A consumer electronics store stocking bikes? When the first of many planned Best Buy stores opened its doors at the beginning of May in Thurrock, Essex, the cycle industry and general public got its first glimpse of the hitherto unseen retailer’s unique electric bicycle offering. Promising to develop the e-bike market in the UK, the retailer has brought a new angle to a sector that has already been said to be ‘on the brink of big things’.
“We do believe that the electric bike sector will become more popular and are working to drive the sector forward,” GreenTech manager for Best Buy UK Simon Jessup tells BikeBiz.
“We’re focused on offering a wide range of products, making them easy to see and try out, as well as accessible and affordable through financial services. On top of their green credentials, they offer exemption from road tax and can be run at low cost.”
“There is transition taking place in electric vehicles, with more consumers exploring how they can help with their own leisure or commuting needs.
“We’ve already seen a healthy level of interest from customers here in the UK and with expert and impartial advice from our Blueshirts, we can help bridge any gap from that interest to the knowledge they need in order to understand if electric transport is right for their life.”
So, is the next stop domination of the UK electric bicycle market? Jessup reveals how Best Buys sees the market: “We want to help customers to make smart decisions about technology and energy use so that they can lead more sustainable lives. At the same time we are always searching for the latest and greatest technology.
“These days, people are looking to cut fuel and insurance and travel costs, so we’re excited to help our customers discover new ways to make affordable, environmentally efficient transport a reality. Obviously we will be measuring this emerging market and the likelihood of our customers to adopt electric vehicles in their lives, as well as our ability to meet that demand. Success and our future ambitions for the market will be determined through these measures.”
The retailer is not just dipping its toe into the market. Five further Best Buy stores are due to arrive in the UK before winter, all of which are due to stock the full GreenTech range of products – including everything from energy management products to solar chargers and electric vehicles. Jessup tells BikeBiz that the physical retail offering will be bolstered by an ecommerce site launching later in the year at www.bestbuy.co.uk.
ELECTRIC REPAIRS WON’T SCARE OFF CONSUMERS?
One of the obstacles to e-bike market growth has often been cited as a fear of expensive and complex maintenance and repairs. So, how will the retail giant plan to tackle that concern? Jessup spills the beans: “When it comes to electric transport, offering a full-service solution is important to us. Best Buy’s Geek Squad – the 24 hour technology support and advice service – can set up and assemble free in-store to ride straight away, or arrange delivery of any brand new electric bicycle fully set up for as little as £49.99. We also offer financial services products to help make electric transport affordable for our customers. We are looking into further developing services for this product area in the future.”
Best Buy’s intentions for the electric bike market came as a shock to many, but could the retailer have an even bigger surprise up its ample sleeves for the cycle trade? Would the retailer, for instance, consider stocking non-electric bikes? They would, after all, fit in with the ecological angle of the retailer’s GreenTech areas.
“Best Buy is committed to championing and offering our customers the latest and greatest technology, as well as demonstrating how our customers can use innovative new technology in their every day lives. This includes how people can use electric vehicles as another mode of transport that helps save money and save energy – and this is our area of focus,” Jessup concludes.
The lowest price e-bike stocked by Best Buy.
The number of jobs Best Buy is planning to create in the UK over the next five years.
The cost of delivery and set-up of an electric bike to a customer’s home by the Geek Squad. In-store set up is free and set-up takes approximately 30 minutes.
The number of UK Best Buy stores launching in the UK this year. All will stock electric bikes.