Extra UK and ABUS formed a new distribution partnership in March. Stephen Hayes, Extra UK head of marketing, and John Harris, ABUS brand manager, talk good matchmaking and prioritising quality.
How long has this move been in the works?
SH: Changes to long-standing relationships tend not to happen overnight, and contractual obligations needed to be respected.
Our priority has been to ensure as smooth a transition as possible and to make sure that there wasn’t any loss of service to IBDs. We’ve been busy putting in place the brand management and marketing resources needed to ensure the success of the brand in the future.
What attracted Extra UK to the ABUS brand?
SH: Quality, first and foremost! Think of the best in bike safety and security and only a handful of names spring to mind. To have the opportunity to partner with the most innovative and established brand in the market was something we couldn’t refuse. We had gaps in our portfolio which are perfectly covered by ABUS and it is a very good match with the other premium brands in our range.
What makes Extra UK a better fit for ABUS than other potential distribution partners?
JH: We understand that historically, previous distributors have established a solid footing for ABUS in the market. Given fresh enthusiasm combined with our sector experience, Extra is well-placed to make ABUS the ‘go-to’ lock and helmet brand for the UK and Ireland again. We have a very experienced, passionate and driven sales team that will help to ensure the best sell-through, as well as showing some different angles on the attachment rate and upsell. The expertise that ABUS has in multiple industries is obvious in the quality of both helmets and locks. All product is engineered, designed and tested in Germany across its multiple sites. All of the lock production is still in-house in Germany – aside from a handful of UK specific products that are manufactured in ABUS-owned factories in the Far East. This is a big strength for ABUS which it is important to communicate to the trade and consumers alike.
What is Extra UK’s plan for ABUS throughout 2019 and beyond?
JH: For the rest of 2019, we have some great shows and expos lined up where customers and consumers can view the full ABUS range. One of the key drivers of ABUS is the absolute quality of the product, and we believe experiencing the unique features at first hand is the best way to convey this to potential buyers. There is a full calendar of trade and consumer shows as well as social media and advertising to ensure everyone is fully up to date with the new, innovative technologies. There are some pretty exciting products coming out that we can’t say too much about now, but watch this space! We will also work to significantly increase attachment rates in-store and online, as a good quality lock and helmet is a must-have when any bike is sold. We’ll be working closely in partnership with our ABUS dealer base to really ensure this is activated.
Can we expect to see other significant new distribution deals in the near future?
SH: Extra UK has made significant and positive internal changes in the last 12 months, investing in additional people and resources and particularly strengthening the brand management and marketing departments. We have a strong portfolio of brands with plenty of innovation taking place, so there is plenty to keep us occupied. Our priority has always been to offer focused attention on what we have rather than to dilute our efforts over too many brands. There will always be gaps in our portfolio, but we only seek to take on new commitments if the additions complement what we do and
are a good complement to our other brands, as is the case with ABUS.
ABUS aside, what are your priorities for 2019? Which brands are you most looking forward to developing?
SH: We aim to optimise the opportunities within all our brands. Newer brands often offer the easiest and greatest growth potential in percentage terms, but our more established brands like Topeak, Fizik, Crank Brothers and Brooks all still have significant potential in them to develop in the future. All have new products and innovation that we are keen to communicate to customers for mutual benefit. We also have the nutrition brands of Clif and Nuun that only use natural ingredients. In a climate where consumers are increasingly mindful of what they put into their bodies, this can only represent a growth opportunity to push their benefits especially when Clif develop products such as the amazing ‘Nut Butter Filled’ range!