Most online cycle and cycle accessory retailers face many challenges as they strive to grow their businesses, with some of these challenges unique to their industry. Looking at the UK specifically, there are a vast number of online cycle retailers who all rank pretty high on just how great they are – in fact, UK cycle and cycle accessory stores steal 7 out of 10 places in the Top 10 of best cycle retailers. Well done! But that’s where the problem also arises. There’s a huge amount of competition.
Unfortunately, there is no magic flip to switch to increase engagement, loyalty and sales. What we do have, however, are 7 ideas that when executed, puts cycle retailers in a stronger position to boost sales online. These ideas are grounded in competitor analysis and informative insight into this unique marketplace.
1: Content is Key
It’s a sport thing. Social media is a fabulous platform for connecting other roadies, MTB, and XC enthusiasts as they seek each other out and compare their rides, often through the use of apps. This makes it a natural platform for extending consumer reach to increase sales and for keeping your finger on the pulse. However, despite knowing this, many online cycle retailers miss a trick here.
It’s not enough in a marketplace which is as competitive as online cycle and cycle accessory retail to simply plug a product here and there. A quick foray into competitor analysis will show you that the online cycle brands which are successful are offering something of much more value to their customers: useful and interesting information.
2: Track Competitor Pricing
As already discussed, the online cycle and cycle accessory industry is a uniquely busy place. There’s an immense amount of competition. Cycle and cycle accessory retailers simply conclude and execute their pricing strategies in a bubble without keeping an eye on competitor pricing.
Your solution here is to use a next generation wiser form of competitor analysis and price monitoring to feed your pricing strategy. These typeco of tools are your very own price spy for seeing what your competition is up to, in your key areas, and enables you to respond quickly.
3: Automatch for Accuracy
The information from price monitoring is only going to boost your sales if you aren’t just a price spy but also act on the insight your competitor analysis gives you. There is the danger with old-style price tracking that cycle and cycle retailers end up with too much information, resulting in ‘action freeze’ where retailers freeze and simply do nothing for fear of getting it wrong.
Sure, a human could do it, but that’s a specialist market research role that will cost in terms of both time and money. Why do that when there’s an automated platform that can do it for you?
4: Personalised Email Marketing
It’s easy to think that email marketing has gone out of fashion. However, email marketing is still ahead of the game especially in relation to return on investment. It’s a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to boost your online sales. You just need to know how to do it.
This will include handy hints such as knowing when is the best time of day to mail customers for maximum engagement and click-throughs; how to write an enticing subject line; how many images to include; and why gaining permission is important. You’ll then be able to set up a powerful automated email marketing campaign which is formulated on the back of your competitor analysis and ensures your competitive pricing attracts your desired target audience. Importantly, it is a valuable vehicle for all promotions and getting the word out.
5: Link Promotions to Competitor Analysis
On our research into the cycle and cycle accessory industry, promotions are being used on a highly ad hoc basis, with each retailer largely acting in isolation. Yes, there are consistent promotional themes like retailers handing out freebies on Ride to Work Day, for example, but generally, the larger promotions are unconnected. This means most cycling and cycling accessory retailers are leaving the effectiveness of their promotional activity to chance.
Competitor Monitor not only provides insight into prices, but it flags up when competitors are running promotions, and gives you the nudge to act on them. This is imperative because otherwise competitor promotions, combined with your own, can negatively affect the bottom line.
6: Measure Performance
Promotions should only ever be a form of marketing. Yet, all too often promotions come about almost by accident. In such a competitive retail marketplace, this isn’t the best strategy to maximise sales and customer loyalty. Instead, an insufficiently thought through promotion may increase how busy you are, with minimal impact on sales.
Promotions do a great job of turning attention to your brand, generating consumer interest for specific products or product categories, so they must be part of any overall marketing strategy. However, to generate a buzz and excitement around each promotion, the execution and communication has to be very strategic. It needs to be something tailored to the right audience, at the right audience with the right price which will have them coming back for more. This may be a freebie giveaway of sample products, buy-one-get-one free offers, and reward-based incentives.
7: Always Retarget
The average online retail conversion rate (how many visitors to your site make a purchase) is just 2.5-3%. Therefore to increase sales, you need to take retargeting seriously.
This is likely due to how complicated the customer journey can be – thanks largely to the nature of how we now online shop. For example, your customer may check you out on social media on their commute (assuming they’re not on a bike…) using their smartphone. At lunch they might head over to your site, again on their mobile device, and have a quick look at the product. Then, head off after work for a ride with their pals, have a chat about it, and then finally consider making the purchase from their desktop – which they aren’t next at until three days’ time. If you don’t retarget during that time then you will lose them.
Cycle retailers can struggle because of the fierce amount of competition in the market place. However, with the right strategies you can increase sales. By combining an approach involving social media, price monitoring, email marketing, promotions monitoring, and retargeting, you can drive your sales to put you ahead of the game. You’ll be freewheeling to a healthier bottom line in no time.
What’s your best tip on ideas to increase your online sales? Share it with us below or Tweet us!