At the center of our STRØM Bikes business model is what we have called ‘Direct To You’. This briefly means direct trade from manufacturer (us) to consumer (you). By cutting out a long range of traditional middlemen this model ensures you a high quality product at a very low price.
We keep everything from design, development, manufacturing, shipping and sales in-house. This makes it possible to be flexible on direct demand, while we don’t need to rely on huge stock and warehouse facilities and the expenses that usually comes with it.
To us this is simply a great business model and what we think is a ‘win-win-win’. For you as a customer, for us as a business and for the future urban communities with ebikes as the preferred choice of transportation.
Our strong believe in the ‘Direct To You’ approach is also why we have chosen crowdfunding as our ‘go-to-market’ strategy.
Crowdfunding is what the term indicates – funding from individual backers collectively referred to as ‘the crowd’.
Briefly explained its a way for a company to test demand for a new product or an idea, setup initial production or final prototyping by raising small amounts of funding from a long range of individual supporters. By asking a group of people to back your project, supporters ‘pre-orders’ the products before going to production. For their patience on delivery and trust in you as a company, the backers usually get a good discount.
As the following picture shows it can basically be anything you wan’t to crowdfund. In our case we have funded our bikes this way by two previous succesfull campaigns. The Fat Bike and the City Bike – and soon the new STRØM City W.
A Growing STRØM Community
Building our company in close relation to our customers comes with its benefits and challenges. As we ask our backers to support us, and believe in our ability to deliver on our promises, it hurts of course when we are facing difficulties with production and delivery dates as we did with our second City Bike campaign. A new anti-dumping tax from the EU suddenly forced us to relocate all production from China to Thailand and Taiwan after 2000 bikes being sold.
Eventually we found our way through, though more delayed than we ever thought. What a rocky road – but lessons learned indeed.
We would say that the upsides of doing business this way outweighs our challenges by meters. Getting the direct feedback on our products. Hearing from our community and ambassadors when they are having great experiences with their STRØM Bikes. Or experiencing multiple people offering help and repair service when needed in their local communities.
In this regard crowdfunding is such an interesting concept. On the one hand by connecting company and consumer directly. And on the other by putting power in the hands of our community by direct monetary voting on whether or not a product deserves to be brought into the world.
In our opinion we have just experienced the early potentials of crowdfunding with our first ‘reward’ campaigns. The future looks bright with a great community to give us feedback, challenge us and support one another along the road.
We strongly believe in this business model of ‘direct to you’ which allows to keep prices low while being in touch with our customers feedback, wants and needs.
An important part of our mission to transition to sustainable urban transportation is to make sure our ebikes are affordable and thus accessible to as many people as possible.
In the next part of ‘Direct To You’ we will explain the impact of our business and design models when reflecting on ‘design as a tool for change’.