CANYON BICYCLES X DARMSTADT UNIVERSITY: SIX INNOVATIONS WITH THE POTENTIAL TO CHANGE THE WAY WE SHOP ONLINE IN FUTURE

Since its origin, Canyon Bicycles has created a legacy of finding evermore innovative ways to engage directly with customers and fans. From the development of its direct-to-consumer webshop and supportive technical service information, to inspiring imagery, experiential stories and videos to bring bicycles to life, and of course, to the Canyon app and mobile-friendly website putting purchasing power in the pocket, Canyon has continued to invest in and develop customer-centric ways of making online sales as easy as possible.

Now, thanks to a pioneering project with Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, six new extended reality and virtual reality concepts could potentially bridge the gap between Canyon’s class-leading products and its fanbase of passionate customers, bringing more confidence to their bike and accessory purchases.

01_VRide.png
  • png

At the start of the academic year in 2022, Darmstadt University and Canyon gave 13 students in the Human Factors Lab at the Faculty of Design one year to develop concepts that could ‘extend, improve, or replace Canyon customers’ product research and purchase phases, and therefore the retail experience, with online digital experiences.’

 

Lars Wagner, lead designer at Canyon’s Research & Development team: “As passionate bike riders ourselves, we care deeply about the needs of our customers, we see it as our mission to positively shape this change to create an excellent experience and ultimately to inspire, surprise and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

 

Darmstadt University and Canyon have a long history of collaboration, with three university alumni already working for Canyon’s Research & Development department. This set the groundwork for the project, which was under the tutelage of Professor Philipp Thesen and Professor Tino Melzer, founders of the Human Factors Lab, together with Lars Wagner, who coordinated Canyon’s funding investment and steering of the project.

 

During their two semesters on the project, the students conceived and prototyped six ideas that might just change the way online shopping happens in future. Each student group recently presented their ideas to Canyon with a concept video and a working prototype.

 

Game-changing, customer-centric innovations and prototypes

The complementary ideas include:

  • using a smartphone to take body measurements for accurate bicycle and clothing fitting
  • mirrors with 3D scanning technology and real-time motion capture to ‘dress’ personalized avatars
  • virtual reality headsets and smart trainers that can replicate the riding experience and comfort characteristics of different bicycles,
  • NFTs to track a customer’s bike from the moment an order is placed online throughout the entire life history of the bike,
  • peer-to-peer regional networks that can support community test rides and provide help in purchase decisions,
  • all neatly wrapped up in a service app.
01_VirtualFit.png
  • png
03_VirtualFit.png
  • png

These developments not only show what is possible with current technology, but moreover how customers want to shop online, so we will consider how we can continue to invest in doing our utmost for engaging with our customers,” said Wagner.

 

The project lead at the University, Prof. Philipp Thesen, explains the overall approach of the project: “Product and experience innovations often fail if they are not accepted by their potential users. Especially in the case of digital and technical products, they need to be intuitive and easy to use relative to other options. As technological innovations progress, society demands so much more from online experiences. That’s why it’s crucial to continue to invest in new ways of exploring the possibilities of design to capture and analyze information about human behavior, capabilities and limits.”

04_VRide.png
  • png
01_HomeFit.png
  • png

For Canyon, this exercise was an opportunity to see a complete view of the service customers may expect in the near-future. From Canyon’s very beginning in 2002, the company has focused on disrupting the status quo with innovative ways of reaching customers. These new innovative solutions to retail can continue that legacy, reducing online purchase barriers and inspiring greater numbers of people to start cycling.

 

As these prototypes have just been presented, customers won’t see the innovations rolling out on Canyon.com in the immediate future – these concepts are developed independently and owned by the students – but they do hint towards an exciting time for anyone thinking of buying a bicycle online in the future. Canyon will study whether these initiatives have long-term commercial potential, or indeed, like several students beforehand, whether there is the potential for the students to join Canyon’s R&D team in the future.

 

“The online world has changed enormously in recent years with services, technologies and experiences being created that few could have imagined. This will have an impact on our business, and for sure this will also have an impact on the jobs and functions we need at Canyon, as the project with Darmstadt University has demonstrated,” said Canyon’s Lars Wagner.

 

For more on Canyon’s innovative approach to design, visit this article. And for more jobs from Canyon, whether in its product or service design teams, or just as part of a modern, agile working environment where innovative minds of all ages and nationalities come together to inspire customers, visit Canyon’s careers page.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

 

1. Spokespeople

Spokespeople from Canyon and Darmstadt University are available to speak on this topic. For media enquiries, please reach out to your local Canyon media contact.

2. Images:

  • Home fit: using a smartphone to take body measurements for accurate bicycle and clothing fitting
01_HomeFit.png
  • png
02_HomeFit.png
  • png
03_HomeFit.png
  • png
  • Virtual fit: mirrors with 3D scanning technology and real-time motion capture to ‘dress’ personalized avatars
01_VirtualFit.png
  • png
03_VirtualFit.png
  • png
02_VirtualFit.png
  • png
  • VRide: virtual reality headsets and smart trainers that can replicate the riding experience and comfort characteristics of different bicycles
04_VRide.png
  • png
01_VRide.png
  • png
02_VRIde.png
  • png
03_VRIde.png
  • png
  • Trace: NFTs to track a customer’s bike from the moment an order is placed online throughout the entire life history of the bike
01_Trace.png
  • png
02_Trace.png
  • png
03_Trace.png
  • png
04_Trace.png
  • png
  • Community: peer-to-peer regional networks that can support community test rides and provide help in purchase decisions
01_Community.png
  • png
  • Service: all neatly wrapped up in a service app.
01_ServiceApp.png
  • png
02_ServiceApp.png
  • png
04_ServiceApp.png
  • png
03_ServiceApp.png
  • png

About Canyon

Canyon is one of the most innovative bike brands in the world. The concept began in founder Roman Arnold’s garage and grew to be the world’s largest direct-to-customer manufacturer of road, mountain, triathlon, urban, hybrid, and electric bikes.

Canyon have earned their glowing reputation for innovation through consistently using advanced materials, thinking, and technology. The iconic Canyon design is easy to identify. Alongside being boldly competitive and ever-expanding, they are committed to making the global cycling community accessible for every rider.

While Canyon partners with some of the finest athletes on the planet, their mission, ‘Inspire to Ride’, highlights how they work to promote the power of cycling to everyone.

Canyon products are exclusively available online at www.canyon.com.

Contact details

Related topics

Subscribe to news

Are you a journalist or do you work for a publication?
Subscribe to get access to exclusive news.

Subscribe

Receive Canyon news on your RSS reader.

Or subscribe through Atom URL manually