Unic flashlight: E-commerce initiatives and touchpoints at First Stop

Guest: Patrick Marciniak, Senior Manager E-Commerce First Stop
Topics: E-commerce initiatives and touchpoints at First Stop

What distinguishes the sales organisation at First Stop?

First Stop is a pan-European network of independent tyre dealers with more than 2,000 service centres in 25 countries all over Europe. Over the years, we’ve set up various touchpoints to provide the customers with an all-round service: the First Stop dealer, the central call centre, email and the online shop. The major challenge is for all channels to have the same information about an order, so the customer can move seamlessly between the touchpoints.

What significance do e-commerce initiatives have for First Stop – a company with a dense dealer network?

Self-service is a central paradigm in our industry: customers inform themselves about our tyres instead of visiting a branch. Our present generation of customers makes heavy use of online options, especially Google – so the electronic channel is of strategic importance to us in the customer service area.

What were the main goals in launching the First Stop online shop?

The online shop is a central communication interface among First Stop, the independent tire retailer and the customer. Our goal is to convince the customer that we are the right tire partner for him and we want to accompany the customer on his way to the right tire. Therefore, we capitalize online consulting.

How does the customer benefit from the online shop?

The online shop provides a high level of convenience in addition to our other channels: regardless of the service centre’s opening times or their location, customers can obtain the information they need. Based on sound information, such as test results and EU standards, the customer can choose the right tyres and organise the tyre change and other services.

We would like to close this interview with your personal evaluation. In your opinion, which central e-commerce trend affects your company?

As a retailer with a geographically wide sales network, the issue of location-based commerce is central: we want to provide the best service based on the context and the situation, and the customer’s current location is an important factor here.

2017 – Trends, business cases and strategic steps

Customer expectations are higher than ever before: In the course of purchase decisions, the experience factor is becoming more important than the price or specific product characteristics (Customer 2020, Walker). Therefore, we are convinced that in 2017, in order to increase commitment to their brand, companies will have to take a closer look at how they inspire their customers in the digital world.