As electric bicycles grow in popularity and street planners evolve new respect for the cyclist, how do we avoid folk buying boxed up lifestyles many of whom have few skills to maintain? For Cycling to succeed as a positive lifestyle option we must support our traditional local bike shop.
We aim to provide a much better Click & Collect - simply: "Click & Relax". Here's one store owner who is providing a great customer experience to new Juicy Bike owners...
It is fast becoming the shopping norm to hit "Click and Collect" and expect plain sailing (or in our case, cycling) from that point on. Too often online retailers encouraging us to "Click and forget" are doing precisely that: turning to the next sale, and forgetting to help the customer from that point on. The main goal for many large retailers online is to be the cheapest and highest on Google, taking advantage of shoppers driven to save a few pounds. Customers can all too easily find their search for the perfect purchase ends not with the "Buy it Now" button, but instead with their skills of assembly, way more than their judgement of online product selection. In the absence of real-world, experienced, trained bike sales staff daft bike purchases are becoming too easily made in the virtual shopping world.
As Amazon and others drive us towards making our latest, cheapest and quickest, life-changing purchase, who will still be around to hold our hands when shiny new resolutions arrive left with a neighbour we hardly know? When the box is opened only to discover the bike we believed was the perfect sky blue isn't the shade promised by the online photo, or simply is too tall for feet to touch the ground?
Online sales are booming
Law firm Womble Bond Dickenson commissioned research predicting that by 2030 web-based retail would account for over half of all sales, up from just a fifth in 2019 for the UK. This does not bode well for those needing the support of experienced and skilled mechanics found in their local independent bike shop. Already high street shops are being widely re-purposed, sold and converted into much needed and far more profitable residential and office use. To support healthy local transport encouraging cycling and walking, support for the local, independent bike shop is a must.
Taking a year on year snapshot of Christmas period sales, December 2019 showed massive growth in Internet Only Household Goods sales of 23.2% (as published by Office of National Statistics in January 2020)
Amazon, Halfords, Sports Direct, Argos - all names associated with an ever-burgeoning focus on squeezing margins are turning to massive out of town fulfilment centres to the demise of the excellence in care and knowledge found in small independent bike shops that were once the soul of our high street.
Focus on the best shopping experience
The gulf between the modern distribution warehouse and traditional high street shop is stark. One is focused on the profit margins of industrial-scale retail, the other serves the immediate and varied needs of a local community of individuals. Only one is truly motivated to give the best service and commitment for the whole life of the product.
When competition focuses on market share and margins become the battleground weapon of choice, choice suffers. Inevitably individual needs are forgotten bowing instead to the demands of high volume, low-cost products. The choice becomes on one side customer service policy which invites to check the box agreeing to terms and conditions, the other an experienced mechanic adjusts the saddle height so elbows are nice and relaxed while riding, no pressure on wrists or lower back, offering best service. Your pet pooch is welcomed with a bowl of water, chat is about riding bikes, the experience is memorable for all the best reasons and a long friendship, mutually beneficial relationship begins. A relationship which is so much more personal than a stream of emails with remote, faceless customer services.
We believe you'll get the very best shopping experience at our retailers' stores. We take pride in our bikes, our website journey and our service to shops. We know our shops take a pride in their service to our customers. Visit one to see the difference for yourself or contact us to hear more about our "click and relax" service.