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Also Specialized Now Switching to Omni-Channel

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DOETINCHEM, the Netherlands – Specialized is the next renowned brand to introduce omni-channel in Europe. For the roll-out of this distribution strategy the company uses its S-Connect digital processing system. It provides consumers the opportunity to check real-time product availability at the dealer and order online as well.

Also Specialized Now Switching to Omni-Channel
Bike markets sees rapid growth of online sales offerings. – Photo Bike Europe

Previously Specialized launched omni-channel distribution in the US, Australia. China and Japan. It’s now introducing online sales in Europe as well starting with the United Kingdom. “The e-commerce market in the UK is very strong,” explains Koos de Boer, European Marketing Coordinator at Specialized Europe. “For us this made it a logical step to start online sales in the UK after we discussed it with our dealers. We still regard them as our main distribution partners.”

Vibrant e-commerce market in the UK

The importance of the e-commerce market in the UK was already reported by Halfords last November. In their financial report, Halfords announced that “several upgrades to their websites, focusing on making the customer journey more seamless on mobile devices. These improvements contributed to a 22 percent increase in the total value of orders made through mobile devices, year-on-year.” Halfords also reported that the Cycle Republic’s webstore contributed approximately 15 percent of the brand’s sales in the first half of 2017.
In May 2016 Halfords, UK’s biggest bike retailer, expanded its ecommerce reach by the take-over of webshops Tredz and Wheelies where premium brands like Cube, Giant and Specialized are offered online.

UK is first in Europe

“Regarding online sales, the UK is for us the first country to start in Europe We expect to see results mainly in big cities like London. If and when online sales via S-Connect will be introduced in other European countries is difficult to say. We are currently checking if and in which other countries omni-channel would be beneficial for us, our dealers and our consumers. We are also looking which and how many different retail inventory systems are being used on the European market. The data of these various inventory systems has to be imported in S-Connect to provide real-time product availability.”

Others offer online sales as well

Specialized’s decision to start online sales came in the same week as Accell Group’s announcement to roll-out its omni-channel strategy in Europe this year. Just like Specialized, also Accell Group’s CEO Ton Anbeek emphasized the importance of the retailer in an interview with Bike Europe by stating: “We want to offer the consumer the best possible experience and do this together with dealers.”

Earlier also Giant, Merida, Trek and Pon introduced shopping carts on their websites offering consumers the opportunity to order online.

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