Power Tools

Bosch garden tools: Success through systematic use of changing online trends Bernd Müller
Sales Director for Germany, Austria, Switzerland
of the Power Tools Division
of Robert Bosch GmbH
on the occasion of the press conference
in Stuttgart on August 26, 2014

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  • August 26, 2014
  • Power Tools
  • Presentations

press release

Ladies and Gentlemen,
On 13th July of this year, millions of people around the world watched as the German soccer team won the World Cup on the turf of the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Only minutes after the final whistle was blown, we posted our congratulations online on Facebook with a clever wordplay on lawn mowers: "From now on, this is our turf again!" In no time at all, our post was shared by countless users with friends and acquaintances, thereby multiplying the message. In this way, we were able to share this special moment with our customers.

Social media has an important role to play when it comes to marketing our garden tools. Today, I would like to show you how Bosch utilizes the many different possibilities offered by social media and what advantages they offer our customers. But before I get to that, I would like to take a look at the development of the market, our market share and our sales in 2013.

Bosch outpaces the market
In 2013, the German market for electric garden tools contracted by seven percent to 2.4 million units and in terms of value by five percent to 286 million euro. Frost and snow until April mitigated against a bumper year for gardeners. Above all, it had a detrimental effect on the sales of corded tools because increasing numbers of gardening enthusiasts are coming to appreciate the advantages of cordless tools. The market share of cordless gardening tools increased again in 2013, by three percent to 41 percent.

The willingness of users to spend more on innovative, high-quality products is still high: the average price for electric garden tools has risen by 15 percent to 122 euro during the last five years.

We are benefiting from this trend towards cordless tools and quality products. In 2013, Bosch outperformed the competition in DIY outlets and online marketplaces – our main two distribution channels. Whereas the market stagnated, our sales rose by 13 percent. We were able to increase our market share by four percentage points to 37 percent. Our cordless tools in particular contributed to this encouraging result: where the market for cordless garden tools grew in terms of value by six percent, sales of Bosch cordless tools rose by 21 percent. We were able to increase our market share by six percentage points. Bosch's market share in the cordless segment is now 51 percent. What this means is that, when buying cordless tools in German DIY outlets and online marketplaces, gardening enthusiasts are increasingly placing their trust in the Bosch brand.

Since making its market debut in 2013, our robotic lawnmower Indego has been an outstanding success story. It achieved a market share of 34 percent in DIY outlets and online marketplaces. In 2013, it made a significant contribution to the 35 percent growth of the "robotic lawnmower" category in DIY outlets and online marketplaces.

Bosch is a popular brand in other cordless segments, too: in DIY outlets and online marketplaces we achieved a market share by value of 71 percent with cordless lawnmowers, 69 percent with cordless hedgecutters, 45 percent with cordless shrub shears and 47 percent with cordless grass trimmers.

Online presence: more and more important for users and manufacturers
To be successful in business, you have to be able to identify major trends in advance and act accordingly. This is why we pay close attention to what our users say and want. An unmistakable trend is the rapidly increasing use of mobile devices: when users privately go online today, about 65 percent of the time they do so using laptops, smartphones or tablets. Smartphones are used most often. These new technical developments are also changing the information behavior of gardening tool users. Instead of consuming traditional media such as magazines or TV reports as in the past, today they also use online resources, and are therefore better informed than ever before.

According to the findings of the "International fediyma home improvement Consumer Study" of 2014, online media are now among the main sources of information for do-it-yourselfers and garden owners. They are already ranked third, nearly equal in importance to in-store assistance and personal recommendations from friends and acquaintances.

Bosch uses changing online trends to its advantage
We are using these trends to engage in dialog with our customers and massively increase our online presence. Our online activities are aimed at achieving three goals: firstly to inspire, secondly to inform and thirdly to promote and stimulate interaction with users. For instance, users can draw inspiration from the "1-2-do.com" community launched by Bosch and through the Pinterest social network. The Bosch garden website, the dealer websites and our Youtube videos offer a wealth of information. To promote and stimulate interaction with users, we actively post on Facebook – the world's largest social network.

Success through inspiration: the 1-2-do community
In the 1-2-do community, which now boasts 95,000 members, projects and workshops are mostly produced and posted by the members themselves, encouraging others to participate. The community has grown in size by over 40 percent since 2013 and currently hosts some 8,200 projects, of which around 1,600 are gardening projects. That is more than twice as many than at the end of last year. In the community, users share their experiences and opinions, network with one another and inspire each other – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Experienced community members and Bosch experts are always on hand to answer questions and to provide advice on Bosch garden tools and power tools in the forum.

1-2-do community workshops were staged in various German towns and cities in 2013. They bring the community members together and create a link between the virtual and the real world.

We also encourage the active involvement of users in the 1-2-do community by offering them the opportunity to participate in product tests and competitions. Judging by the high level of participation and the many comments on the platform, both are very popular activities indeed. The competitions are a fertile ground for creative ideas – such as a canopy for the charging station of the Indego robotic lawnmower in the style of a half-timbered water mill.

Success through inspiration: Pinterest
We achieve a strong multiplier effect by networking 1-2-do.com with Pinterest – a portal where users can create virtual pinboards. The pinboards of Bosch Heimwerken & Garten Deutschland showcase numerous projects from the 1-2-do community covering a variety of topics. They provide gardening enthusiasts with inspirational landscaping ideas for their home and garden, while encouraging them to post and share their own projects.

Success through information: the Bosch garden website
The Bosch garden website is considered by many to be the ultimate online platform for gardening enthusiasts. More than 325,000 users visited the website during the first six months. This is an increase of 40 percent on the previous year. On our website, users can view product videos, download operating instructions, find out about new products and promotions and also participate in them. Social networks are integrated into our website, as is the possibility to rate our products directly. This way, Bosch receives authentic customer feedback. In the "Service" area, users can obtain information on repairs, replacement parts or gardening tool maintenance. They can also locate dealers in the area.

To keep with the trend towards mobile communication, we have also optimized the content of the Bosch garden website for easy viewing and use on a smartphone – with great success: the number of visitors to our mobile website rose during the first five months of this year by a factor of more than 2.5 compared with the number of visitors during the last five months of last year.

Users can not only obtain information on our website – they can also buy tools directly online. For this purpose, we have linked our website to the websites on dealer online shops. This has advantages for customers and retailers alike: the customer can locate a tool quickly and easily, while retailers benefit from the fact that we direct buyers to their website. By doing so, we were able to increase sales with garden tools through dealer websites by around 40 percent in 2013.

Success through a strong Bosch presence: the dealer websites
In addition, we help dealers to integrate the Bosch brand environment into their online shop by providing videos, images and texts. That way, we can guarantee our customers a high-quality buying and brand experience. The strong Bosch presence is good for the online sales of these retailers: in 2013, all ten of the top ten online best-selling electric garden tools were made by Bosch.

Success through information and demonstration: Youtube
We use our online Youtube channel to inform our users by video about the product advantages and application of our tools. We are currently represented by more than 190 videos. They help with first-time operation of our products and explain their use. The popularity of these videos is reflected in the fact that they attracted 330,000 views in the first half of 2014, which is an increase of 77 percent compared with the same period in the previous year. The play time of our videos increased by 112 percent to more than 600,000 minutes. This means you could watch Bosch videos on Youtube for a whole year without interruption.

Success through peer-to-peer communication: Facebook
To promote and stimulate interaction with users, we actively post on Facebook – the world's largest social network. Our Bosch Heimwerken & Garten Deutschland website now has over 185,000 fans. That is almost twice as many as during last year. This means that on Facebook we have a reach of 21 million contacts. Guided and open peer-to-peer communication builds trust in the Bosch brand, turning enthusiastic customers into authentic brand ambassadors and multipliers.

To inspire as many users as possible, we communicate some of our innovations through Facebook in a less serious way. Take for example our "robotic lawnmower versus sheep" comparison. We hope this post will put a smile on the face of viewers and stick in their memory.

Taking customer loyalty to a new level
All new media are highly networked and visited by many users on a cross-portal basis. If the buyer of an Indego, for example, is looking for installation hints, he can find these on the Bosch garden website or on Youtube. The next thing he does is write an enthusiastic post on Facebook about how easy the tool is to use. Here he learns about the Bosch competition on the 1-2-do.com website and spontaneously posts a creative suggestion. The result can be seen on his Pinterest page. This is an example of how a simple online search can lead to a broad dialog on gardening topics, which in turn inspires many other users. The multiplier effect of our Internet activities is important because it enables us to advise and support our customers through the various online channels in all matters relating to their gardening hobby and the use of our tools, not only more often but also more individually. This takes customer loyalty to a new level. It is not unusual for users to become ardent Bosch fans.

Forecast
In spite of the adverse weather conditions, 2013 was a successful year for the Bosch Lawn and Garden business unit in Germany. It is, therefore, a seamless continuation of the successful development of recent years, in which Bosch has made steady gains in market share. During the period between 2007 and 2013 we almost doubled our market share in Germany to 37 percent from 20 percent. We achieved this thanks to our innovative products, as well as the fact that our marketing and service are always in touch with the latest trends. In 2014 we will again make every effort to live up to this claim by winning over even more gardening enthusiasts and, thus, gaining further market share.

RF00235 - August 26, 2014

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