RETAIL COMMENT: Scared-off by BMX? - BikeBiz

RETAIL COMMENT: Scared-off by BMX?

"So many retailers are scared off by the ever-changing BMX market when they needn’t be, we’re here to help.”
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...Those are the words of one bicycle motocross distribution head honcho keen for retailers to embrace a sector conquering new peaks each and every year. It is, however, an intimidating niche to take first steps within, assuming none of your staff are involved in any form of freestyle. It seems many fear the fickle nature of the typical customer and his or her brand (or even rider) loyalties. Furthermore, there are also hundreds of mix and match colours available, as well as specialist and online competition to contend with.

For those brave enough, though, there is a massive opportunity to reap the rewards given the scale of this ‘new era’ of BMX. With a little guidance from distribution staff, who are typically BMX/jump riders themselves, there’s very little chance you’ll be sat on stock for long.

The resurgence is no doubt largely down to most UK towns now having some kind of facility to support freestyle BMX or skateboarding. Then again, no shortage of hard work has gone into reviving the scene by the country’s dedicated distributors, which week-in, week-out are investing in promotion, sponsorship and ‘jams’ – all of which are drawing new audiences to cycling. Even the dedicated retailers are getting involved. Some are opening skate parks, some knock out video content of shop riders, others are taking on distribution contracts, while almost all are heavily involved with mingling among the local scene and getting to know their customers.

Take this month’s profiled dealer, for example. Having opened a long overdue BMX store in London, owner John Dye has his own components brand, sponsors a team which promotes Volt BMX outside the city and is a regular at the local skate park. The latter point, Dye says, is ‘rewarding’ and something no amount of advertising could match in terms of developing a loyalty to his businesses.

Granted, having an up close and personal relationship with some of the more ‘difficult’ customers won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. However, the majority of riders in the sector are in their teenage years, a bracket that one BikeBiz forum poster recently stated “often make more sense than their crazy parents, even if they are occasionally incoherent”.

Most are easily influenced too. Show them your store’s commitment to 20-inch bikes and components and you could soon be setting the local trends. Support a local talent or two and this promotion is further enhanced.

Mark.Sutton@intentmedia.co.uk

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