As we begin the new year, BikeBiz catches up with five UK distributors to gauge their progress throughout 2019. Today, we hear from Paul Elliot, director, Bob Elliot
How has 2019, in general, fared for Bob Elliot?
2019 has brought growth for the company YoY together with evolution. We have stepped into manufacturing with our KX Wheel range which has been an exciting and successful development. We are pleased to have seen growth in our general trade in a challenging environment and we are optimistic about the future.
What brands have you gained/lost, and what were the reasons behind these changes?
As mentioned, we have introduced our own replacement-wheel range, which has opened up a lot of doors. This was prompted when our wheel supplier closed earlier in the year, so our hand was forced in many ways but it has been a fantastic achievement for us to step into manufacturing and we feel as though we have managed the initial project successfully.
We added Stealth Nutrition to our portfolio, which has been a great success after parting ways with our previous nutrition supplier. Stealth delivers a very technical and high-performance nutrition brand to stockists.
Another brand new to our range is ControlTech handlebars, stems and accessories. We had a demand in our portfolio for high-quality bars and stems at a competitive price point and when exclusivity on the brand became an option, it made perfect sense to launch. Sales have been very encouraging to date with further growth inevitable in 2020.
Brands aside, have there been any major developments throughout the year?
The aforementioned KX Wheels is the biggest development in terms of how we manufacture and handle production.
We have very recently moved over to e-documents for emailing invoices, statements and other relevant account information for customers. This will be coupled with us taking online payments in the coming months to allow customers an exclusive online-portal experience that can be used 24 hours a day.
To what extent are you supporting IBDs, and how has this evolved throughout 2019?
Deciding our portfolio each year is driven by IBD demand and what they need. When visiting exhibitions and suppliers our range-listing always has the IBD in mind. We do everything possible to range products that are relevant, and suitable to the market conditions. We have seen a seismic movement into workshop/service over the last couple of years and we have tailored our offerings to suit whilst still keeping in our range soft-goods for those stores seeing success in this sector. We are also trying to bring POS and shop-support material to shops wherever possible as presentation is key for in-store experience, more so than ever.
What are your plans for 2020 and beyond?
We have some very exciting plans for 2020, which are being kept under wraps just now but we will be launching new brand(s) to which discussions are taking place now. We will have more information available in the new year. Our desire is to continue offering IBDs and all of our customers as much support as possible whilst working in the challenging trading conditions we face right now which will include ranging more relevant products and keeping pricing as competitive as possible.