The story of Rollei began in 1920 in a precision mechanics and optics workshop in Braunschweig. As early as 1916, Reinhold Heidecke had the explicit idea of marketing a new kind of roll film camera.
RCP-Technik GmbH & Co. KG acquired the trademark rights in 2007 and since then has marketed products under the Rollei brand. Since 2015, the company has been known as Rollei GmbH & Co. KG and currently has a presence in more than twenty European countries.
The product range is very diverse and includes professional photography accessories such as tripods, square filters, camera backpacks and flash units as well as action cams, digital cameras, digital photo frames and slide scanners.
Being a well-established and recognized manufacturer’s brand within the photography segment, Rollei made its first steps into e-commerce in 2013. “The Rollei webstore is available in five languages – German, English, Spanish, French and Italian. However, we also sell in a range of other international markets. Our main goal online is to inform potential buyers about the products that stand for high and trustworthy quality as well as to present outstanding customer service and flexible return options,” said Jessica Mueller, head of marketing, Rollei.
Rollei built a successful business-to-business (B2B) business selling its products to major German retailers including Media Markt, Saturn and specialized photography stores. The company also distributes to and on Amazon and has a growing business-to-consumer (B2C) business selling directly to end consumers who are predominantly hobby photographers.
“At the beginning of our online journey, the main purpose was to direct consumers to Rollei’s website to provide them with detailed information about the wide range of the available products,” said Mrs. Mueller. “We put a lot of effort into our website; however, we knew that it would be difficult to keep the sales numbers high because as a brand we are restricted with our price campaigns. We could track the visitor numbers of our own website as well as individual products, but once the potential buyer left the site, we had no overview about the next steps.”
The primary problem Rollei was faced was that customers would visit its website to research merchandise, but in many cases they would leave to browse the internet for retailers and would get distracted by competitor’s products.
“We realized that to further expand our market share, we would need to find a solution that could fix this problem, so that we could achieve a streamlined path to purchase for consumers,” explained Mrs. Mueller.
Rollei began using ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy to ease the buying journey of their customers. Now, by clicking on the Where to Buy widget, consumers can see Rollei’s preferred resellers for particular products, and with one click, they’re taken directly to the product detail page where they can check out and process their order.
“We implemented Where to Buy with relative ease. It has really helped us change the way our brand interacts with consumers,” said Mrs. Mueller. “The launch was straightforward – we trust the ChannelAdvisor for Brands solution and find it quite innovative and flexible. Our account manager at ChannelAdvisor is always dedicated so that we could adapt our campaigns to our need.”
“The Where to Buy technology and concept perfectly aligns with our strategy — to simplify the customer’s journey so they can quickly find the right products without the effort of a new search on resellers websites with the reduced risk of being distracted by the competitor’s products,” said Mrs. Mueller.
Since implementing ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy, Rollei is able to track the number of clicks for the individual resellers. “Where to Buy is a huge benefit for us because previously we didn’t have any visibility into where consumers were going after they came to our website to research a certain product,” said Mrs Mueller. “We’re tracking what products consumers are looking for and where they’re going next. It all means that consumers go through reduced amount of steps required to purchase products and also it improves our overall e-commerce strategy by using better analytics.”
The next step for the company is the implementation of the ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces. “We have been selling on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay for quite some time and decided to take our marketplace endeavor to the next level,” said Mrs. Mueller. “ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces offers a secure, stable and efficient integration that will help us further expand in Germany as well as on international scale. ChannelAdvisor is part of our immense success as a brand and we look forward to bright future.”
The e-commerce future looks promising for Rollei since discovering the ChannelAdvisor Where to Buy. Now the photography manufacturer can step back and focus on strategic decision-making instead of day-to-day tactics.