, based on one’s skill and the available space. A multiservice must be able to provide both technical assistance and services capable of meeting the needs of the customers when they come in. One needs to analyse the business, understand what the customers need or want, understand the economic and social context in which to operate, analyse the potential of the location and then steer the business in that direction. As Point S, we help our affiliates to grow along these lines by providing the tools to do so".
Lidia Komjanc, does your Point S branded tire also fit within this picture?
"Point S brand products, which have been sold around the world for many years and over a wide range (tires, accessories and spare parts), are an important strategic factor for the network. Point S Tires are produced by Continental exclusively for our network: these include summer, winter and 4-season tires and cover most of the European market. It is therefore an important tool made available to Point S members to promote customer loyalty. Moreover, we have recently launched an initiative to combine Point S tires with an insurance policy created exclusively for us by UnipolSai, which gives our members the opportunity to offer customers a product with high added value, such as risk coverage in case of damage or puncture, but also the combination of tailor-made assistance services, such as roadside assistance, substitution or reactivation of safety equipment in case of accidents or a new set of keys if the original one is lost. This offer was designed to move away from the logic of just selling tires and embrace the "multiservice" approach, as Corrado explained.
Corrado Bergagna, another important issue for networks relates to the digital approach, something you also addressed in the e-forum event.
"The e-forum was a great opportunity in favour of a new digital approach for the Italian network because in two months we organized not just an event but a new way of coming together and communicating with members replacing the traditional annual appointment that takes place in a physical location. The event was very well attended and allowed us to take the pulse of the network on the use of new communication and sharing tools as well as allowing partners the right setting to introduce products and promotional campaigns. During the 15 days of the e-forum, the most important themes in our sector were discussed thanks to the participation of many experts. In addition, we introduced an innovative “live” formula made in a television studio with the participation of great athletes, opinion leaders and network members, which enhanced the concept of sharing and growth by combining, for example, sport with the values of entrepreneurship: sacrifice and teamwork. Finally, I would like to emphasize that exchanging ideas is a fundamental element for success: this is why I believe it is important for Point S to join Federpneus, not only for the training opportunities it offers but also for its role in enhancing the professional approach and expertise of the sector’s specialists and in overcoming together the challenges facing our sector".