Brompton gears up for e-commerce expansion after pandemic spike
Specialist e-commerce agency Havas Market explains how it plans to accelerate international sales for bike brand Brompton.
Brompton chose Havas Market as its agency partner in January / Brompton
Britain’s largest bicycle manufacturer Brompton wants to capitalize on the huge number of consumers that took up cycling during the years of the pandemic. To meet that demand, it has hired Havas Market to shift its international and domestic growth up a gear.
The e-commerce agency has been appointed as its worldwide strategic partner, with a brief to boost sales and streamline the brand’s retail experience.
Opening the door for e-commerce
According to Lisa Calvino, senior performance marketing manager, the brand has only recently embraced e-commerce retail channels – but now faces a massive opportunity, given the growth of cycling since 2020.
Calvino tells The Drum: “Historically as a business, we’ve sold our products through a network of accredited dealers, which is where customers traditionally have gone for bike purchases. E-commerce is relatively new for our business and its creation was turbo charged in response to the Covid pandemic, the obvious shift to online purchasing and the surge in interest from people wanting to buy a bike as they looked for a new way to move around.
“Ever since then our online offering has continued to grow at pace, but with almost 20% of bike purchases now taking place digitally, we know we’re not even scratching the surface yet. Our brand needs to continue to evolve internationally to capitalize on the growth in the cycling and commuter market and e-commerce is an exciting part of that.”
Sharing is caring
The firm also hopes to exploit the demand for bike-sharing with its Brompton Bike Hire service, established back in 2011 but now an area of critical attention for both the brand and its new agency.
David Jennison, managing director of Havas Market, says that Brompton has a high ceiling for commercials. A better approach to digital retail, he suggests, will take the brakes off the business. “It’s important to create and curate joined-up retail experiences for the end-customer no matter the brand, industry, or whether it’s B2C- or B2B-focused. People won’t wait around for their product, so any jolted customer experience can result in a loss of sales.
“These things matter. You might have great products, availability, content and customer service, but in a competitive market, you might fall down on another element like price. But where there’s a chance of falling, there’s the countervailing opportunity to stand tall too and deliver fast growth by getting all of this right through consistently high standards.”
The brand already employs Havas Formula, the network’s US PR business, as its agency of record in North America. Havas’ presence in that market, as well as other territories, was a key reason behind the appointment.
Suggested newsletters for you
Brompton is best known as an iconic British engineering and design brand. But 80% of its bikes are sold abroad and it operates a series of city-center brick-and-mortar stores in Amsterdam, New York, Beijing, Tel Aviv and Munich. Calvino says that consumer trends in healthcare and urban living beyond the UK give the company confidence in its export business.
“Our mission at Brompton is to create urban freedom for happier lives,” she says. “This has never been more relevant around the world as people continue to come out of lockdowns and restrictions, and reconsider how they move around their city. Health in public places has never been in such a sharp focus; we’re now far less tolerant of spending hours underground on packed tubes. A Brompton provides an escape route from that commute tyranny whilst helping keep you fit mentally and physically.”
Beyond borders for Brompton
Alongside strong team chemistry, the need to keep building its international business was a key factor in choosing a network agency, she says. “If we want to grow globally, we needed a partner that can scale strategies worldwide while respecting the sensitivities and individualism of each market we’re growing into. Havas Market has a presence in a number of our key growth markets.
“Brompton has ambitious growth plans to expand into new markets and clearly, that’s not a short-term project. So for us, we needed a partner that offers a global strategic view supported by deep expertise across all areas of digital commerce.”
Jennison says the agency’s plans for the brand will “ensure Brompton feels like ‘Brompton’ worldwide whilst also catering to the specifics of the local markets, which is where data-led insights and analytics will help drive sustainable growth and value.”
If they can do that, he adds, the brand can help add velocity to the social changes by getting more people behind the handlebar – and in turn, increase sales further.
“At its core, we have an amazing product that can change people’s lives for the better,” he concludes. “If we can get everything right around it, then we’ll be able to inspire many more people to get out riding a bicycle and enjoy the amazing benefits it brings.”