The BikeBiz Awards is returning for its 12th iteration this year in a digital format, as we all continue to navigate the uncertainty surrounding live events and COVID-19. But while the world has undoubtedly changed since 2019’s ceremony at The Cycle Show, it still remains more vital than ever to recognise and celebrate the hard work of professionals and companies within the cycling sector.
As we look ahead to 2020’s edition, BikeBiz caught up with last year’s winners to find out what they’ve been up to since. Today, we hear from V12 Retail Finance, winner of Best Retailer Services 2019.
How has 2020 been for V12 – what successes and challenges have you had?
Whilst V12 Retail Finance already had a dynamic and simple to use finance application form, the start of 2020 was very exciting for us as we launched a newer version of this form, which is even more intuitive and easier to use than before, meaning quicker turnaround times. Throughout this year, it has been important that we continued to maintain and invest in our business, making finance more accessible and easier to use for both our retailers and customers.
Our customer online account management platform – V12 Self-Service Portal – increased even more in functionality allowing customers to fully self-service online if they choose to do so. This meant over 275,000 additional customers registered to use the platform in 2020, which helped support their needs during reduced operating hours as we protected our staff in March and April.
We’ve closely monitored the unfolding situation during the pandemic and adapted our business accordingly. Supporting retailers to pivot their finance offering to online channels when stores were unable to open was key to helping support the overall retail sector during this time. Whilst it has been a challenging year, 2020 has seen many V12 successes, and hopefully more to come.
Like every business, we’ve had to adapt to be able to support our colleagues, retailers and customers through the pandemic – whilst this has been a challenge, we’re continuing to see growth in all sectors.
What trends have you observed in the market in recent months?
Whilst we’ve seen customers behaving in similar ways to previous months and years, we’ve seen an increase in purchases from sectors that you can make use of during a lockdown, such as cycles and gym equipment. More importantly, we’ve seen customers shop via channels they wouldn’t normally for that sector, such as online. We’ve helped support retailers as they utilise online channels for the first time and shown them how to grow their online sales offering.
In 2020, we’ve seen over 75% of retail customers, and a similar percentage in the cycle sector, transact their business online. This is unsurprising given the period of lockdown and V12’s expertise to help steer retailers towards an online environment. However, what is surprising is that there is still a large number of cycle retailers that are yet to utilise transacting online.
Whilst what we have seen this year is unprecedented, customer demand for how they wish to transact has been hugely accelerated to online which we expect to continue. We want to work with our retailer estate to ensure they do not miss out on what is set to become the customer’s first choice of how they purchase.
What did it mean to win a BikeBiz Award last year?
It was a complete surprise considering the others who were nominated in the same category. Our retailers and customers are at the heart of everything we do. The cycle sector is hugely important to V12, and we continue to invest time and resource in supporting this sector.
Why is it so important to celebrate companies within the cycling industry, especially during this time?
The cycling industry, like most industries, ranges from national organisations to small independent retailers, and it is important to recognise the work these companies do to keep the cycle industry growing.
We are living in unprecedented times which is why it’s important to celebrate success in the industry in order to maintain the sales momentum into next year and beyond. By celebrating companies that work hard to improve and grow, other businesses in the sector can emulate this success and strive for continuous improvement.
The Awards is returning for its 12th iteration this year in a digital format, forgoing a live event to ensure those working tirelessly to keep the sector’s wheels turning can receive the recognition they deserve while ensuring the safety of all involved.
The winners will be revealed online on Friday 11th December. For sponsorship and promotion opportunities, please contact Richard Setters.
Tannus Tyres will act as the headline sponsor for this year’s BikeBiz Awards, and will also sponsor the Innovation from a Newcomer Award. Pure Electric is sponsoring the Cycle Advocacy Award for 2020.