Ecommerce case study: Britax boosts car seat sales with digital optimisation strategy

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Back in 2012, car seat firm Britax saw its target audience were rapidly moving online. In response, the brand worked with Shopatron to produce a holistic digital strategy that embraced click and collect, mobile commerce and inventory optimisation. This case study looks at how the UK brand made smart use of technology to get a sales increase of over 150% each month when compared to the same month in the prior year.

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Key takeaways:

• Car seat and pram maker aims provide unified, cross-channel customer experience without additional overhead

• Worked with Shopatron to optimise reail and ecommerce, using SaaS-based order management

• 65% of online orders are processed by local, independent retailers, cutting down on wastage and boosting efficiency

• Achieved consistent, double-digit sales growth, with 93% of customers reported satisfaction with their online shopping experience and 83% of those said they were “very satisfied.”

• Sales increase of over 150% each month when compared to the same month in the prior year

The Challenge

BRITAX was founded in 1938 in Andover, Hampshire. Initially focused on adult seat belts, in the 1960s they launched their first child car seat. During the 1980s and 1990s, the company expanded considerably into the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the world. In 1978 the company merged with the German brand, Römer, which had a history of making safety equipment since 1872.

BRITAX is one of very few brands to own in-house crash-test systems, the kind used in the automotive industry in both the UK and Germany, which shows their commitment to providing optimum protection and safety for children. This is one of the many reasons that the brand has become a much-appreciated partner of automobile clubs, government agencies and other transport-related institutions.

BRITAX continues to expand its wheeled goods business in Europe. In 2011 they acquired the US outdoor utility stroller and bike trailer brand BOB. In 2013, BRITAX acquired the international BRIO Care pushchair and car safety business from the Swedish company BRIO AB.

Today, BRITAX is a global company with operation centres around the world, all of them dedicated to child safety, from car seats and baby carriers to children’s bicycle seats, prams, and complete travel systems for maximised flexibility.

Challenges

In 2012, the marketplace for prams and child seats was shifting dramatically towards online sales. Consumers were rapidly becoming more comfortable purchasing complex products online, and spending ever larger amounts on those purchases. BRITAX recognised that as responsible Car Seat and Wheeled Goods manufacturer, their own website would be able to showcase the full range of products on offer, thereby giving their consumers a world-class shopping experience.

At the same time, BRITAX was committed to building stronger relationships with the existing retail channel it already had.

They evaluated many options, including outsourcing and building their own solution.

Solution

In February 2013, BRITAX launched its multichannel eCommerce programme, giving consumers the opportunity to buy products directly from BRITAX.co.uk, and receive the goods from a local, independent retailer.

BRITAX implemented Shopatron eCommerce with Ship-from-Store and Click & Collect to increase their sales and grow their share of the online market. They chose Shopatron so that they could continue to work with their existing channels, and offer products online that still require retailer involvement. Shopatron’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach also meant a lower upfront investment and total cost of ownership compared to typical, locally installed eCommerce applications.

When consumers or retail-staff have questions about Click & Collect or mail orders, they call or email Shopatron’s support centre, which is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Orders which are placed online are processed and fulfilled by a local retailer where possible, or by BRITAX if there is not a retailer in the customer’s region. This approach ensured that deliveries are met more quickly for consumers, and that retailers also benefit from the extended digital offering.

Integration of the online shop into the existing website was simple and easy, as the IT department was able to put a ‘Buy Now’ option on existing product pages to point consumers to complete their purchase in the online shop, which is hosted by Shopatron. The online shop automatically detects whether the consumer is shopping from a mobile device, and serves
the consumer content and products accordingly.

When consumers or retailer staff have questions about online orders, they call or email Shopatron’s support centre, available 24/7. Shopatron’s UK-based call centre supports consumers in English, French, Italian and German, fielding order and payment related inquiries with support hours that exceed those of many High Street and online retailers.

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Products can be added to or removed from the web shop at a moment’s notice. And the results of marketing campaigns can be measured immediately. A reporting suite gives BRITAX insight into where orders are in the fulfilment process, and even access to direct, real-time feedback from consumers about their products.

As BRITAX’s cross-channel sales mature, they continue to develop their online programme by extending the product offering online and grow sales with promotions and offers.

Results

In BRITAX’s second year of trading online, sales have increased over 150% each month when compared to the same month in the prior year. According to BRITAX’s Commercial Director UK & Ireland Stuart Cartwright, “not only does the service benefit customers, but it also helps to support our retailers, as orders placed by a customer in the retailer’s area can also be fulfilled by them.”

Some 20 retailers in the UK are listed as Click & Collect locations for BRITAX products, and more are being added to increase coverage throughout the country. About 65% of BRITAX’s online orders are handled by a local retailer.

With half of adults in the UK owning smartphones1, mobile shopping is a critical component of
BRITAX’s online sales, comprising approximately 25% of their order volume.

In recent survey results, 93% of shoppers reported satisfaction with their shopping experi- ence, and 83% of those shoppers said they were “very satisfied.” This is well above an indus- try average of 73% satisfaction for multi-channel online shop offerings in the UK2.

Since launching their first online store, BRITAX have expanded with a shop dedicated to the Republic of Ireland. And in May 2013, they launched an online store with Shopatron for the newly acquired brand BOB. With Shopatron, BRITAX are well positioned to expand online marketshare, and quickly adapt to changing consumer expectations and trends online.

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