When CEO of Triobike, Sammy Eisinger, was in his third year of his study as a Kaospilot, one of his fellow students was looking for a cheap cargo-bike. However, he thought the prices were too high compared to the quality, and cheaper and better bikes could be found in China. For Sammy, however, the task was not to create a cheaper cargo-bike, but rather a better one. This is how Triobike was born.
The first bike Triobike made was a multifunctional cargo-bike, which could function as a bike, a stroller, as well as a cargo-bike. This three-in-one idea gave birth to the Triobike concept. The concept worked in theory, and the company quickly got funding and competent management. However, the concept turned out the be more challenging than expected. The multifunctional property was complicated in terms of construction, and the three-in-one function was not really used by the customers. As this was the only product Triobike sold for years, it created a vertical product offer that didn't reflect the flexibility of the product.
In 2009, Triobike created Mono that was simply a cargo-bike. After just one year, Mono accounted for 93% of the turnover. Triobike, therefore, said goodbye to the three-in-one concept. For the past three yars, Triobike has seen as 50% growth every year. Nevertheless, their market share is relatively low compared to their competitors on the market. Therefore Triobike applied to participate in Scaling by Design, Danish Design Centre's scaling programme.
"We knew we had some good products and were ready to scale on the market. Of course we'd been selling lots of bikes, but my feeling was we still had a lot more potential. We had to break the code. There are so many examples of success stories with companies, which have scaled successfully, but then there's a sea of people who don't scale even though the potential is there."
"There are so many examples of success stories with companies, which have scaled successfully, but then there's a sea of people who don't scale even though the potential is there."
During the course of Scaling by Design, It quickly became clear to Sammy Eisinger that Triobike had been way too focused on the product itself. The brand awareness was lower than for their competitors, which is why Triobikes brand identity became the central point of a transformation where everything was changed except the name and logo. Triobike's identity had been based on an internal understanding of the brand, which rested upon the bike's functionality.
"You can have the best product in the world, but it doesn't matter of no one knows about it. I realised it's a problem if our company can't communicate who we are. Have we even thought about this since we started out back in 2003?"
”You can have the best product in the world, but it doesn't matter if no one knows about it."
Sammy Eisinger realised that their previous focus and what the customers were looking for were two entirely different things. The customers didn't want to buy the bike because of its technical details but because of the lifestyle a cargo-bike made possible. A lifestyle based on the bike culture of Copenhagen.
"I thought, god dammit Sammy, we're in Copenhagen and all you're thinking about is taillights, brakes and componenets, but that is not what people want to buy. They want to buy the lifestyle. That was really a wake-up call. We need to talk about how having a cargo-bike gives you flexibiloty, better relations to your kids, and just makes a lot of things easier in general."
The focus for Triobike's communication and image was changed from being about bikes to being about urban mobility. If Triobike is to keep growing, their potential customers are those who drive a car, take the bus or have other means of getting around the city; not just the customers who buy their competitors cargo-bike.
Triobike's succes is a great example of the design-driven approach to business. The focus on the product and its aesthetics have created a high-quality product which is constantly adjusted. Quality, aesthetics and function are more important than the price of the product, and this is what drives their innovation department TRIOLAB.
The realisation of what Triobike's customers are really buying has moved the design thinking to a strategic level, which has been extremely beneficial. Even though the product is the same, the changed Triobike have made have ensured that the product is understood in relation to the customers rather than the functionality.
Most significant is the opening of their flagship store at Gammel Kongevej, which is their overall communications platform, along with a brand new CVI which all communication makes use of. On top of this, the company has hired employees whose sole job it is to deal with branding and communication. Triobike's flagship store has made the brand much more visible in Copenhagen, which has resulted in a notable increase in the turnover within the Danish market. They are continuously beating the previous turnover records and are growing faster than expected.
A recent EU study showed that more than 62% of trips taken by families with children are shorter than 6 kilometres. This indicated that the story of Triobike has just begun. It is now their mission to ensure that these trips happen by cargo-bike rather than by car.