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ThinkPlace worked on an export strategy for shoe company Bobux

Innovative market research for a loved NZ brand

How does a NZ children’s shoe company cut through in a crowded, competitive and established market on the other side of the world?

Bobux, a New Zealand company founded in 1991, offers a range of shoes for babies and toddlers and has experienced success with its products in New Zealand and some other markets.

The company wanted to know what it needed to do and how it needed to present its products in order to establish a successful export business in Northern Europe. 



Bobux was keen to maximise the market opportunities created with the onboarding of their new Northern European based distributor. They had a small market share of enthusiastic consumers and wanted to extend their geographical footprint and grow market share. 

Leveraging the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise network in Europe, they accessed data that gave detailed information about their target market in Europe.  This pointed them in the direction of Germany and in particular the cosmopolitan city of Hamburg to deep dive into their assumptions and find out more.


ThinkPLace carried out innovative customer research for shoe brand Bobux


Through the Better by Design programme offered to New Zealand export companies by NZTE (a human centred research approach to a deeper understanding of people’s needs, behaviours and experiences in off-shore markets) Bobux embarked on a journey to understand their German customer directly.   

ThinkPlace recruited a German based human centred research team, designed the research approach with Bobux and introduced them to the team here in NZ , prior to them all convening in Hamburg.  It was important to have a local team who spoke German and to understood nuances of the language, location and behaviours observed.   



The German based research team spoke to Hamburg parents in their homes, seeking information about their childhoods, their children’s needs, their thoughts on children’s foot health and their preferences when putting their own children in shoes - from learning to walk to school and sports shoes.  

They also discussed their weekend activities, where they spend time and what they do.  

Engagements took place in-home and over 1-2 hrs. The research teams encouraged parents to show them their shoes, their children’s bedrooms, their closets and storage. 

Our research team went to parks and other child friendly spaces and gathering points to observe what children were doing and what footwear they wore. Their Distributor also accompanied them to the in-store environments to see the context for Bobux shoes being sold and in particular how they were being displayed.


ThinkPLace carried out innovative customer research for shoe brand Bobux



Bobux gained an understanding into the lives of Hamburg parents and a real deep-dive  into their thoughts and behaviours.  

Informed by this research the team came back to NZ and upacked their findings.  Armed with insights from the research we iterated their 3 -5 year strategy to incorporate innovations they wanted to make across the business.  

An intentional focus on responding to their gathered insights has seen some quick innovation cycles that included adding additional shoes to their range to be more in tune with seasonal requirements in Northern Europe. The creation of a stand-alone display system to help differentiate their shoes in the crowded store environments they saw. Marketing materials were also tweaked to reflect the weekend activities observed in Hamburg which were so important to their family life.


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