"Trade is change - wholesale is change en gros." The mail-order specialist for the spectrum of Vespa, Lambretta and everything else that the colourful world of scooters has to offer, took on its central marketing platform, its web shop. A Herculean task, as can be seen from the answers given by SIP Managing Director Ralf Jodl, who we asked a few questions about the project on the occasion of the www.sip-scootershop.com facelift.
SIP Scootershop interview with World of Bike Magazine
SIP Scootershop has placed its central business base, the web shop, on a completely new footing. What were the reasons for this fundamental relaunch? With what goal(s) did you approach the matter?
Ralf Jodl: Our web shop www.sip-scootershop.com is Europe's leading online shop for scooters with more than 50,000 available accessories and spare parts. What is a blessing on the one hand, the outstanding product selection, can become a curse when it comes to finding the right part. Our new webshop has a search engine with artificial intelligence, a powerful Suggest even when typing search terms and extensive filter functions for the search results. In addition, each item is precisely assigned to the scooter models it fits - right down to chassis numbers and model changes. In the new web shop, for example, it is easy to quickly find a handful of crankshafts for the respective model from our approximately 400 available crankshafts. Especially our dealers, who have other models and vehicles on the lifting platform every day, appreciate this extensive database very much.
What improvements can customers expect when they visit your new online platform? And what do you benefit from internally?
RJ: In ddition to the strong improvements already mentioned in the search for the right article, our new web shop is more clearly structured in categories. On the item detail page, we offer very large, high-resolution product images that finally adequately represent the great effort we have been putting into product photography for years. This often makes it easier to identify matching spare parts. We offer hundreds of exploded views under the menu item "Spare parts", which make it much easier to find the right spare part. In general, the shop is just as easy to use on a desktop computer as on a tablet or smartphone.
How did you approach the project? Did you solve it internally, did you have external advice/support? And what were the biggest technical/organisational hurdles you had to overcome?
RJ: Actually, we have been working on the relaunch of our new online shop for four years and have invested a significant seven-figure sum. There is a database team in-house that has put considerable effort into improving the structure of our item data. Then there is an external back-office team that created new API interfaces, and the front-end team for the visible presentation and navigation of the new shop. There is an incredible amount of work in so many details, but we are perfectionists and don't want average solutions. Many details are hardly visible at first glance, for example we offer many country-specific payment methods or we show on the item detail page when a customer last bought an item. The feature list is almost endless, we are currently compiling the most important ones in an information flyer and there will soon be a video on our YouTube Tutorial Channel (www.youtube.com/sipscootertutorial)
Is the relaunch now finished for the time being? Or do you say: "After the project is before the project"?
RJ: A webshop is never finished, we add about 500 new products to our system every month. In addition, there are features that will go online in the next few months, for example our dealer locator, an event calendar, the Scooter Base model database and much more.
One question that is hard to avoid at the moment: How did your business go last year, which ended with a boom in registrations in Germany, especially in the light scooter segment, but which was also badly affected and shaken up by the Corona pandemic? How did you get through the pandemic?
RJ: The year 2020 will probably have been an extraordinary one for every market participant. Keeping a distance completely contradicts our idea of how we want to work together, but also how we face our customers, but it was necessary this year. Our dealer day, our open day and many other events could not take place. Fortunately, the two-wheeler market was doing extremely well economically during this pandemic and so, in addition to the social and health concerns, there were at least no existential worries - as in so many other sectors. We all hope that something like normality will return in spring at the start of the two-wheeler season and that we will be able to meet our customers again, for example at our Open Day on Saturday, 8 May 2021.
Thank you for the interview!
The interview appeared in the trade magazine World of Bike on 1 February 2021.