The multiple lockdowns lead to an incredible 100% rise in weekday cycling, and a staggering 200% at weekends.
As they approach their ten year anniversary, Hornit is launching websites across the world, gaining international recognition for their products, and managing the ‘cycling boom’ which hit the United Kingdom. We sat down with Hornit’s marketing manager, Ben Stanbury, to see how the company has thrived.
Read time 8 minutes
In the last few years cycling has experienced its own renaissance. More and more people are choosing two wheels over four, for the environment, for health benefits, and thanks to ever-developing products designed specifically for safety and convenience. At the forefront of that is Hornit. Launched in 2012 by former lawyer and Ironman triathlete, Tom de Pelet, Hornit’s aim was to “create pioneering accessories that make cycling safer without compromising style.” Hornit broke onto the scene with its groundbreaking DB140 – the world’s loudest bike horn. Since then, they have managed to achieve even greater success with the launch of the world’s smallest bike storage piece; CLUG. We sat down with Hornit’s marketing manager, Ben Stanbury, to see how the company has handled the pandemic, their web development relationship with Dirty Martini Marketing, and what the future has in store for them.
Like the vast majority of the population, Hornit went into the last two years of COVID and lockdowns unsure of how it would impact them. “At the start, there was some trepidation. Then our search figures increased and our website was doing the best it ever had because people took up cycling to get their one hour of exercise during lockdown.” When we were all made to work from home, certain modes of transportation were left to gather dust. Not bicycles, though. The multiple lockdowns lead to an incredible 100% rise in weekday cycling, and a staggering 200% at weekends. “It benefitted us in a way. We have managed to keep the demand as well. We’re hoping it doesn’t drop off any time soon.”
Fortunately for Ben, and the rest of the team at Hornit, he need not worry. Figures released by Statista show that in 2021 the number of people cycling actually increased by more than a million from 2020, with some 7,493,000 donning their helmets and sitting down on two wheels. That is up from 6,276,600 in the previous year and almost 2,500,000 higher than five years ago in 2016. Before Ben’s time, Hornit’s target market was predominantly adults looking for the likes of CLUG, or the world’s loudest bike horn to improve their cycling experience, as he explains, “When we started it was adults who were solely interested in the type of products we were going to sell.” But that has now shifted, “I think it has changed slightly. We cater to families and children as well. We don’t want to alienate those who are passionate about cycling, so we are trying to ensure that our product range is suitable for everyone in a sense.” Hornit retail an incredible range of children’s helmets, all with stand-out designs, as well as actual bikes, like the hugely popular Balance Bikes and First Pedal Bikes.
But, COVID did not come without its difficulties. “There have been a few challenges. Shipping costs went up by around 350% which had a big effect on us in terms of working out how much a customer will have to pay for the delivery of their items.” It seemed like a double-edged sword for Hornit. Demand increased, with cycling’s popularity and stock rising continuously during the pandemic, but at the same time, curveballs in the form of costs and logistics continued to be hurled at the team. “Getting hold of stock was a big issue. There’s nearly a year-long wait to get components for our pedal bikes. We’re having to think ahead and try to account for that.” In marketing you need quick reactions, much like when you’re navigating traffic on a bike during your commute. Hornit works with Dirty Martini Marketing on Shopify website development. “We’re very much B2C focused now and website development plays a huge part in that. Dirty Martini has enabled us to expand across multiple countries as well and without that, without the ease, we may still be relying on B2B. During our 4th quarter in 2021, our conversion rate grew by 35% thanks to the functionality and usability of our site. ”
“We’re very much B2C focused now and website development plays a huge part in that. Dirty Martini has enabled us to expand across multiple countries as well and without that, without the ease, we may still be relying on B2B"
“Dirty Martini has helped us to develop our current site and got it into a really good position, and now we have been able to replicate that into our sites in other countries.” The company has been able to expand its website to four additonal countries within the space of a year – United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. In fact there are many places where customers can shop Hornit’s products. They’re on Amazon, CLUG can be found on Wiggle, while other products can be purchased via other retailers thanks to a robust wholesale approach. With growth continuing, and there seemingly being no end in sight for the cycling boom, the relationship between Hornit and Dirty Martini Marketing has never been more important. “Dirty Martini are very easy and flexible, very approachable as a team.” Ben said. “Some other agencies can charge you just for a conversation and I feel like we have a much more human relationship.”
Working directly with the website development team at Dirty Martini, Ben has overseen great change and growth in Hornit’s approach to their online presence, “If we need a quick change on the website, it’s done almost instantly, which can have a huge impact. It’s great that we can have high quality and bespoke work done for us.” As a result, the revenue through Hornit’s UK website increased by 201% between 2020 and 2021 – a figure which was helped thanks to the implementation of more dedicated landing pages. Dirty Martini are a fully integrated agency, which means we regularly meet directly with clients and their teams to maintain momentum and grow our relationships. We become an extended team for our clients and provide an in-house style service. Ben communicates directly with the relevant team members through email, as well as a shareable work board, and one-to-one meetings on a regular basis. Doing so allows us to really understand the client, who they are, what they want, and what they want to achieve, leading to greater results, as evidenced by Ben, “With Dirty Martini, I can give a brief and you will produce something that exceeds expectations.”
The goals are to keep up the momentum and do it efficiently. We want to drive more money into PR and marketing tools to help us expand further"
For a business doing so much right, their ambitions and goals remain modest but sensible. “The goals are to keep up the momentum and do it efficiently.” Ben told us as we wrapped up our conversation. “We want to drive more money into PR and marketing tools to help us expand further and we want to build loyalty with our customers, so we’re thinking of introducing a loyalty program within the site to help keep up relationships.” As a marketing agency, Dirty Martini could not be happier nor more excited to see and be a part of Hornit’s development. The future is certainly exciting, and we cannot wait to be a part of the ride. If you want to see how Dirty Martini Marketing can help support your business, contact us today. Or if you were interested in our web development work, check out our recent projects.