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The cost of living crisis: An opening for opportunistic bike shops?

In the first of a five-part series, The Association of Cycle Traders (ACT), the largest cycle trade organisation in the UK, helps retailers boost their business. This month, a look at how the cost of living crisis will nudge more consumers towards cycling

This piece first appeared in the August edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Rail strikes, astronomical fuel prices and a climate crisis – all contributing factors to some rather drastic economic conditions for today’s average consumer.

As a result, people are beginning to consider cycling as a serious mode of transportation, and it is up to the cycling industry to get them pedalling along this path.

The recent steep rise in energy prices has significantly contributed to inflation reaching a 30-year high, putting pressure on households to cut back on discretionary spending.

While the decrease in disposable income will likely be felt by most sectors of retail, it may still present an opportunity for the cycling sector.

Many businesses will be considering the ways in which to reduce costs, with the knee jerk reaction of some being to implement job cuts and store closures. While this will offer some short term relief, research from KPMG’s Retail Think Tank shows that this is an outdated way of thinking, which will only lead to poorer levels of customer experience and satisfaction, at exactly the time when retailers need to be proactive, focus on the consumer and encourage them to shop.

With fuel prices hitting record-highs, as well as an increase all-round in bills, rent and food, more and more people are choosing to ditch the car and make their journeys on two wheels. As so many cycling novices are now entering the market, it comes as no surprise that some are left slightly taken aback by the cost of a decent road or hybrid bike, and even more so by the cost of an e-bike.

Therefore, it is up to the cycling industry to educate the consumer on why this purchase is worth the investment, as well as making it as easy as possible for the average earner to afford that shiny new bicycle.

Sell more with effective promotion of retail finance
A viable option for today’s cash-strapped consumers looking to spread the cost of their new method of transportation is retail finance. Retail finance can take the cost of their new £2,000 bicycle down to just £75 per month over two years with a 10% deposit. A good salesperson could then convince their customer to also throw in a helmet and some lights too for just a few extra pounds per month.

Various consumer surveys show that customers are more likely to spend a higher amount if retail finance is sold correctly, and for many customers, having the option to spread the cost was the main reason the purchase was made.

Whilst retail finance certainly has the potential to be your business’ most powerful sales tool, unfortunately it is not one that sells itself, so it is up to you and your staff to let every customer know the benefits of using finance in today’s economic climate.

The Retail Finance Training course will teach you and your staff how to encourage customers to make purchases, as well as maximising their spending through techniques such as financial promotion, Point of Sale (POS) and bundling.

The course retails for just £150 including VAT. Members of the ACT and ActSmart receive up to a 50% saving off the RRP. To get started visit: indieretail.training.

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