‘It’s easier to sell when you offer a big choice'

Tok Ramazan has been selling bikes in The Hague for almost ten years. Ramazan’s shop is in a working-class neighbourhood with lots of young families, and he prices his kids’ bikes affordably for them.

Buying a bike from Ramazan helps you to save money, which is why when he opened the shop in 2008 he decided to call it Spaarbikes (literally ‘savings bikes’). Although he focuses heavily on low prices, Ramazan also regards service as very important. “I have to keep plenty of stock in all sizes because so many children live in the neighbourhood. Having a lot of bikes on display creates a bigger choice and makes it easier to sell. I’ve got around 1,500 bikes here altogether – they’re not all kids’ bikes, but a lot of them are. People like to be able to compare and contrast: brands, colours, models, frames, you name it. Here, they can look first and then buy. That’s important, because otherwise they’ll go somewhere else afterwards. They usually have a rough idea of what they want.”

Shop sells more than online

In the peak season Spaarbikes is open seven days a week and is continuously available online. “On the internet, it’s all about the price. The people who look online usually focus on price only, and if they can get the same product elsewhere for ten euros less they will. Our prices are the same whether you buy in the shop or online. But if you buy in the shop we make the bikes ready to ride for free. You can’t do that on the internet, of course,” says Ramazan. “If people have problems trying to assemble a bike themselves they’ll often bring it back, which is why we prefer to do it ourselves, then it’s right first time.” Ramazan says that he sells a lot more in the shop than he does online: “Because people like to see and try the bikes out for themselves first. A lot of web stores don’t have a showroom or a workshop. Sometimes people don’t even know what they’re buying. I recently spoke to someone who had bought a 24” bike and thought it was for adults.”

Drop shipping

To stimulate the sale of children’s bikes, Ramazan sometimes runs promotions. “ Suppliers often run special offers if they have a lot of stock, and we usually take advantage of them. Kids’ bikes usually last for around two years and then the children grow out of them, which is why parents aren’t usually willing to spend too much money on them. That’s why I like selling Volare. The price/quality ratio is good. A-brand manufacturers offer the same quality but are much more expensive. Besides that, you can rely on Kubbinga if there are any problems. They offer good service, and that’s particularly important if you want satisfied customers. The company also helps in terms of drop shipping and can arrange home deliveries if necessary. So you can make your customers happy and that’s what matters, because my customers expect me to solve any problems quickly.”