BikeBiz sits down with Barry Scott, founder of online marketplace Velomatch
This piece first appeared in the April edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
Can you give us a little background on Velomatch?
Velomatch is a digital marketplace that acts as a highly qualified lead generator for retailers. We have long felt that the current buying model has lots of friction and pain points for both consumers and retailers alike.
For consumers – how do you find out, in one place, all the bikes available, what fits and who has it in stock? For retailers, as inventory expectations placed on them grow, how can they find highly qualified buyers for their bikes?
In other industries consumers now demand, and get, tailored advice, a great customer experience, and the world of choice at their fingertips. Why shouldn’t they expect the same when buying a bike? That’s the customer need Velomatch was designed to meet.
By unbundling advising from selling, we can focus all our efforts on the advising part and then work with the best retailers to handle the selling and fulfilment. By doing this, we provide better outcomes for buyers and retailers alike.
We work with both large and small retailers. For the largest retailers we offer a national audience, which is helpful if you have a large inventory.
For smaller retailers, who often don’t have the marketing budget to compete against the biggest retailers, we can level the playing field and give them access to qualified leads. If you have the bike in stock, we will find you customers wanting to buy it.
Velomatch doesn’t charge platform fees or take a commission. It’s free to use for retailers and customers. In time we hope to monetise the site through the data insights it gleans from customer behaviour and purchasing intentions. But that will only happen if the site becomes a must-visit, and is adding value to consumers and retailers alike.
How can Velomatch benefit dealers?
Velomatch is a win-win for retailers, big and small. First and foremost it’s an additional channel, offering a high volume of qualified leads. Secondly, these leads are quick and easy to address. An in-store or phone customer will take a lot of time discussing colours, sizing, groupsets etc.
A Velomatch enquiry requires two bits of information: what price can you supply for and when can you supply it? That’s it. Given the scarcity of supply, we don’t expect price to fluctuate but lead times will. And if you have inventory, you can use it as a competitive advantage.
Finally, and importantly, every lead we generate is looking for a specific bike that fits their needs and vital statistics.
We know our retail partners are committed to delivering an excellent customer experience and want everyone who buys a bike from them to be completely satisfied with their purchase. Velomatch’s proprietary fit engine means customers know what bike best suits their body and needs, making them more likely to end up a happy customer.
We’re currently targeting road (including gravel), and e-bikes. Later in the summer we will expand to MTBs.
What sort of feedback have you received from the industry?
Being an ex-retailer myself, I felt it was something I would have benefited from when I had my shop, so I was confident in the model. But we’ve been very pleased with just how positive the feedback has been from retailers and brands alike.
But to be fair, we have spent a lot of time and effort making the retailer onboarding process as simple and retailer-friendly as possible. When we show retailers how quick it is to receive an enquiry and submit an offer they are blown away – 30 seconds and you are done.
Even if you don’t have stock, it’s still worth replying with an ETA and a customer message. We are providing a free shop window to your business.
What are your plans for 2022 and beyond?
We have ambitious plans to grow the site with additional genres but also some technical improvements – the biggest will be getting national retailer inventory on the site. We already have 10 retailers’ inventory on the site, and as we expand our retailer base Velomatch will become the only place a customer needs to go to see national stock levels.
So, building out our ability to show live inventory is a big goal as it helps retailers as well. If we know you have stock of a bike, we will send you the enquiry. This makes the leads laser-focused, improving efficiencies and conversions all round.
Alongside that we are focusing on building out our content capabilities. The ability to expertly and independently review a bike, produce a video on it, then show the user what size they are and which retailers have that exact size in stock is very exciting.
Lastly, we want to constantly improve our customer user experience on the site. Take e-bikes for example. Everyone knows they are booming, but lots of people who want an e-bike get so confused or disheartened by either a lack of information or conflicting advice, that they end up not purchasing the bike. That’s not a great outcome for anyone in the industry.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get more people on bikes, and we are determined to play our part in this by removing as much friction from the pre-purchase process as possible.