Accell Group Premieres Digital Platform in UK with Haibike
HEERENVEEN, the Netherlands – This year will be decisive for Accell Group’s ‘three pillar omni-channel strategy’. According to Accel Group CEO Ton Anbeek (see photo): “This strategy will be kicked off soon in the UK with the premiere of Haibike.co.uk. It’s the first brand website with ecommerce functionalities based on a new digital platform that will go live in the first half of this year.”
The launch of e-commerce platforms was announced by Accell Group last year. The company changed the structure of its organization and invested in e-commerce, innovation and IT. “From August 2018 onwards all regional and central teams have been up to strength and we are rolling out our omni-channel distribution strategy”, said Accell Group CEO Ton Anbeek at the presentation of the 2018 financial results.
Replacing all websites
“We have developed a new digital platform that will replace all existing brand websites over time. We will start with Haibike in the UK. Next to new websites these platforms will also offer a wide range of e-commerce functionalities which will be implemented depending on local market situations”, said the Accell CEO in an interview with Bike Europe on the occasion of the 2018 financial results presentation.
For its e-commerce operations the company founded a dedicated division named ‘Accell Digital’ which is based in Amsterdam. “They handle the technical development and operations of the e-commerce platforms. Accell Digital closely monitors visitor’s behaviour on our platforms as well as SEO. Despite the central management of the platforms you can’t do everything from one location. The input and knowledge of local markets from our local offices remain essential”, says CEO Anbeek.
More experience centers
“The second important part of our omni-channel strategy”, he continues, “is the opening of new experience centers. In the first half of 2019 we will open a new one in the Netherlands, next to the existing center ‘De Fietser’ in Ede. From now on experience centers will always be opened and operated in close cooperation with retailers. Their position is essential in our omni-channel strategy. Next to the Netherlands we will soon open experience centers in other countries as well. We will soon announce more about our experience centers”.
‘Fit to Compete’
Accell Group’s ‘Fit to Compete’ program comes with a focus on three production locations only instead of the former eleven. “We focus on assembly in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, at Hunland in Hungary and in Izmir, Turkey.”
Difficulties on Accell’s home market
On 2018 Accell Group reported increases in turnover and doubling of its net profit. However, it faced a difficult year on its local market, the Netherlands. Contrary to a revenue jump by 25 percent to 1.2 billion euro of the total Dutch bike market in 2018, as reported by industry – and dealers associations RAI and BOVAG, Accell announced a decline here. It amounted to a revenue drop made with bicycle and e-bike sales in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (Benelux) of 5.3%, to 205 million euro. On what caused that drop in sales Anbeek says “We stopped the relationship with a large internet player in the first half of 2018. The revenue loss that came with that could not be compensated in the first half of 2018. In the second half of the year revenues stabilised. Since the house show in September 2018 dealer confidence has increased resulting in an order portfolio for 2019 which is 10% higher than 2018.”
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