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Harnessing networked connectivity to become the largest tyre retail chain in the world, Point S continues to grow its independent retail model in Asia.

14 Sep 2018

In Singapore's car tyre aftermarket industry, we generally view retailers in two ways - either the big, multi-shop distributors, or the small, independent shops. Point S is a company that envisions a way to combine the two - to create a fully independent network of tyre retailers.

Point S is the largest tyre retail chain in the world, with 4,100 retail locations spanning 35 countries
Who or what is Point S? The Point S trademark was established in 1971, with independent business entrepreneurs coming together to form a tyre dealer association. Established initially with 50 members, the Point S has expanded its operations throughout Europe, and subsequently into America and beyond. Now, it is the largest tyre retail chain in the world, with 4,100 retail locations spanning 35 countries worldwide.

Leading with independence

Crucially, where Point S departs from more 'traditional' retail models is its cooperative business model - it is an entirely independent retail chain, with ownership shared between all of its franchisee shareholders. The business model was founded in France on the co-operative model, with each franchisee having the opportunity to become a shareholder. This model has since been exported to other countries as well, all the while retaining the one key tenet of independence.

Independence offers several keys benefits, according to Fabien Bouquet, Chief Executive Officer of Point S Development. Among them, there is full control over the brand image, communications and marketing, as well as the ability to set its own objectives and agenda. And of course, the members always come first - the profitability of Point S members is at the forefront of the brand's operations.

Point S brings multiple independent retailers under a single brand banner, offering improved purchasing power
So what does Point S offer to independent retailers? Quite simply, it's strength in numbers. By bringing together multiple independent retailers under the Point S banner, this provides better purchasing power, helping retailers purchase products at better prices.

However, Point S is more than just a purchasing group. As Mr. Bouquet tells us, "The identity of Point S is the image of a brand, for professional B2B customers and end customers as well. Beyond giving members preferable purchasing conditions, Point S also helps retailers with communications, marketing and advertising." Point S provides the individual retail outlets with the necessary materials, information and training with regards to professional business operations and practices.

That said, the individual retailer does not relinquish control and branding of the outlet. Rather, Point S adopts a co-branding approach, allowing individual retailers to retain their shop front and operations, whilst helping to consolidate services, expedite marketing and communications, and reduce the individual running costs of the outlet.

A key element of the continued success of the Point S brand is the consistency of its concept
Tyre supermarket

As far as products go, Point S believes in a multi-brand approach. Its retailers stock tyres from various manufacturers, offering customers a full range of choices. Additionally, the company also rolled out its own in-house private label tyre range in 1995. This multi-brand approach is something we don't see so commonly here in Singapore. Often, different tyre shops tend to stock different specific brands. The logic to this is simple - beyond their relationship with the various manufacturers, independent shops would not tend to have the purchasing power nor the capacity to stock and store tyres from all brands.

Key to the brand's continued growth is the consistency of its concept, says Christophe Rollet, CEO Point S France and Vice President, International Headquarters Point S Development. By delivering best pricing on its product, as well as maintaining a consistently strong brand presence, Point S has managed to constantly grow its number of stores and penetrate 35 countries worldwide.

Mr. Cristophe Rollet (left) highlights the Group's ability to adapt to the specficities of each market
At the same time, the brand's success can also be attributed to its ability to adapt to the specificity of each market - understanding the maturity of the market, the profile of customers, as well as the specific challenges that each market presents.

Beyond tyres

Point S has also evolved its business model to provide more than just tyres. Across the globe, Point S retailers also sell spare parts and car accessories, as well as providing car maintenance services. 

And of course, the business model is a flexible and ever-evolving one, able to respond to different market conditions and requirements. In Europe, for example, Point S has two distinct concepts. 'Point S City' is based on the proximity concept, with small stores located near to customers within cities. This is important, as there are certain cities such as Paris that doesn't allow for stores with more than one service bay. Subsequently, as you move further out towards the more suburban areas, larger multi-bay facilities can be developed. This is what the company terms 'Point S Autocentre', essentially a megastore providing a broader range of products and services.

More than just having favourable purchasing conditions, Point S also helps retailers with communications, marketing and advertising
What's next?

Asia, clearly. Asia is a key expansion market for the company, says Mr. Rollet. It's a continually growing and maturing automotive market where Point S can offer its branding, purchasing capabilities, as well as its quality of service.

In its bid to expand into the Asian region, Point S Development opened a Representative Office in Singapore in 2017 to conduct market research and feasibility studies within the Asian region. The Group's flagship store for South East Asia also opened in 2017 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The store covers a size of 20,000 square feet with eight service bays, a 3,000 square feet showroom with a Pirelli Performance Centre, a BFGoodrich corner and has the space for parking up to 20 cars. 

Point S Development opened a Representative Office in Singapore in 2017 to conduct market research and feasibility studies within the Asian region
Network power

The success of Point S is predicated on its ability to harness the power of an interconnected network. By having multiple interconnected retailers under a single, recognisable banner, Point S is able to provide end customers with multiple professional options. Instead of having to parse through different shop listings, Point S wants to provide customers the convenience of being able to step into any of its multiple retailers and be assured of quality products and services.

To find out more about Point S, you can check out its website at The Point S Development Represenstative Office in Singapore is located at 541 Orchard Road #09-01 Liat Tower Singapore (238881). The Chief Representative, Mr. Ler Hwee Tiong, can be contacted at [email protected]

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