After travelling around the world, two school friends, Joseph and Augustin, came back to France and decided to launch a company renting fully-equipped campervans.
In 2010, they founded WeVan, a campervan hire service that offers freedom of travel in France and Europe. With its simple and smooth online reservation system, WeVan quickly found its market and achieved great success.
A year later, the founders decided to diversify their services by introducing minibus rentals to address the challenge of seasonality and provide year-round vehicle hire. This expansion allowed them to target two distinct audiences: vans catering to holidaymakers, such as couples, families, or young retirees, and minibuses primarily targeting professionals, including artists from the theatre or film industry, who need to transport their equipment. Thanks to their practicality, minibuses have also become more and more popular with the general public.
In 2012, they launched a network of franchisees, making WeVan the leading van hire network in France.
Today, the network consists of 34 agencies across the country, with a fleet of 700 vehicles, including vans and minibuses, to meet the steadily growing demand. In 2022, WeVan recorded 7,800 bookings and served over 40,000 customers.
An increasingly easy and intuitive booking experience
WeVan’s success largely relies on its website as the main driver of visibility.
“The website is key to our business. It has a double entry point for campervans and minibuses to cater to the needs of two very different customer segments. Everything is custom-built; we didn’t use a pre-existing solution,” explains Joseph. Thanks to this approach, WeVan has remained in control of its developments and strategic decisions.
In 2023, WeVan undertook a complete overhaul of its search module to streamline the customer journey. “The main goal was to enable potential customers to do a price simulation, and see the selection of vehicles in just 3 or 4 clicks,” Joseph specifies.
The major challenge for WeVan quickly became managing the payments flow from the platform to the franchisees, and avoiding cash retention within the network.
WeVan was seeking a solution that would bypass the need to manually send payments back to franchisees, by doing this automatically and instantaneously. Another objective was to simplify all administrative and financial procedures related to billing between the parent company and the franchised agencies.
A decade of success: the WeVan and Worldline partnership
In 2013, WeVan approached Worldline, looking for a solution to accept online payments and handle transaction management. Worldline offered them a complete solution that met their needs including the ‘Group Manager’ option, which allows WeVan to directly monitor the online transactions of the franchised agencies and provides them with technical, financial, and administrative support.
“Smooth operations are crucial for our seasonal business, particularly during the peak booking period from February to the end of May. Any technical malfunction would have a very negative impact on our company. In the 10 years we’ve worked together, we have never encountered any issues. Worldline’s online payment interface offers many useful features that simplify payment management. We can optimise our work with various parameters, such as one-click customer refunds,” Joseph explains.
Another significant advantage of the solution is its price. Franchisees are often small businesses concerned about profitability and reducing investments in technological solutions. “Worldline offers an excellent balance between cost and technology. Their solution is reliable and affordable. Why look elsewhere? We have no reason to change, especially since we receive excellent support from our Key Account Manager.”
Optimised payments accelerating WeVan’s continued growth
“We are experiencing a growth rate of 40% to 50% per year. This is, in part, thanks to Worldline, which has been supporting this growth for years.”
WeVan’s upcoming projects are primarily focused on the booking experience and customer satisfaction. “The idea is to inspire confidence in our potential customers, especially when it comes to high-value purchases. It is essential for the consumer to feel completely reassured when providing their card details, knowing that their next holiday booking is completely secure.”
With this in mind, WeVan is looking to remove any obstacles at checkout and is working on redesigning its booking process by directly integrating the payment page on its website through an iFrame. This ensures that customers are not redirected to another page to finalise their payment and can enjoy an even smoother experience.
WeVan is also investing in the mobile version of its website, since 75% of its traffic comes from mobile, yet only 40% of bookings are made through this channel. “Visitors often access the website through their phone, but use their computer to complete a booking. So, there are optimisations to be made on the mobile version to ensure that the customer experience is just as enjoyable as on desktop.” This is even more important as mobile usage continues to rise: “A few years ago, only 10% of bookings were made on mobile devices.”
To offer more flexibility to customers during the booking process, WeVan is considering expanding the payment methods offered through Worldline, such as instalment payments, Buy Now Pay Later, bank transfers, as well as mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.