‘Kids’ bikes are a great customer loyalty tool’
Kids’ bikes are mainly sold through specialist stores and toy shops. In that sense, Edwin Woudt from the Dutch town of Koog aan de Zaan kills two birds with one stone, because his bike shop, called Woudt de Fietsspecialist, is combined with a branch of Intertoys.
“It’s a terrific combination and the perfect fit in terms of seasonal cycles. Just as the bicycle season is winding down, the festive period is in sight, so we complement one another well. A wall in the Intertoys shop has been knocked through to lead straight into the bike store, because we sell kids’ bikes too. Customers can actually immediately see our display of children’s bikes through the opening,” explains Edwin Woudt. “We also sell the occasional kids’ bike as Intertoys, but in that case it’s still in its box.”
Different kind of focus
Selling children’s bicycles in his specialist bike shop goes much further than that. Children can try out the bikes for themselves, and customers receive professional advice. “Plus the bikes are supplied almost fully assembled. That’s how we add value,” continues Woudt. The bike expert believes it is important to sell children’s bikes with conviction. “You should either do it wholeheartedly or not at all. Many people can’t be bothered, because it requires a different kind of focus. That’s why not many bike shops stock them. But we really enjoy selling kids’ bikes, and of course we have an affinity with children, otherwise we wouldn’t run a branch of Intertoys.”
Woudt claims that selling kids’ bikes can also be lucrative. “Adults only buy a new bike a couple of times in their lives, whereas children need a new one every two years. They need different types of bikes as they grow, and hopefully when they’re older they’ll come back and buy a bike themselves. Children and young people are intensive bike users which makes them an interesting target group. And kids’ bikes can be a great customer loyalty tool because it’s the adults who pay for them. If you can build up a good relationship with the parents, they’ll come back to you when they need a bike themselves too.”
Shop or web store
Woudt believes that it is best to specialize in either store-based selling or online retailing; he finds it hard to do both. “We’re concentrating on selling through our shop. Our repair shop means that we’re also more focused on service, and that’s difficult to get across on the internet. Just like skiing and ice skating are two completely different things. On the internet you often find yourself competing with companies that earn money by selling bikes but are only interested in winning market share. We present our kids’ bikes on the internet, of course, but we don’t sell them online. Our website has got a web store, but there are no kids’ bikes in it.”
Good category management
To sell kids’ bikes successfully, it helps if you also have a knack for dealing with children. “Children are very rewarding customers. They are really happy when they get a new bike; it’s a big day for them. We provide professional advice and let the children ride around on the bikes to make sure the size is right. You want to be certain they’ll be happy,” says Woudt. Last but not least, he recommends good category management and presenting a wide choice.
“Our shop isn’t very big so we have to make smart use of the available space. We work in size groups and have at least four models for boys and girls in each size. You have to make decisions about your collections depending on where you’re located. Here in the Zaan region customers don’t tend to pay top dollar, so Volare is ideal with its range of kids’ bikes that really appeal to children. ‘Normal’ is good enough.”