Like many organizations, Australia’s most trusted tire brand faces the need to successfully translate its superior quality offerings into the digital world. For Bridgestone, the brand had also acquired a few smaller businesses with legacy tech stacks that were fast approaching their use-by dates.
To ensure Bridgestone’s brand remained customer-focused while planning for the future, the company has begun the journey of adopting Sitecore’s composable digital experience solutions to gain the agility to meet customer needs as they change.
At Sitecore DX 2023 Sydney, Bridgestone’s Digital Manager Alison Davies, along with Jon Holcombe, General Manager at Switch, a Sitecore Solution Partner, gave a sneak peek at Bridgestone’s first new site due to launch in December. Here’s what they shared.
A catalyst for change
Like many businesses during the pandemic, Bridgestone had to quickly pivot to a digital-focused customer experience when the brand traditionally focused operations in a physical environment.
Even though a minimum viable product ecommerce website quickly took off with the help of Sitecore, Bridgestone needed to plan for what’s next.
“It’s working really well from a technical standpoint, but we needed to look at the next stage and turn it into something a lot more customer-centric,” said Davies.
The brand’s existing tech stack was relatively expensive to manage, and limited budgets would not stretch to enhance or optimize its sites.
“We had also bought a few other businesses – a mobile repair business called Lube Mobile and Tony’s Tyre in New Zealand,” she shared. “Both were running on very old technology, and the support structure would run out soon.”
These combined challenges created a “burning bridge” for change, knowing she would soon want to move the Bridgestone sites into a SaaS environment, she explained. Davies also knew she’d have to build a business case with a tangible return on investment to secure executive buy-in for this next stage at Bridgestone.
Decoding the composable tech
First, Davies discussed a range of options with Sitecore and Switch before deciding on a composable SaaS strategy.
“Our real focus was on user experience,” she emphasized. “We needed to take that to the next level, and we felt there were strong synergies in our thinking with Switch.”
Holcombe took Bridgestone through Switch’s strategic framework. The first two steps hone in on the business objectives and the unique use cases for customer experiences.
“The key element for us is translating that into capabilities,” explained Holcombe.
“Objectives can often be big, grandiose ideas that are hard to translate into digital; experiences are very granular,” he added. “But when we are talking about a big program of work across multiple years, it helps to discuss how capabilities can be sequenced over time. And that shines a light on what the appropriate platform is.”
This can be a good tool for engaging at an executive level, as well as the delivery frontline, he said.
“We all know everything always changes, so this also gives you more agility once you get to that point,” he added. Looking at technologies as a suite of capabilities, you can also see how they could service multiple experiences, platforms, or websites, he included. This defines a delivery strategy.
Composable architecture would give Bridgestone the flexibility to build experiences in isolation and then handle the integration later. It would also free the brand from the business applications that used to slow down progress.
“Once we had the roadmap, we could re-sequence things to get value to market quicker,” said Holcombe. “This also gave us the idea of building a core component library.”
Building in a feedback loop
Once a clear roadmap was in place, Switch and Bridgestone went a step further to develop an operating model that used the roadmap as a two-way communication tool, ensuring agility is built into the overall customer experience.
“We needed to be able to feed changes into the roadmap,” said Holcombe. “Because every capability is a hypothesis – we don’t really know what it will deliver. If we find it won’t provide the value we expected, we can pivot.”
Davies shared that the journey is going well so far and having lots of regular check-ins with the executive leadership team helps.
“When we have had to make changes, we can show stakeholders why because we’re a data-driven organization,” she said. “We have to bring them along for the ride.”
The journey continues
The first project to launch, a new site for Tony’s Tyre, has been a good test of the systems and processes, Davies shared.
“We’ve been able to embed customer experiences into this initial project, and I’m happy with where things are – it’s a pretty big step forward,” she said.
With the support of Sitecore and Switch, the new Lube Mobile site will launch mid-2024, and Davies expects the full Bridgestone site to take another 12 months.
“This will help us live up to changing customer expectations,” Davies said. “Because customers want to buy more than tires online – Bridgestone does a lot more than that.”
Monica Lara is Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Follow her on LinkedIn.