The dutch company Kruitbosch is mainly known to consumers as the manufacturer of the bicycle brands Cortina and Alpina. However, the bicycle specialist is also a wholesaler of bicycle accessories, parts and materials.
Kruitbosch's increasing role
The young family company celebrated its 65th anniversary last year, but, according to Kruitbosch’s operations manager Roger van den Esker, is not ready for retirement yet: “We are continuously working on innovation and development. We have always been a wholesaler for the bicycle trade, breathed new life into the brand Cortina ten years ago and are now a brand that is indispensable for young people. The schoolyards are full of our bikes. But also, we have expanded our range for those over 30, as well as for children, for whom our brand Alpina stands. This growth is possible due to our large partner network."
The beginning of progress
This success story was not written by itself, the establishment of the partner network, which unites around 2.500 dealers, required a digital transformation. Kruitbosch wanted to get more out of the various sales channels and keep up with the times. The previous ordering system was to be replaced by an online communication system.
Van den Esker looks back on the challenge at the time: “Kruitbosch already had a good ordering application for retailers, but it wasn't real e-commerce yet. The next step was necessary."
More than just technology
Therefore, in 2016, Kruitbosch decided to work with the e-commerce agency De Nieuwe Zaak. The market was explored together, customer needs were analyzed in detail and the customer journey was described, which led to a digital roadmap and a business plan. In doing so, it was clear that the various challenges can be overcome by implementing Intershop as the e-commerce platform.
Jurriën Kerstholt, Director of De Nieuwe Zaak, recalls: “In 2017 we worked on the best user experience and built the platform, connected it to the underlying systems and trained employees. It's always about more than technology; business operations must change, too.
A successful digital transformation
Kruitbosch is still growing, but partnering with De Nieuwe Zaak will also help with digital steps in the future. The Intershop solution has also played a role in these successes. For example, the dealer portal was completed in 2018 and the consumer pages for Alpina and Cortina in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium were implemented in 2019. Online orders are possible since 2020 and the opportunity to lease an e-bike via the website has also been added.
Future-proof with Intershop's B2B platform
According to the business model of the bicycle specialist, deliveries are never made directly to a consumer, but rather via dealers. “We always want to be where the consumer wants to buy his or her bike. After all, the bicycle is and will remain a service product. The size has to be just right, as well as the adjustment and maintenance”, says Van den Esker.
According to him, almost every retailer has already switched to the new online retailer portal, which offers plenty of room for feedback. “In addition to ordering, we offer other functions such as information on delivery times and a simple part search using a frame number. In the past, people often had to pick up the phone to do this. During the lockdown due to the Corona measures, sales increased enormously, but the number of phone calls fell by 30% due to the increased use of self-service." Van den Esker notes that online sales have generally been boosted by the Corona crisis.
Ongoing consultation with customers
Due to the success of online commerce, the website is now being converted from product-centric to consumer-centric. In cooperation with the customers, Kruitbosch checks which information really is of interest for each user. Van den Esker: "As a supplier, we quickly talk about frame sizes, gears and batteries, while the use of the bike is of central importance for the customer: During leisure times, commuting or shopping, and also on vacation."
New commerce solution is the beginning of an innovation
The commerce solution from De Nieuwe Zaak and Intershop, however, only represents the beginning of the digital transformation. Kerstholt sees clear effects of the project on the organization: “Steps in the digital area are more than just the implementation of a platform. Kruitbosch also invests in the organization. They are expanding online marketing and looking for new colleagues, which was not included in the original plans. Another new thing is the agile way of working, evaluating and adapting with small steps, without losing sight of the target. In doing so, the whole company is involved, so that it is always equipped for the future. The enormous amounts of data generated by digital work create knowledge which personalizes the services. Retailers can instantly see the products they frequently order and receive offers based on their preferences."
Dare to change something!
Kruitbosch dared to replace its previous ordering system with an online communication system and implemented the Commerce Solution from Intershop. The bottom line? “Dare to change when you are in good condition. Choose a partner with expertise and, most importantly, always listen to your target audience."