The world and our consumption patterns are changing rapidly. Faced with the ecological emergency, more and more consumers want to align their commitments with their consumption choices. As a result, the sustainability and ecological impact of a product have become more than ever a real commercial asset. Indeed, 52% of European consumers consider it important that the products they use are sustainable and ecological (according to a Bazaarvoice study.) More than 3/4 of consumers say they research brands and their commitments.
While the cycle industry’s commitment to sustainability may seem obvious, it is nevertheless important for the bicycle brand to highlight it to consumers.
Bicycle brands, between ecological commitment and educational mission
In societies that are still largely car-centric, the ecological commitment of bicycle brands has an essential educational mission. By offering environmentally-friendly mobility solutions, bicycle brands show consumers that there are viable, low-carbon alternatives to motorized vehicles. It’s an opportunity for the brand to raise consumer awareness of today’s environmental challenges.
In this way, brands must not simply sell their products, but place sustainability at the heart of their values by becoming ambassadors of the benefits of cycling and, more broadly, of more sustainable mobility. This is an aspect to which consumers are very sensitive. In fact, according to a survey carried out by Oney in 2020, 90% of consumers expect brands to make a commitment. The importance of this aspect is such that it plays an essential role in winning and retaining customer loyalty. 71% of those surveyed say they are more loyal to brands whose values they share.
However, even if consumers want more committed brands, they remain wary of brands that might practice “Greenwashing” by superficially highlighting sustainability. To avoid such practices, brands need to adopt the right methods to reassure consumers.
Eco-design: the first step towards a fully sustainable approach
As an environmentally-friendly means of transport, the bicycle can be considered a sustainable product. Nevertheless, consumer expectations are becoming more refined. They now want a product to be sustainable throughout its life cycle, and particularly during its design phase.
For a product to be sustainable throughout its life cycle, the design phase is crucial. During this phase, the brand must adopt an eco-design and eco-conception approach, involving rigorous selection of the bike’s components, which must be sustainably sourced and recyclable. Consideration of energy efficiency and carbon footprint is also essential at this early stage.
Relocation at the heart of bicycle brand strategies
Aware of these changes, more and more brands are opting to relocate production. This strategy has several advantages. In addition to supporting the local economy, it promotes national know-how and reduces the carbon footprint of the finished product. For consumers sensitive to this commitment, the perceived value of the product increases.
Recycling electric bicycle batteries: a major challenge
As the use of e-bikes becomes more widespread, industry players have a responsibility to integrate the issue of end-of-life batteries into their design. A draft European regulation on the subject is currently under discussion. Although some collection and recycling solutions already exist on the market, there is still much progress to be made on this issue. To reduce the ecological footprint of batteries, we need to innovate not only in terms of their components, but also in terms of the recycling process, which is still very energy-intensive.
Connectivity: a lever and an opportunity for bicycle brand strategy
Once the bike has been produced and distributed via a network of stores, it is no longer on the brand’s radar, and it is denied a direct relationship with the rider. As a result, it becomes more difficult for the brand to gain access to the cyclist, whether to highlight its commitment or to ensure the product’s sustainability throughout its life cycle.
Connected objects enable brands to overcome this obstacle and take their message all the way. Integrated into the bike, IoTs provide a wide range of information, enabling brands to exploit it to improve the user experience and extend the life of bikes.
Data to measure impact
Thanks to the connectivity and IoT built into these bikes, the brand receives a wealth of data in real time. The information gathered is processed and made available on dedicated software. The brand can thus see the number of bikes in circulation, their position, their route and the distance covered. This information is invaluable, as it enables the brand to highlight its ecological impact in a concrete way. In the context of bicycle fleet management, the figures can illustrate communications to attract and reassure consumers as to the sincerity of their commitment.
In a bid to improve cycling infrastructure in cities, (anonymized) data can be collected and analyzed. Areas deemed to be accident-prone can thus be better equipped on the basis of this knowledge of usage.
How does a mobile app help bike brands spread their message?
The information provided by the IoTs is made available to cyclists via a mobile application. This is a real marketing asset, as it enables the brand to convey its message and values directly to the consumer via connected services.
Mobile applications and connected services: key arguments for promoting electric bikes
The information gathered by the IoTs is made available to cyclists via a mobile application. This is a real marketing asset, as it enables the brand to convey its message and values directly to the consumer via connected services.
Mobile applications and connected services: key arguments for promoting electric bikes
As an ambassador, the brand’s mission is to encourage cycling. Connectivity enables the brand to remove the main obstacles to cycling by equipping its riders with connected services that improve safety and the riding experience. Thanks to connectivity, cyclists have access to a wide range of functions via the mobile application, including :
- A complete anti-theft device to reassure against theft (real-time geolocation),
Remote controls for locking and unlocking, power assistance cut-off, alarms and notifications of suspicious movements
Maintenance support to simplify use and ensure cyclist safety (maintenance tips, reminders and alerts)
- Bicycle data for convenience, fun and community (battery percentage, statistics, trip history)
By offering simple, serene and fun journeys, the brand will be able to persuade more people to adopt bicycles for their daily commute, increasing both sales and frequency of use.
Repairability more than a sales pitch, a mission
Repairability is a growing concern among consumers. According to the 2021 Responsible Consumption barometer, trust in brands increases when they offer more sustainable products. Despite the popularity of repairs, few consumers actually do it. The reason is a lack of experience and support. Few consumers are able to spontaneously recognize signs of wear and tear, or know what to do first in the event of a breakdown.
These obstacles play an essential role in the cyclist’s experience of the product and, more broadly, of the brand. Faced with this, it is the brand’s mission to support its cyclists in the daily care and maintenance of their bikes. The mobile application makes it easy to fulfill this mission. The data collected can help define the point of wear of essential electric bike components, such as wheels, brakes, motor and battery. This helps to anticipate breakdowns and avoid immobilizing the bike for repairs.
Thanks to this, cyclists can access daily maintenance tips, as well as alerts once a usage threshold has been reached.
Personalized communications to strengthen customer relations
Thanks to the mobile application, the brand accompanies cyclists on a daily basis. It allows the brand to be in direct contact with the cyclist. It’s easier for the brand to convey its messages and commitments. For example, after a long period of inactivity, the brand can send a message to help the cyclist get back in the saddle, or to invite him or her to get in touch if the inactivity is due to a technical problem.
Velco supports e-bike brands in their commitment to sustainability
With its connected and digital solutions, Velco’s mission is to strengthen the appeal of electric bikes for more sustainable mobility. Thanks to our premium IoT and dedicated software suite, brands have access to valuable data to help them connect with their riders, deliver an optimal experience through the app, as well as understand how their products are being used.
Velco Rider, the white-label mobile application
Velco Rider is our intuitive mobile application enabling e-bike brands to get closer to their riders through connected services and personalized communications. Produced on a white-label basis, the bike brand can customize the application to its own colors, offering cyclists a unique experience. Rapidly deployable, it is enriched with new functionalities for an ever safer and more enjoyable experience, including theft protection, maintenance tracking and fun services.