For this customer story, we spoke with Jan Heumann, Online Marketing Manager at Solarplexius as well as Shikha Singh, UK Country Manager.
Solarplexius: Becoming a driving force
Solarplexius has been in the window-tinting game for a long time now. Founded in Sweden in 1988, they now serve thousands of customers in multiple markets across Europe.
Recognising the emerging consumer trends, the company started selling online in the early 2000s.
With the automobile culture being what it is, Solarplexius set up their own office in Germany while still keeping the production and main company in Sweden. Quite quickly, the relatively small family-business has grown to over 30 employees by 2023.
Breaking into new markets can still be very challenging for this experienced brand. Besides the legal red tape involved in getting approval in different countries, it is also challenging to build trust with customers in new markets who will place your products all over their cars.
Test drive on the "Autobahn"
In the world of automobiles, traffic is usually not a good thing. In the world of e-commerce, however, traffic can be a great thing… but only if it can bring in sales. One of Solarplexius’ biggest challenges was converting the traffic they were receiving into customers.
According to Jan Heumann, Online Marketing Manager at Solarplexius,
“We noticed that we got a lot of traffic on our site, but conversions had to improve. We knew that we needed to build trust with new customers. As Germany was quickly growing into our biggest market, we decided to test Trusted Shops on our website because of their reputation. We wanted to show people we are legit.”
With a focus on the German market, building trust with the help of Trusted Shops was the clear choice. Solarplexius decided to implement Trusted Shops’ hallmark product, the Trustmark, on their .de domain.
The Trusted Shops Trustmark is a certificate awarded to shops that follow best practices based on EU regulations and average customer ratings.
Shops that display the Trustmark can offer their customers a 30-day Buyer Protection, which protects customers from non-delivery or legally-returned products.
The Trustmark has a very high recognition rate in Germany. In fact, according a recent survey, Trusted Shops has a 77% brand awareness level in the German market.
So how did this “test drive” perform in Germany? Jan tells us,
“Over the first year, we noticed that we received a lot of good reviews, which helped boost our overall rating. We also saw our conversion rate go up by about 6%.”
Conversions across borders
*solarplexius.co.uk rating as of 27 March 2023
Together with Trusted Shops, Solarplexius found success in Germany.
It was time to see if Trusted Shops could benefit their other target markets. Solarplexius decided to implement Trusted Shops solutions in other regions, including the UK, Italy, France, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal.
“When we saw success in the German market, we decided to expand the solutions into our other existing markets as well.”
In 2019, they added the Trustmark to their UK domain. Almost immediately, a change was noticed in the site’s performance. Shika Singh, UK Country Manager, tells us,
“There was a nearly 20% decrease in cart abandonment on the UK website after implementing the Trustbadge.”
Seeing success in the German and UK market was a great achievement. However, it wasn’t the only market where the Trustmark and customer reviews were having an impact on their business.
In Portugal, where they collect reviews and display their rating on their homepage, cart abandonment rates fell by about 13%. In Italy, this number also went down by 8%.
Clearly, conversions were being impacted positively with Trusted Shops’ solutions. The Trustmark with Buyer Protection is a great way to build a sense of security for new customers. However, another important part of the customer journey is finding out what other customers have to say about a business.
When customer feedback helps optimise a product
Solarplexius works hard on their products, doing their best to meet customer demands. Although customer feedback is important for every business, it carries extra weight for a brand whose products are designed for tens of thousands of automobiles manufactured around the world.
Creating so many variations of their products comes with its challenges. The same car model might be produced in two different factories on two sides of the world. This means that small variations in a car company’s manufacturing process can have an effect on the fit of Solarplexius’ products.
Companies like this can use customer feedback to continually optimise and perfect their products. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and lower returns. For companies like Solarplexius, collecting and reacting to customer reviews benefits them immensely. Shikha Singh tells us,
“It’s always good for potential customers to read reviews from past customers – and replying to reviews gives us an opportunity to improve our products since they are made for thousands of automobile models and we stay engaged with our customers. It’s a great tool if you care about what the customer thinks.”
Solarplexius knows that the customer journey begins before the consumer enters the website. Advertising on Google plays an important role in driving traffic to their site. Using Google-certified reviews from Trusted Shops has allowed them to display their star-ratings directly in their Google text and Google Shopping Ads, which has been proven to increase the click-through rates of ads, and thus decreases the CPCs of the campaigns as well.
Reputation management with Trusted Shops
Besides the ads that appear in Google, organic performance on search engines is also important for driving traffic to the site.
When a consumer searches for reviews for a specific company, shop profiles give access to customer reviews so they can make an informed decision about a shop’s service. Star-ratings often accompany these review profiles in the search results.
By using the Trusted Shops Reputation Manager, Solarplexius is able to improve their reputation in the search results, even beyond the Trusted Shops review profile.
In the case of Solarplexius, they wanted to put focus on Google Customer Reviews to improve their Google Business Profile, which often appears in search results. They also wanted to improve the results of their Google Ad campaigns, which can also display star-ratings.
Currently, they send about 60% of their review invites to their Trusted Shops profile and 40% to their Google Customer Reviews profile.
“Our Google Customer Reviews are also important to our business and the Reputation Manager has been really helpful in that regard! We see 4 and 5 stars in all our markets.”
A search for the company’s reputation on Google results in an ad being displayed as well as the organic shop profile below it, both showing a high star-rating.
The experience of riding with Trusted Shops
Solarplexius makes products and improves them over time based on the results they observe. They took a similar approach when working with Trusted Shops. After seeing clear improvements in the German market, they expanded the use of the trust solutions into other markets.
Even smaller features helped improve their website’s performance. Jann Heumann tells us,
“The Exit-intent Pop-up worked really well. Visitors who intended to leave our page were inspired to make a purchase when they were offered a discount code. This worked particularly well during our slower seasons.”
Aside from the quantifiable results that Trusted Shops brings to Solarplexius, the experience of working with the team also stood out to Jan, especially for a business that uses many solutions for their e-commerce business.
“It’s one of the parts we are most satisfied with. Other services don’t have a dedicated customer success manager – so it’s nice building a relationship with someone I can always come back to with any issues.”
Trusted Shops, much like Solarplexius, thrives on customer feedback – this leads to new ideas, innovations, and eventually products that can help businesses build trust with their audiences.
With over 20 years of e-commerce experience, one thing that Trusted Shops has learned is that not every successful business has hundreds (or thousands) of employees.
Jan Heumann may work in online marketing, but like many of us, he wears many different hats in the company. That is why Trusted Shops places so much importance on making easy-to-use products – from the user interface to the integration of our solutions into the most popular e-commerce platforms and CRM systems. Jan tells us,
“Once everything is integrated, it is really easy to use. After being set up, the processes worked smoothly and automatically.”
If you want to learn about the Trustmark with Buyer Protection, our reviews system, the Reputation Manager, or any of our other trust solutions, get in contact with us by clicking on the link below.