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Consumer’s Need for Speed Decisive for Bike Sector’s Future 

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PORTO, Portugal – The World Cycling Forum that took place yesterday and earlier today in Porto, Portugal painted a clear picture on where the bicycle sector needs to head to in the very near future. It’s about concentration on the consumer; about 100% product availability while also their need for speed makes that current business models have to change dramatically.

Consumer’s Need for Speed Decisive for Bike Sector’s Future 
World Cycling Forum’s close to 170 participants were directed to a future which is about serving customers with products that are immediately available whenever and where ever they are ordered. – Photo Bike Europe

Speed, consumers first, digitization and change were the buzzwords at the World Cycling Forum. This first ever international 2-day Congress in the bicycle industry held June 7 and 8 made it very clear on how the bike sector is to address the current changing consumer behavior towards a rapidly increasing online sales.

Self-driving bicycles and self-driving cars

The World Cycling Forum was kicked off by futurist Richard van Hooijdonk. He pointed to self-driving bicycles as well as a massive growth of bike sharing systems and raised the question whether this is to harm the bike sector in the same way as self-driving cars will do to the automotive sector. He predicted that by 2030 the car business is in trouble as people will use self-driving ‘pods’ instead of individualized cars. This was one example of the huge changes on the horizon and of which the first signs are already there.

Preparing future scenario’s

How the bike sector can anticipate on such changes is by preparing future scenario’s. In these scenario’s the consumer has to come on the first place. Think not inside companies but think of what consumers want. Their demands come first in particular as dissatisfying consumers is a deadly sin. This requires a 100% product availability which is currently one of the failures of the bike industry. In order to improve the performance in product availability leadtimes have to come down. It results to “speed becoming the new currency”, said one of the keynote speakers of the World Cycling Forum. And as speed matters “simple is beautiful and companies have to become data smart.”

Speed and lead times

Taking the need for speed very, very serious is done by Adidas as this company even has a vice president SPEED as well, as a SPEED factory which is located in Germany. It allows for a 2 months lead time for making products that have proven themselves to be the best in the selling season.

How to become a digital driven and shaped company was also presented at the World Cycling Forum. The main message here was: Get your data on consumers right! How to analyze data means that companies must turn one of their core competences into digitization. This involves culture changes at companies even up to computer nerd youngsters becoming executives.

This and much more was what the World Cycling Forum addressed in detail. With that the close to 170 participants were directed to a future which is about serving customers with products that are immediately available whenever and where ever they are ordered.

Much more on the World Cycling Forum is in Bike Europe’s digital and printed June/July edition.

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