Set up just eight months ago, North East e-commerce business 4EV has already seen its first international expansion with the launch of its new website in the Netherlands, specifically targeting international customers.
Selling charging cables and accessories for electric vehicles, 4EV was created after owner Darren Pegram bought his own electric car and realised there were very few places he could buy such products at a reasonable price.
4EV’s UK site www.4ev.co.uk has already sold hundreds of cables and has now expanded with the launch of www.4ev.nl, set up to cater for the growing EV market across the Netherlands.
The expansion came about after Darren Pegram, from Darlington, met Dennis Evers at an e-commerce conference in Amsterdam. The pair, whose backgrounds are both in IT and systems development, decided to launch the site together using Darren’s experience of running the UK site and Dennis’ local knowledge.
The partnership has already proven to be a winning combination, with more orders placed in the weeks since the Dutch site’s launch than with the UK site during the same period.
Darren said: “There is a much bigger market for electric vehicles in the Netherlands than many other European countries which is one of the reasons I was keen to expand there first. Having Dennis as a business partner for the Dutch site has been invaluable as although the products are essentially the same, the selling process is very different.
“The response so far has been fantastic and it has given us a great boost and confidence that 4EV websites could be established for other countries too.”
While the cables on offer through the Dutch site are identical to the UK version, different customer preferences have already emerged. Darren continued: “In the UK we have found the straight cables to be the more popular choice whereas in Holland customers seem to prefer the coiled variety which are slightly heavier and more expensive but mean the cable doesn’t trail on the ground.”
Some of the cables ordered through the Dutch website are dispatched from a storage facility in the Dutch city of Utrecht, with others sent directly from 4EV’s head office in Darlington.
Speaking of the launch of the new website, Dennis said: “When I first discussed the EV cable business with Darren I immediately saw the potential. Because of Darren’s contacts with suppliers we could enter the market offering the cables at competitive prices.
“But when we actually launched the site I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the first few weeks things have been great. We are now working on launching a Belgium site as well. There’s no language barrier and Belgium customers are used to shopping online in the Netherlands.”
Following the success of the Dutch launch Darren now has plans to set up a site catering for the American market and has already bought the www.4ev.com domain name.
He said: “The EV market in the Netherlands is big but the United States is by far and away the biggest market for electric vehicles and we will now be focusing our energy on getting an American site up and running.
“In some ways it will be more straight forward than the Dutch site as there is no language barrier and we can run the site from the UK, we just need a storage facility in the US.
“These are exciting times for the business and sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are still in our first year of trading, but we are very ambitious and passionate about electric vehicles, as are our customers, and it is this passion that allows us to deliver a first class service.”