Case Studies / Black Circles

Driving exceptional growth with service design

We used research and service design to increase buyer confidence and open up new markets for Black Circles. Together, we changed the nation’s buying habits.

The context

Black Circles had saturated the expert-buyer market. Now they needed to find new customers.

The challenge
When we met, many considered Black Circles a runaway success story.

They’d successfully captured all the ‘easy’ customers – the enthusiasts, the customers who knew how to navigate all the complex codes and specs to buy their tyres online.

The problem was, most UK car owners had never even considered buying online. It was off-putting. What if they bought the wrong thing?

So Black Circles came to Nile with a challenge: how might we open up their market to the ‘typical’ UK car owner?

How we helped

Together, we set out to completely transform the nation’s tyre-buying habits.

Black Circles asked us to design a new, market-disrupting digital experience.

One that would strike new customers as so good, they’d become brand advocates.

So we built a deep understanding of why people weren’t confident about buying their tyres online. We explored every barrier.

And took this insight to redesign the whole online buying experience.

Our impact

Through our research and design, Black Circles achieved unprecedented growth and is now a household name.

They’re the UK’s most significant online tyre retailer, with a five-star rating on Trust Pilot

The rate of industry growth we’ve achieved is unprecedented for retail, let alone automotive retail.
Nick Leonard, Marketing Director,
  • 20%

    Year on year growth

  • £50m

    Acquisition value

A lasting impact

Together, we proved the power of good service design. New markets flew open. And a huge new customer base was captured. were voted Best Online Tyre Retailer, seven years running.

All this success didn’t go unnoticed—Black Circles achieved a high valuation and has since been acquired by Michelin.