2021 has undoubtedly been an unorthodox year, with independents, brands and distributors alike feeling the inevitable effects of a turbulent period for businesses the world over. BikeBiz catches up with several UK distributors to reflect on a bizarre yet successful period for the cycling industry.
Today, we hear from Andrew Walker, commercial director, Moore Large
As I’m sure is true of every other business directly associated with the industry, it was incredible. The interest in cycling and the growth trajectory was phenomenal and hopefully gave everyone a taste of what the industry could look like if the participation levels can be maintained beyond the pandemic.
We are no longer working with Microshift gear systems; after being the UK distributor for several years, we recently parted ways. Following our success in both the MTB and BMX sectors, we have signed BMX parts and components brand Éclat, BMX and MTB protection brand Fuse and most recently MTB parts and components brand e*thirteen.
We have received stock of all three new brands already and there’s plenty more coming. Our portfolio has changed somewhat over the last five years with a more premium and focused offering in line with the current market demands, we have great relationships with our suppliers and brand principles and look forward to the seasons ahead.
Behind the scenes
We’ve made significant changes to the structure of our sales team by reducing our field-based numbers but increasing our internal support team, the net result of which is giving us a bigger resource pool and increased touchpoints for our customers. This will not only ensure we can reach more customers more frequently but it will also mean our response times and service levels are maintained during peak times of the day.
Interestingly, many of our new starters have also been taken on to work remotely from home. That’s not because we don’t want to see them, it’s because they are coming from further afield, so we’ve widened our catchment area for certain roles to ensure we are bringing in people with the best skills for the job.
A post-COVID world
As much as we’d love it to, the growth trajectory was simply not sustainable; at some point it had to slow down. People talk of the new normal and I believe that for our industry, the new normal is a level above what we’ve seen immediately prior to the pandemic, but I also see the new normal as being different for different businesses.
We have absolutely no intentions, nor is there any evidence to suggest a dropping in overall performance. The size of the pie has grown and be that before or after the pandemic, the Moore Large slice is still relatively small. That gives us the belief that even in what might now be a more stable market, we can still hunt for increased share.
Our IBD customers represent the core of our business and we are committed to a single channel B2B route to market. This strategy hasn’t changed throughout 2021, although we are currently undergoing several wide-scale investments to improve our IT infrastructure and ERP systems as part of our scale up for the future.
Recently, we have made some substantial changes to our customer services team which will also see the introduction of a dedicated e-bike service centre. More information will be announced over the coming months.
2022 and beyond
We are just about to initiate one of our greatest recruitment drives in recent years across product, brand, marketing, sales and customer service roles. With further resource and a rejuvenated infrastructure, our primary objective will be to expand our in-store representation of Forme and ETC with the continued expansion of these product ranges across a broader range of price points and categories, most notably within e-bikes.
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