NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone Americas has struck a deal to buy TireConnect Systems, a Canadian software company that's developed an online tire sales tool that that links retailers to wholesalers and provides consumer e-commerce capabilities as well.
The acquisition, expected to close by mid- to late November, will allow Bridgestone, its dealer network and distributors to meet the needs of today's digitally minded consumers more effectively by providing a fully integrated tire-buying experience from online to in-store, Bridgestone said.
Financial terms are not being disclosed.
“At Bridgestone, we constantly look for new ways to grow our business, while also empowering and growing the businesses of our dealers,” said John Baratta, president, consumer replacement, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.
“As the world's largest tire and rubber company, we know that we need to be active and aggressive in the increasingly digital marketplace. The acquisition of TireConnect will allow Bridgestone to create a direct path to online tire buying that collectively benefits our dealers, distributors and consumers.”
The TireConnect software tool allows dealers to get full credit for online tire sales, while also remaining in control of their inventory, pricing and labor/installation costs, Bridgestone said.
A plug-and-play solution, the TireConnect tool works with Bridgestone dealers' current websites, providing a seamless research and purchasing experience between consumers and their preferred local dealers.
The tool also improves efficiency, saves time and delivers enhanced speed-to-market for dealers and distributors, Bridgestone said.
Founded in 2012 by George Silagadze and Chance Harrington, TireConnect offers a unique B2B and B2C online tire sales solution to more than a dozen customers with nearly 600 points of sale across Canada and the U.S.
Silagadze and Harrington will join Bridgestone as part of the acquisition.
Bridgestone did not say whether TireConnect will continue to be based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, or whether it will move to Bridgestone headquarters in Nashville.
“We are excited that Bridgestone chose to acquire TireConnect and establish it as a digital and ecommerce solution for its dealers,” Silagadze said.
“This move demonstrates the company's ongoing commitment to its customers and end-user consumers, and we look forward to working together to further enhance the tire buying experience.”
The Bridgestone TireConnect online sales and ecommerce solution will be available to Bridgestone dealers and distributors in the first quarter of 2016.
It did not say what the cost will be to use TireConnect. As the tool is currently structured, dealers pay a $150 start-up fee and $69.95 per month for the online tire quote tool, Silagadze said earlier this year.
Bridgestone did not say in its release whether TireConnect will be exclusive to Bridgestone dealers or distributors or continue to be available to other interested parties, including those already using it.