RETAIL COMMENT - BikeBiz

RETAIL COMMENT

As pointed out to me recently by Her Gear owner Stephen Peters: “Women are responsible for 85 per cent of consumer purchase choices in the UK.” And the past 12 months have seen a large rise in cycle sales to the fairer sex.
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Now, I’m not really supposed to say things like this, but... Evans Cycles – someone on its brainstorming team is really on the ball. Or on the money as the case may prove...

First, there was the TopShop promotion in which trendy looking manequins were set alongside even trendier fixies. So easy, so obvious and perhaps the best co-marketing idea of 2008? TopShop now stocks women’s specific cycle clothing under the Cyclodelic label. If a major player like TopShop is ready to commit to a range to sit alongside Kate Moss’ designs, then surely the demand is there?

That brings me on to the reasoning behind my praise of Evans. Who said the multiples don’t have the flexibility of an IBD in terms of promotional activity? Well, the press release in front of me, entitled ‘Ladies Night’, begs to differ...

The store invitation is cleverly written. It’s not overly cycle-fanatical, it mentions discounts and bubbly and talks about other like-minded ladies meeting under one roof for jargon-banned discussions on the latest cycle gear. Oh, and presumably men are banned from entry...

If you were looking for a way to draw the girls to your store without shelling out for some ‘shocking pink’ paint, then let Evans be your inspiration.

It’s not unfair to say ladies enjoy discussing shopping and there’s several reasons why a bicycle should be appealing to the typical woman. However, there are several counter-points putting the girls off committing money to a purchase.

As put by TV presenter, Dawn Porter: “When you buy a baby-pink Brompton bicycle, you can’t just leave it there – the accessories have to be as special as the bike." So, from a prospective female buyer’s point of view, a certain level of retail commitment is required.

I’ve been looking at Copenhagen Cycle Chic recently and trying to work out why the UK has been so useless at engaging women in cycling. Then it hit me. For the most part, girls don’t cycle for the same reasons the majority of men do. Thus, the sale should be approached with an open mind and, most importantly, open ears. The streets of Copenhagen are flooded with aesthetically-pleasing, comfort bikes, each offering real day-to-day function. Manufacturers seem to have noticed the success of this back to basics approach. But has retail been taking notes?

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