Arjan van Deelen and Nathalie Pitzalis work together at the independent digital agency, Fosby, which is based in the Netherlands. One of their largest clients is spare parts retailer FixPart, which recently achieved unprecedented international growth. Here's how they did it:
Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of their environmental impact on the world. A recent Kantar study shows that the number of shoppers highly focused on taking actions to reduce waste has been growing year on year (YOY) since 2019.1
One clear way consumers can do that is by fixing broken items rather than replacing them. That’s why Dutch spare parts and accessory retailer, FixPart, wants to make it as easy as possible for people around the world to access their wide-ranging catalogue.
“In Europe, the average household has about 15 appliances,” says Bryan Thijssen, Search Engine Advertising (SEA) specialist at FixPart. “When items break, people are often tempted to replace them as it can be challenging to find and buy the right spare parts. We want to change that.”
As FixPart’s long-standing agency partner, we’re helping them achieve that goal with an automation strategy aimed at accelerating their international growth.
A market-by-market approach
By 2025, FixPart wants to be the biggest spare parts retailer in Europe. The goal is to launch in as many countries as possible in that time, so it’s never a question of where we’re going so much as how we’re going to do it.
As part of our collaboration with Google’s international growth agency team, the first thing we do before entering a new market is to use tools and resources, including Market Finder, for market prioritisation and local insights.
We look into FixPart’s competitors for each market, what the local demand is for their products, and key demographics, such as internet population and standard of living. This contextual information is crucial in helping us shape our individual go-to-market plans. For example, a higher standard of living might mean people are more inclined to replace broken appliances.
But at the same time, the growing trend of conscious consumerism could make people more mindful of things like electronic waste, meaning discarded electrical or electronic devices. These are things we need to take into account as they directly influence demand.
One of the first markets FixPart moved into was France, where a 23% YOY increase in Google Search interest around appliance repair2 indicated a clear trend of people increasingly choosing to repair their broken home appliances. In fact, electric home appliances are the items most frequently repaired in France.3
Combined with the fact that, on average, 50% of home appliances in French households break down within the first five years,4 this revealed a great potential demand for FixPart.
We also established that the ad competitiveness in France was lower than in other markets, such as Germany and the United States, making it a cheaper market to enter.
Payment and delivery options: Different expectations in different countries
Once we have a good initial impression of a market, we look at the global business solutions available for that particular country. This type of knowledge helps us get the operations up and running much more quickly.
We learnt, for example, that 70% of the German population prefers to pay via bank transfer and 20% uses ‘buy now, pay later’. In the Netherlands, these numbers are much lower — 40% and 8% respectively.5
Knowing that Germans prefer to pay by bank transfer, FixPart added this payment option to their website and highlighted the functionality in all their dynamic Search Ads. Translation: Bank transfer possible.
We also found out that if delivery is free, German consumers are happy to wait for up to 3-4 business days for their order. If it isn’t, they expect their order to be delivered at least one day earlier. Knowing that before we launched meant we could meet customer expectations from the very start.
Accelerating international growth with automation
When the groundwork is done and we’ve gathered enough insights, the final step is setting our ad campaigns live. During this phase we really reap the rewards of our comprehensive market research as it allows us to easily allocate budget, select ad groups, and ad copy based on local findings.
Example of a FixPart Search ad in France, which responds to the global trend of conscious consumerism. Translation: Repair your device and do something for the environment and your wallet.
Once the ads are live, we monitor performance – predominantly conversions, return on ad spend (ROAS) and cost per acquisition (CPA) – in Google Ads and make changes if needed. During this phase we really learn how local audiences respond to our brand and what products we should be focusing on.
As Smart Shopping allows us to run one, fully automated ad campaign across markets, we can cover a wider range of products without losing oversight or having to spend time making manual adjustments. This means we can launch new campaigns quickly and let the algorithm do the work, which has made it possible for FixPart to grow at a much faster rate.
As a result, FixPart was able to launch in seven new markets in the space of just six months — driving 4.3X overall conversions and 3X overall revenue year over year. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for our collaboration with Google’s international growth team and FixPart’s progressive attitude towards expanding their business.
“We hope that making our products available across Europe will encourage more consumers to recycle and give fixing their broken items a try,” says Thijssen. “Having that end goal in mind really keeps us ambitious. Our global growth journey isn’t nearly over yet.”