Perfect 10: It’s been an impressive first decade of business for online retailer Wiggle, now with staff numbering 100 and a retail offering selling to a staggering 70 countries. Jonathon Harker asks Wiggle’s website manager Steve Mills how it feels to be ten...


Have you seen any sectors outperform others over the past months?
It’s pleasing to note that we are growing steadily across the board even in our traditionally non-core areas, such as swimming and running.

Are you being affected by stock shortages?
With some suppliers. However, we can always go and source elsewhere if stock is in short supply in the UK.

What are the biggest challenges over the next six months?
Deciding which advancements we want to make first. We are always trying to improve our customers’ experience and offer the best possible deals on products that they really want to buy. There is a myriad of global opportunities out there, and we need to make sure we focus on the best ones. We have recently translated the site into French, German, Spanish and Japanese, but we have a fresh set of challenges to manage all multilingual promotions!

Are there any challenges you are facing that are specific to online traders?
Retail is more fair online. You cannot be easily swayed by the personal opinion of sales assistant. Brands that already do a good job of marketing and providing sales support have an advantage over brands that rely on word-of-mouth support.

However, bad news travels very fast on the internet. If you get slated in the forums for a perceived poor product or service, you never get the sales back. However, we have used this to our advantage by collecting customers’ reviews and testimonials that we feature across the site, allowing us to stand by our reputation.

With regards to the customer review section – how have consumers responded to it?
The response to the section has been enormous. We had over 15,000 reviews in the first four weeks, and we now have had over 30,000. We think they make very interesting reading.

Not all of the reviews that are submitted make it onto the site as we have to reject about ten per cent for profanity, or because they are not relevant to the product. There is already a noticeable effect on sales; one review doesn’t make a huge difference, but two or more definitely influence purchasing decision.

Wiggle has dedicated sections of the site for the Triathlon and Women’s sectors – how have those markets performed in recent months?
Triathlon continues to grow year-on-year at a steady rate. Women’s clothing has increased dramatically this summer but is still only a small part of overall clothing sales. By 2010, our offering for women will have significantly improved, which I’m sure will lead to even further growth.

What are the short and long term ambitions for Wiggle?

At the moment we only have one plan – to become the leading global online cycling site. We have been the UK’s number one (by site traffic, as monitored by Hitwise) since 2006, and now we have increased our distribution to over 70 countries. We want to be number one around the world.

Our short-term plan is significantly improving sales in key European countries, as well as the US and Australia, which goes hand in hand with our long term ambitions. For the last two months we have been the number one online cycling shop in Australia with the most traffic (from Hitwise data), so we are looking to continue that success around the globe.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Without being too clichéd, we would like to thank all of our customers, as they continue to shop, spread the word and recommend us. They are the major driving force for where we are today.


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