Brompton’s first US store: a success story unfolds
Folding bikes, global payments, and winning customers’ hearts
It all began with a magic carpet.
Like many inner-city commuters, Andrew Ritchie was fed-up with public transport and wanted a solution. “It’s the same old thing lots of people have dreamed of having,” he said, “a magic carpet you can keep in your pocket.” So he set out to create the next-best thing: A foldable bike that’s light enough to tuck under your arm when you hop on the train and sturdy enough to go the distance when you want to cycle. It’s the perfect antidote to train delays and traffic congestion, giving you control over your daily commute.
Since its first prototype back in 1975, the Brompton Bike has been fine-tuned into a sleek, robust model, which is handcrafted in London. The company is first and foremost a manufacturer and takes great pride in the quality of its product. Each bike is purpose-built and can be customized from 17 million combinations. Before completion, your bike will have passed through over 60 pairs of hands. Its parts are joined using the highly-skilled technique of brazing and each brazer leaves a signature on the parts they work on.
With production down to a fine art, the brand’s next focus was to take ownership of sales and distribution. Previously, the customer could design their bike online but had to go to a local dealer to complete the purchase. This meant Brompton was losing out on valuable customer insights as well as relinquishing control of the buyer journey. So it decided to launch its own ecommerce site and turned to Adyen to do so.
"With a single platform to process payments across all markets at once, we were able to roll out quickly and easily."
“We had 3 months to go live in 6 markets while ensuring the customer experience stayed firmly on-brand,” recalls Harry Mann, Head of Customer Experience. “Adyen made this possible with a single platform to process payments across all markets at once. So we were able to roll out quickly and easily. The launch was a huge success and we saw an immediate lift in conversion."
To help Brompton increase its online conversions, Adyen created a one-page checkout optimized for mobile. The payment is hosted by Brompton, which cuts out the dreaded redirect to an external URL. But all payment data is hosted on Adyen’s servers, removing the headache of PCI compliance while keeping shopper data secure.
"We can personalize the journey end-to-end."
“We wanted to make it easier than ever for people to access our products and services,” said Harry. “Now, by taking orders online, we can personalize the journey end-to-end and learn more about our customers in the process.”
The in-store experience is another important way of strengthening the relationship with the customer. Brompton is currently growing its network of Brompton Junction stores around the world, which include a host of additional experiences. For example, it’s flagship New York City store has been designed as a place where Brompton owners can congregate to ask questions and meet friends. Visitors can also rent bikes and communicate with each other and store staff via Bluetooth-enabled helmets.
Today, the iconic foldable Brompton Bike is a hit in 45 countries across Europe, the US and Asia. And, just as language differs from market to market, global payments differ from region to region. For example, in the Netherlands, customers expect to pay using the online banking method iDEAL. While in China, customers favour Alipay, Union Pay, and WeChat Pay.
In Asia, Brompton strikes a very different chord with consumers. It’s not seen as a utility commuter tool, but a recreational status symbol. Maintaining this strong brand equity in Asia has protected the company from the competition of cheap imitations, which abound across the region.
The customer demographic also varies greatly across Asia. In Japan, the typical Brompton customer is the middle-aged man in his lycra. In Korea, there’s a whole subculture dedicated to ‘Pimp my Brompton’ where highly customized Brompton Bikes are displayed on social media. Korea’s social network Line even teamed up with Brompton to create a customized bike for its brand mascot Sally the Duck to use on her journey around the world.
Understanding and catering to these local nuances is crucial to Brompton’s success. It uses market knowledge to localize the customer experience, starting with geo-based personalization for the website and the support of global payments. The next step was to make the bike available in the most relevant channel for each market. In China, for example, WeChat is an important shopping channel and consumers think nothing of ordering a $2,600 bike via a mobile app. So Brompton set up a WeChat store and accepts WeChat Pay both in-app and on its ecommerce site.
As well as letting Brompton customize its global payments, Adyen makes it easy to customize its fraud management in each market, keeping the company secure without impacting local conversion rates. Brompton also has the flexibility to manage different business models in different markets; money collected from distributors in China can be settled in the UK, while US-based Brompton Inc. can settle funds locally.
The next step for Brompton is to connect its online and offline sales channels to create even better customer experiences. From the moment a potential buyer clicks on the Brompton website to the moment they roll out of the store on a bike, the data gathered along the way helps to build a comprehensive view of each shopper.
Adyen’s unified commerce solution lets Brompton manage both online and in store payments in one system. Customers’ complete purchase history feeds into the same dashboard and can be viewed in one place.
"The reporting and the level of data has tremendous potential value."
Rich Spencer, President of Brompton North America explains: “Whether it’s brick-and-mortar retail, click and collect, or other digital transactions, all of these interactions can be accommodated by Adyen anywhere in the world. The reporting and the level of data has tremendous potential value, helping us make better internal strategic decisions.”
“The more we know about our customers, the better we can serve them,” said Harry. “Adyen’s technology lets us consolidate our channels and harness data, which will help us go from strength to strength. Our partnership with Adyen is fundamental to our growth strategy. We benefit from a global overview with localized control and we're learning more about our customers all the time. I’m very excited about what our future with Adyen holds.”
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