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Buying online is nothing new, we’ve all been buying pretty much everything with a click of a button for decades. Online grocery shopping is now ‘the norm’, with less and less of us visiting the high-street and opting for the convenience of having someone else do our shopping instead.
It’s clear to see that the pandemic has changed the consumer landscape, and perhaps accelerated the natural progression from high-street to online. Online shopping continues to grow and with the lack of holidays, daily commutes & nights out we can only see online consumer spending growing furthermore.
And what does that mean for bike shops? Until very recently, bricks & mortar bike shops have been somewhat insulated from the impact of e-commerce, largely because the big bike manufacturers would typically want to ensure that their products are assembled by in-store bike mechanics. However, in the last few years, although we have seen the popularity of cycling grow exponentially, sales in the high street have dwindled, and that also means that traditional bike retailers have been seeing particularly slim profits, and some big players in the bike industry, such as Evans Cycles have closed down nearly all of their high street stores.
But now things are changing and like many products that we have always thought would be in our high streets forever, such as the video rental store, the record shop and even the local cab office - they have all made the transition to online. And it looks like the recent shifts have also forced local bike shops to adapt to a changing sales model too.
On the surface, the consumer-direct model is simple: choose your bike or e-bike, make an online transaction, and wait for the delivery man to bring you your shiny new bike. However, it’s not quite that simple, and with many bikes requiring assembly by an in-store bike mechanic it is clear why there has been some resistance from the industry's biggest brands to the direct-to-consumer model.
At Ride LEV we were also faced with such obstacles when sourcing our electric bikes, with questions from suppliers & manufacturers on how we would assemble the bikes if we were just an online retailer? We knew that this would be the challenge, but we were confident that once we explained our business model to the manufacturers that they would be onboard.
The concept was simple, order an e-bike from Ride LEV, we will then deliver it to the customer and send a bike mechanic to their home, whereby the engineer will assemble the bike at the customers address. We have since built up a nationwide network of e-bike engineers which continues to grow, and our model is proving to be very successful & extremely popular with our customers.
We’re not telling you to go and sell your bike shop and in fact Ride LEV partners with a number of traditional bike shops, but in this increasingly evolving market if businesses don’t adapt they will stand still and eventually stop.
In conclusion, the online bike market is here to stay, and it’s growing far quicker than we could have ever imagined. So to all the bike shops out there, it’s time to adapt, don't be left stood still in this ever evolving market, this is just the beginning!
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