Helping entrepreneurs start selling online
During the lockdown in the autumn of 2020, bol.com sought to encourage local Belgian entrepreneurs with a number of online initiatives. iO took startenmetonlineverkopen.be under its wing, both the platform and the surrounding activities. Starten met online verkopen (“Start selling online”) is an initiative that aims to train and support local entrepreneurs in the area of online sales. The various lockdowns accelerated the need for a solid digital transformation and many local merchants can use some help to jump on this bandwagon.
Encourage local entrepreneurs to start selling online
Set up a digital platform and online webinars to share useful information about e-commerce
Bol.com, “the shop for all of us”, is one of the largest webshops and online marketplaces in the Benelux. In addition to its own range, bol.com also offers space on its platform for external merchants to sell their products.
Bol.com wants to make shopping easier, for all Belgians. It also wants to offer its sales partners opportunities to accelerate the growth of their businesses. That is why it searched for a way to help shopkeepers make qualitative online sales on the one hand and help customers support their local shopkeepers on the other. For the first part, bol.com approached iO.
On startenmetonlineverkopen.be, Belgian specialists help shopkeepers to give their business a solid commercial footing online. On this platform, we offer four webinars — each based on real questions from local entrepreneurs.
The intention is to have these questions answered as concretely as possible by a number of experts in the field. The webinars are aimed at both entrepreneurs who already have a webshop and entrepreneurs who only have a physical store.
Specifically, we organised these sessions:
As an entrepreneur, how do I get the most out of the end-of-year period? — Mathias Vissers (iO)
How can I create online awareness for my shop? — Jente Kasprowski (Inventis)
How do I deal with shipping and returns for (online) sales? — Benjamin Dieleman (Bol.com)
How do I achieve success through customer communication? — Steven Van Belleghem (iO)
iO determined both the content of the webinars and their technical setup. We also designed marketing automation flows for the communication before and after the sessions. The webinars can also be rewatched afterwards.
Influencer marketing with Kamal
We called in well-known Belgian comedian Kamal Kharmach for the communication and support. Thanks to the television programme Andermans zaken (“Other people’s business”), he has also built up credibility around his own entrepreneurial expertise, which makes him the perfect moderator for the webinars.
Besides his role as host, we also leverage his status and familiarity with entrepreneurs to make an appeal to those local entrepreneurs, through the press, radio advertisements, and social media.
Kamal was the unambiguous face of the campaign, which he “set up together with experts and bol.com”. This added credibility and interest from various media. To support Kamal's communication, we also ran ad campaigns on social media, calling on entrepreneurs to register for the webinars. In addition, a 20-second radio spot was run to reinforce that reach.
The campaign was a great success, with an average of 2000 registrations per webinar and high feedback scores. This indicates that, together with bol.com, we not only succeeded in reaching as many local Belgian entrepreneurs as possible, but that they were also interested in the message and satisfied with the result. The Q&A sessions after each webinar also showed that there is still a great need for online training for entrepreneurs.
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