Case Study September 29, 2020 |

Belgian Cycling Factory Accelerates Digital Transformation with BlueConic

Case Study Download PDF
Industry Retail
Initiative DTC Diversification
Results

15% revenue growth

after increasing showroom inventory to meet market demand

1 million individual profiles

of prospects, customers, and dealers created in first seven months of using BlueConic

About Belgian Cycling Factory

Belgian Cycling Factory (BCF), Belgium’s largest cycling company, owns multiple premium brands like Ridley, Eddy Merckx, MyCorsa, Bike Valley, and Forza.

Challenges

BCF sells most of their bikes through a network of dealers and bike shops across Europe. In fact, 90% of their revenue comes from transactions in dealer locations.

However, dealers have historically lacked access to data that would enable them to better understand their customers and accurately anticipate market demand for premium bikes in their area. As a result, dealers took a very conservative approach to stocking their showrooms, resulting in missed opportunities to sell more bikes. Potential customers went to competitor shops with greater and more diverse inventory in stock. Additionally, BCF dealers lacked the digital marketing skills and resources to drive more foot traffic and sales.

Then, COVID-19 hit, and dealers were forced to shutter their doors, creating extreme urgency for BCF to accelerate their digital transformation, which included their relationships with consumers and dealers alike. They also wanted to find new and lasting ways to provide value in exchange for consumer data long after the pandemic is over.

Solutions

Marketing Service for Dealers

Realizing dealers lacked the data, skills, and resources to target and deliver the right marketing messaging to the right people and drive more sales in their region, BCF in partnership with GrowthAgent, created a new “marketing as a service” offering to dealers. This new data-driven marketing service is powered by the first-party data BCF collects and unifies in BlueConic across its channels and family of brands. As part of this service, BCF also uses BlueConic to activate the data by targeting customers in dealer regions with highly personalized experiences across marketing channels that lead to an increase in traffic and sales

Access to Unified Profile Data

The data unified in BlueConic profiles is the foundation of BCF’s dealer marketing service. In the first seven months of using BlueConic, BCF created one million individual profiles of their prospects, customers, and dealers. BCF profiles capture various customer attributes that are stored at an individual level. In addition to unique identifying information such as first/last name and serial number for registered bikes, BCF also captures other key attributes like location, bike preferences, past purchases, and consent for marketing under GDPR. As a high-end brand, BCF doesn’t offer discounts in exchange for customer data and consent for marketing. Instead, they offer their customers an extended warranty when they register their bikes, as well as high-end experiences such as bike fittings and wind tunnels.

Multi-Dimensional Segments for Marketing

Using the rich profile data accessible in BlueConic, BCF can build and activate multi-dimensional segments in a matter of minutes – something that would not have been possible before. BCF uses BlueConic to build segments based on a combination of profile attributes, such as location, browsing behaviors, terrain preferences (e.g. road, gravel, mountain biking), frame preferences, color preferences, price point, and dealers shopped in the past.

Cross-Channel Activation

Once segments are built, BCF uses BlueConic connections to send those segments directly to other marketing platforms for immediate activation across channels. For example, BCF sends segments to Facebook and Instagram to geo target customers with relevant ads for a local dealer that carries the type of bikes they are interested in. Additionally, BCF uses BlueConic dialogues to personalize experiences for visitors across BCF’s many websites.

We saw positive ROI from BlueConic in one month. Not only does it help us better understand our customers and improve marketing, but it also provides the insights we need to show dealers how to sell more bikes."

Michel Lenaerts, Senior Marketing Advisor, Belgian Cycling Factory
New Customer Insights Revealed

Historically, dealers didn’t know a lot about BCF customers (or potential customers). Specifically, they didn’t know who was in market to buy a bike in their area, resulting in an understocking of bikes in their showrooms relative to market demand. BCF was able to use the data they were capturing in BlueConic to gain new insights about market demand in each dealer’s region. Using this data as evidence, they were able to demonstrate greater demand for BCF bikes and convince dealers to add more bikes to their showrooms at a given time because they would sell quickly. As a result, dealers that were carrying 2-3 BCF bikes at a time increased their inventory to 7-8 bikes. Additionally, conventional wisdom across BCF and local dealers was that medium frame bikes were the most popular – leading many dealers to stock more medium frame bikes than small or large frame bikes. However, analyzing the unified data in BlueConic profiles revealed that there was actually greater demand for small frame bikes than medium frames. This insight led to testing more small bike inventory at dealer locations. Now, those dealers are selling more small bikes.

Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Launch

When COVID-19 caused BCF’s dealers to abruptly close their doors, BCF needed to quickly adapt to salvage bike sales. They decided to build a new ecommerce webshop in just one week to help their dealers drive sales online – an entirely new sales channel for the dealers.

Now, when BCF customers visit the new ecommerce webshop, they are asked to enter their location, and then BCF matches them with a local dealer for purchases. However, building a new webshop in one week was only half the battle. It was equally important for BCF to start collecting customer data from this new channel, as well as activate that data in their dealer marketing programs to minimize the negative impact of COVID-19 on bike sales. BlueConic flexed to BCF’s new DTC engagement model, giving BCF the marketing agility it needed to adapt quickly. BCF started collecting and unifying customer data from the new webshop into BlueConic profiles right away. From there, BCF could enhance existing segments and build new segments, as well as immediately activate marketing across channels based on this new data.

A Content Strategy to Drive Data Collection

After the success of their new direct-to-consumer and marketing as a service offering, Belgian Cycle Factory faced a new challenge: they completely sold out of bicycles. Inspired by how publishers typically gather first-party data, BCF created a number of blog posts of unique, inspirational content to promote on social media channels and attract traffic to the website’s news section.

Once the visitor scrolled partly through the article, a BlueConic email wall dialogue was activated, asking the visitor to leave their email address to be able read the rest. Because BlueConic allows A/B testing in all dialogues, BCF was able to test variations of a “hard wall” and “soft wall” to optimize for the best visual and messaging approach. Additionally, dialogues were set up in each language that BCF supports with just a few clicks.

Results

To demonstrate the value of its new marketing service for dealers, BCF tested a new program for a limited-edition bike with a custom paint job. BCF only built 100 limited edition bikes and made it available to dealers all over Europe to stock in their showrooms.

The objective of the program was to show dealers that BCF’s new data-driven dealer marketing service, powered by BlueConic, could help them sell more bikes quickly. BCF promoted the bike across marketing channels, including BCF websites, their new ecommerce webshop, and Facebook and Instagram ads. The program was a huge success. Dealers sold out all 100 limited edition bikes within one week.

After selling out of inventory, they created a new value proposition for their customers through exclusive blog content. They continue to collect valuable first-party data about their customers’ preferences and interests, while providing them with content they can’t find elsewhere. To date, their latest post had a 20% conversion to unique view ratio and continues to build their known profile database. The next step on their journey is using this data to provide even more bespoke experiences for their customers using BlueConic Lifecycles as inventory returns.

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