Can you put a price on being able to differentiate your business in years to come?

Comment: knowledge is power

Last month, post London show, I sat wondering about the perceived value of products and services. Sure, we all like to think we’ve bagged a ‘deal’, that’s natural, but could frontline retail be similarly guilty, as with their own customers, in baulking at prices without first understanding the true value of what’s being offered?

They say knowledge is power, so why when discussing the International Cyclefit Symposium post show did jaws drop when I’d spoken of the £500 entry fee? Having been invited along to document the third event as it unfolded, it didn’t surprise me to find that the 120 tickets had all quickly sold out. It’s increasingly accepted that professional bike fitting is just one of a handful of services that just can’t be replicated online and so the independent stores, for once, have the upper hand.

With bike fitting gurus from as far as Russia and the USA having flown in for the symposium, there has arguably not been a better opportunity to glean knowledge from the industry’s founding fathers, many of whom held interactive workshops instead of seated seminars.

Retul, one of many experts from the States, were focused in their presentation on how their analytical software could provide the retailer with a quick and ongoing return on their investment. While the science was discussed in depth, there was emphasis on the increasing prominence of bike fitting being largely down to having provided struggling retailers with a means to make money on the back of gained expertise.

As bike fitting evolves, the service is often linked with the medical and custom engineering industries – two professions unafraid to charge well for the expertise that comes with learning the trade. In fact, one third of the people at the ICS were said to be from the medical and sports science world. Doctors planning a bike shop retirement project perhaps? In a few years time could your business card feature a ‘Dr’ prefix or a BEng (bacherlor of engineering) suffix? As you can probably tell, I’m thinking out loud, but perhaps bike fitting needs its own title? You can’t buy knowledge, only time, hands on experience, (including a mistake or two along the way) and education will do the trick.

Finding that your store’s unique selling point is gradually being eroded by the competition? The industry is moving forwards into a new age. If you haven’t already, it could be time to invest in the expertise needed to smoothly sail the choppy waters that is modern bike retail. How else will you stand out?


International cyclefit Symposium a big draw at London Bike Show

Tucked away in ExCeL’s meeting rooms, the third annual ICS event ran alongside the London Bike Show, bringing together anyone from retailers keen to explore bike fit options, to health professionals and academics.

Phil Cavell, the organiser of the event, told BikeBiz: “We think the break down of the 120 people who came along was roughly a third from the medical profession, a third bike fitters by trade and a third academic researchers – and the important thing with this event is that we leave our prejudices at the door, everyone in the room is there to drive standards up through new ideas and science.”

Describing a handful of the visitors to the Symposium as “gods of the bike fitting world”, Cavell heaped praise on many of the international visitors who had flown in from as far away as North America and Russia.
“We’ve all had the opportunity to listen to a great selection of doctors, engineers and physicists, such as Keith Bontrager. At the end of the day we review the discussions had and the workshops held and it seems like everybody takes something different away. Everyone leaves full of new ideas.”

Among the guests hosting interactive workshops was Colorado’s Retul, who talked the room through its Frame Finder system, which is increasingly populated with the industry’s premium brands. Retailers who work with Retul can even earn rewards for assisting in populating the growing database.

Concluding his workshop Todd Carver of Retul told the room: “We knew that if Retul was going to survive in the fit world we’d better be influencing the sales of bikes and we think we have a great tool for that purpose.”

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