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How Niko reshaped its business model while expanding consumer reach

min. read
Business question

What is the secret of a successful Go-to-Market strategy?

Understanding who, what, and why is the foundation of every new product launch. And Niko knows this principle very well.

This family business designs electric and electronic solutions to enhance buildings to suit better the needs of the people who live and work in them. Niko solutions use less energy, improve light comfort, safety, and work together seamlessly with other applications. Niko homes are efficient, controllable from a distance, and interact within bigger ecosystems. Based in Belgium, the company counts over 700 employees in ten European branches.

"How can we make your buildings work better for you?" is the question Niko asks every day. Their portfolio covers everything you need for full home automation — from switches, dimmers, sockets, and controls to advanced partner integrations and other related automation products.

Their home automation flagship product is Niko Home Control, which is initially based on bus wiring, dedicated wiring for home automation that is planned. Considering this type of smart home is applicable mainly for newly built or fully renovated homes and always requires full professional installation assistance.

To expand their offer and reach a new potential audience, Niko decided to extend Niko Home Control with solutions for existing wiring. Because this flexible solution integrates with the present wiring in the home, it can be done in most existing houses without major interventions. This model of using traditional wiring allows more customers to experience the benefits of professional home automation. This is a major step into the new market for home automation.

Introducing the new solution while learning directly from consumers

"Niko is a front runner in home automation. In the past, it was mainly related to new buildings and large renovation projects. Three years ago, we started creating additional solutions adapted to the existing wiring in a home. As this is our new type of service, we wanted to keep learning how to market this product, understand how to promote the current solution, but also get more guidance to develop future strategies," says Leon Theune, Segment Manager Retail, and B2B2C at Niko.

Considering it was a large-scale project, Niko decided to reach out to several external consulting and research agencies for help. Among many candidates that applied for the project, boobook stood out for two reasons. "They already worked on another pricing study before, so they knew a lot about the company, our products, and how we work. And they are experts in delivering strategic insights," explains Leon.

"Boobook convinced us that they could deliver not just data, but strategic insights that relate to our business objectives, and they did better in a compelling way with outstanding examples showing they know how the market works," says Leon.

Integrating quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis

The study covered six EU countries (Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Belgium) with thousands of people interviewed. Since Niko is already active in those countries, it was logical to explore the full potential of the new solution.

When launching a new product or service, it's crucial to understand what people are willing to buy and how much they are willing to pay. "Boobook brought in a vast field of potential topics that we could look into, suggesting the most important and most vital strategic questions. They brought focus and much-needed objective perspective," confirms Leon.

Boobook stepped in with their experience and expertise by proposing a pricing strategy and ideas on how to market the new product line. 

"The study launched in April 2020. In the first phase of the project, we did a qualitative study to funnel the research's quantitative phase and enrich the quantitative results. The second phase took place just after COVID-19 struck. Due to the pandemic, we were a bit reluctant to continue with the research. We wanted to be sure that there are no barriers for people to express their opinion despite the pandemic," admits Leon.

Leon describes the collaboration process as intense and proactive both in the qualitative and quantitative phase, "because of the high volume of the insights, and the broadness of the story, it was crucial to follow up and have sessions together - which was great because we worked as one team."

Defining a go-to-market strategy based on key insights

The study brought several key strategic insights regarding customer segments, pricing models, business models, upcoming features, and price sensitivity.

"We see a lot of potential for the new Niko Home Control traditional wiring solution, as well as the need for our premium service and support. The study results offer great guidelines for further development of our product and overall customer experience," says Leon.  

Leon Theune, Segment Manager Retail, and B2B2C at Niko

The research results turned out to be very important and valuable for every department (marketing, product development, customer support, etc.). "Based on the study with boobook, we defined and developed short and long-term actions that we're going to integrate into our strategy and execute accordingly. Next to that, we're working on a whitepaper showcasing the most important insights we will share with all departments. This way, everyone will be aligned and apply insights correctly, which will help us focus on a customer-centric mindset," confirms Leon.

"If you're considering launching a quantitative study, boobook is a great partner because of their expertise and business intelligence. Their biggest value comes from a team of academic and strategic people with a comprehensive understanding of the market. This combination is a winner as research requires a rational, analytical and pragmatic approach," concludes Leon.

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