Morten Kristiansen, general manager of Guru, has tips on how to overcome the obstacles of implementing a new aspect of service in retailers’ daily businesses…
Cycling has seen tremendous growth – British Cycling membership has doubled since 2008 to 50,000 – and that it is terrific news for bicycle retailers looking to grow.
Online shopping is gaining traction and no bike shop owner underestimates the need to drive consumers into their shops. The challenge is to gain the competitive edge and transition successfully into 21st century bicycle retail.
Thriving in the UK bike industry are shops that have adopted a fit first philosophy; providing sizing and fitting services to every customer. Service and good relationships build growth; fitting is an opportunity that really connects a rider and staff member, which in turn solidifies sales. Using the latest tech UK shops are also running management tools to know how much financial gain there is from offering sizing or fitting. Tools such as these provide data from fit revenue, increased P&A, bike sales and investment in staff education.
Chris Boon, owner of TRI UK, provided a sizing service to the consumer before buying a bike from his booth at the 2016 London Bike Show: “In two days my team sold 35 bikes. 30 were closed using the Guru bike fit system and fitting. All our customers have total faith that they have bought the right bike through experiencing the Guru Fit System and our qualified staff members. We need a second Guru just to keep up with demand.”
Fit and personalisation is so intrinsic to our daily lives that we overlook the significant role it plays in everyday tasks. We manipulate desk chairs, driving position and shoe sizing to personalise fit, just to name a few. Even tying shoelaces is an act of personalised fit. We constantly make minor adjustments to make our lives easier and more comfortable to the point that we take the concept of a good fit for granted. Within cycling, fitting has for many years been for the privileged and informed few, often entailing a multiple-hour cumbersome process. In modern retail, a more simplistic and efficient fitting or “sizing” should be the primary focus for the average retailer. It is critical for bike retailers to recognise that the majority of customers expects service and advice an internet browser does not provide, but they are still looking for an efficient spend of their valuable time.
Sizing a bike to a rider in an efficient, technology driven and repeatable way is perhaps the most important part of a bricks and mortar offering. And it should be applicable to all bikes.
Nothing about bike fitting and why we do it is shockingly new, what is new is these services are not just for the elite cyclist or an injured athlete. Crunching the numbers at Guru, this is a winning formula as our data shows closing rates of a bike sale after a fit is upwards of 90 per cent across our global dealer network. That is significant especially when on average our shops are doing 20 to 25 fits a month globally.
In addition, we have found that the key to a successful fit first approach is to analyse the data surrounding fitting. Each of our retailers have access to complete usage data reports on their fit system plus global and regional usage reports. Perhaps even more important, the customers data is saved for future marketing and sales use. Westbrook Cycles, Leisure Lakes and Tri UK are all top IBDs who have adopted a fit first philosophy and overcome obstacles of implementing a new aspect of service in their daily business and won.