‘You have to differentiate on service’
The Edwin Groen Tweewielers bike shop has been based at the same premises in Heerhugowaard (The Netherlands) for over 30 years. The massive store sells every conceivable kind of bicycle, and part of the shop is also dedicated to the kids’ bike segment.
As you walk around Groen’s shop, you soon realise that if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you won’t find it anywhere. There is plenty of choice on offer in the ‘kids’ corner too; in that respect, this section is not different from the rest of the store. The shop was reopened two years ago following a refit and an extension at the front, and Groen is now able to display much more bikes in all categories. The kids’ bike department features brands from various suppliers, including the Volare collection.
Rick van ’t Land of Edwin Groen Tweewielers: “We don’t have the entire range on display here, but we show most of it. That’s really important from a customer perspective. A large and varied product offering encourages consumers to visit your store. People who come here looking for a kids’ bike also want to take the bike home instantly, so you have to have a wide product range,” says Van ‘t Land. “Another good thing is the price positioning; it’s always more affordable than the major A-brands.”
Customers from further afield
According to Van ‘t Land, a large inventory is crucial when selling children’s bikes successfully. “In that respect Kubbinga is a fine supplier to work with because if we need new models they can be delivered quickly.”
Groen not only sells kids’ bikes in the shop, but also online through its web store. Van ‘t Land says that roughly the same volume of kids’ bikes is sold online as in the shop: “People living in towns and cities tend to do more research on the internet whereas people from the country site are more likely to come and take a look in the shop. We’ve noticed that people are increasingly come from further afield. Almost all of them take their children with them so they can select the correct size, see the colour for themselves and look at accessories such as baskets.”
The sales level of kids’ bikes remains reasonably stable all year round, and Van ‘t Land doesn’t notice any particular in-store peaks around special occasions. “No, we never see a peak around the St. Nicholas’ holiday, and things like the First Communion have largely fallen out of fashion. We do see a boost around school holidays, so that kids can ride their bikes during the holidays or to get them ready for going back to school.”
In terms of promotions, the kids’ bikes are included in Edwin Groen’s marketing activities for all the other bikes. “Advertising is pretty expensive, of course, so we don’t tend to do it just for kids’ bikes, but we regularly include them in our more general adverts or promotional campaigns,” explains Van ‘t Land.
“We promote Facebook deals quite regularly, such as special offers or a giveaway. But the most important thing of all is to provide good service; it has to be outstanding. People who come to a specialist shop to buy a children’s bike expect something extra. The internet has made prices very transparent , so you have to differentiate on service. If a bike has been dropped, if the crank is bent or if they turn up with a flat tyre, you need to sort it out for them.”