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Digital strategy for an e-bike brand

A Q&A with Jelmer Lavèn from QWIC.

For the last 2 years, we’ve been working together with QWIC as their digital partner. It’s exciting times at QWIC as they gear up for some exciting product launches. We thought it was a perfect chance to sit down with Jelmer, our contact and brand ambassador at QWIC —who you might just recognize from their nation-wide marketing campaign—to find out about their industry and digital domain.

Category Interviews
Author Vivien Kinnear
Date Aug 2019

Hi Jelmer! Can you tell us a little bit about your role at QWIC?

As brand marketer for QWIC, I’m responsible for the e-commerce and I support development and execution of offline/traditional, digital, and paid social ad programs for the media campaigns of QWIC. I ensure brand integrity by guiding efforts across multiple channels and functions. The marketing department consists of 7 specialists (designer, event coordinator, content specialist, media coordinator, pre-sales and stylist). Within this team, we work closely together to achieve our goals.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your role and getting QWIC’s brand out there?

We sell our e-bikes in three countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. The different cultures of each country makes our work dynamic and interesting but also challenging. In Germany, our brand awareness is lower than in Belgium and The Netherlands. This changes the way we want to represent ourselves in these markets. The communication and media campaigns are different in each market, this is sometimes challenging for our team.

How do you think e-bikes are changing the way we commute and move around the city?

The e-bike trend is booming the last 5 years and definitely the last 3 years. When I started at QWIC my friends and former colleagues didn’t understand that I was going to work at an electric bike manufacturer, which was in their opinion a product for the 60+ generation. Nearly two years later they are asking for a discount to buy an e-bike for themselves. Our commuting culture is rapidly changing. Mobility is one of the most important demands in Western society. This causes increased traffic and puts more pressure on the environment. Therefore, environmental requirements are becoming more strict. Also, fossil fuels are scarce and getting more expensive. This creates many new opportunities for the development of sustainable transport. About half of all car rides are shorter than 7 km and 80% is even below 20 km, the perfect distance for an e-bike!

In regards to the website, your team had a workshop with us before beginning the design of the website. How has this helped to shape QWIC’s way of looking at the website and the company overall?

With the development of our new website the customer journey of our clients was key. E-bikes are expensive products and people want to see, touch and drive a bike before they decide to purchase one. This certainly applies to an unknown brand like QWIC. Our brand awareness in our operating countries is growing but lower than brands like Gazelle, VanMoof or Sparta. With a simple 6 questionnaire test on our website, we guide our consumers to their perfect e-bikes. After they know what kind of bike they want, it’s an easy step to make a test drive appointment or a catalog request. These elements are essential in their purchase journey.

During the production process, what was the decision-making process like at QWIC?

I tried to involve our Sales and IT team as much as possible during the production process of our new website. The opinion of our Sales department was important because they work on a daily basis with dealers and customers. The influences of IT was important because we connected our local systems to the new website. During this process, we implemented an agile way of working and organized multiple review sessions.

With the goals for the new website in mind, have we together achieved what we initially set out to do?

One of our goals was to create a new website which matches our core values; high quality, innovative, the best service and an outstanding design. By winning an ‘Honorable Mention’ by Awwwards (Awwwards | Recognize and promote the talent and effort of the best developers, designers and web agencies in the world) this goal is definitely achieved. The other goals were more traffic, a faster website and most important; more test drives and brochure requests and online sales. All of these goals have been doubled in numbers in one year, an outstanding performance!

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As you see the website grow and evolve, what’s your biggest challenge?

To stay always one step ahead of our competitors. The competition in the e-bike industry is growing and everyone is transforming their website into a service and information driver. E-commerce is not priority 1 anymore, service is. We want to guide our consumers to the best information. A conversion is not only a sold e-bike but also a brochure request or a visit to the nearest QWIC dealer.

What’s been the biggest surprise for you, regarding the analytics and feedback to the website?

Definitely the success of the ‘E-bike chooser’ wizard. This test was not implemented when we launched our new website but we launched it 3–4 months later. This e-bike test is now the best-visited page after the homepage. The advice you get after the test is the start of our retargeting program so very useful in many ways.

What are the aspects you value the most when working with a digital design agency like Booreiland? Why?

Working with a design company is valuable for the creative level of the whole company. After the website launch, we redesigned our total brand identity and created an online dealer portal inline with the new website design. Booreiland gave QWIC the digital identity which 1:1 matches with our brand and core values.

How do you measure the impact or reach of your goals in your online communications?

Via Analytics (Google Datastudio) and FB Business Manager. We measure the UX with Hotjar.

Do you see major differences between the different countries you are supplying to, regarding the website’s reach and impact? Why do you think that is?

Yes, we do see differences in usability, reachability, and impact. In Germany, we notice that new users are mostly using a desktop. During the B2C media campaigns in The Netherlands and Belgium, we mentioned a shift from desktop to new users via mobile. In 2018 only 31% of this traffic was from mobile, in 2019 nearly 50% (excl. tablet). Our website is mobile-first and responsive designed so both impactful. The German visitors are older, most of them men and visit our page longer than Belgium and Dutch visitors.

What is your favorite part of the website and why?

The shopping basket, I think you know why 😉