Best Practice in Omni-Channel: Rose Biketown Offers Ultimate Cycling Experience
BOCHOLT, Germany – The aim of Rose Biketown in Bocholt is to experience cycling. Given the almost 250,000 people who visit the store every year, Rose is successful. What makes Rose Biketown unique however, is that owner Erwin Rose has implemented the omni-channel concept in detail. In terms of experience, price and product information, the physical store seamlessly merges into the webshop. And vice-versa.
Rose was founded 111 years ago in Bocholt, Germany by the great-grandfather of the current owner Erwin Rose. It was a bike shop like many; selling bicycles, trading-in bikes and repairing lots of them. The Roses worked hard for their bread and butter, but were also remarkably innovative. When cycling started as a serious sport in the seventies, the company specialized in this segment and also started to import them.
It’s going fast in the eighties. The store in the centre of Bocholt is growing in width and especially in height. Rose makes a smart move with the annual publication of a thumb-thick mail ordering catalogue like the Dutch and German mail order companies named Wehkamp, Otto and Neckermann. Mail ordering is making its entry into the world of cycling thanks to Rose. Customers can have their order delivered at home, but can also buy it at the store. In 1994 the company launches its own bicycle brand named Red Bull while the companies’ all other brands go overboard. In 1996 Rose takes its first digital steps. When the Internet is still seen as something intangible, Rose already has a website. In the years that followed, its mail-order trade is slowly but surely moving towards a webshop and the cost-consuming catalogue can be skipped.
Creating an experience is what Rose primarily wants
In the 21st century, Rose is thriving and moved into an immensely new building on the outskirts of the city. Behind the tinted glass of the square building is a true bicycle experience centre named Rose Biketown. In this bicycle city the complete bike range, bikewear and P&A can be admired, tried and of course bought. In 2011, the bike brand name Red Bull is renamed in Rose. Earlier this year the glass bike city has undergone a complete metamorphosis. Currently Rose also has a second office in Munich as well as showrooms in Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, France and Spain; there’s a completely overhauled webshop and Rose totally integrated its digital and physical worlds. The company has now a staff of over 350 employees.
Experience the bike
Creating an experience is what Rose primarily wants to achieve with its Biketown. “And that’s where we leave no stone unturned,” says Biketown store manager Werner Groβ-Weege. “The setting in which we present our bicycles, bikewear and accessories should immediately appeal to the customer.” To achieve this, Rose does everything to “make it happen”. Large video walls show photos and videos of a cycling lifestyle. Surrounding the bikes are tactically placed accessories and display figures. Downhill bikes are of course positioned on and around rocks, ATBs show off on wooden platforms of an outdoor circuit, city bikes present themselves in an urban atmosphere, racing bikes are set up on a real asphalt road. “It’s essential that the atmosphere we create feels real”, emphasizes Werner. “So no asphalt-like carpet, but we built a piece of real road for which an asphalt machine had to be lifted into the store.”
The Biketown in Bocholt measures a total of 4,500m², spread over 3 floors. On these floors are all the bikes that Rose has in its range. Whatever size, design or colour the customer is looking for, it is there to experience. “There are 198 bikes in total,” says Werner. “If the customer is looking for a X-Lite road bike in size 58 with Ultegra Di2, we have it ready for making a test ride. Also all entry-level models like the Rose Pro SL are on display and ready for test rides in all versions, sizes and colours, as well as all our electric bikes and trekking models with Rohloff hubs.”
I want to know everything about omni-channel distribution
Striking at the presentation is that the bikes are spaciously placed. As a visitor you can walk around them, even view them from a distance. Werner “This results in a higher value experience. When you display bikes packed in a row, it immediately looks cheaper and therefore less attractive.”
At Rose, the choice is not only great when it comes to bicycles, but also for apparel and accessories. “But it’s by no means our complete product range. Due to a lack of space we can present only 50 percent of our bikewear and 70 percent of our P&A range. The complete range can be seen and purchased through our webshop.”
Part of a positive customer experience is, according to Werner, the possibility of testing the various accessories. “Cycling glasses must be beautiful, fit well and not allow ‘a draft’ causing your eyes to water. Here our customers can easily test them with a fan in front of the face. You can also test bicycle pumps and for example gloves. How is their grip? At the gloves department we have a handlebar with adjustable handles that tell you precisely whether the glove is really as good as you think.”
Rose is entirely based on an omni-channel-concept; store and website connect seamlessly, the experience, price and product information are always exactly the same. Thomas Hetzert – responsible for Rose’s international trade – explains how this works, for example, when buying a bicycle. “As a customer, you log into our site and you can, for example, fully configure your new bicycle to your liking. You determine the colour, groupset, wheelset, tyre brand, material and the brands for seatpost and handlebar, handlebar tape colour and pedal type. You get that configured bike in both picture and final price and you can then order it immediately. But many customers would rather see it first. Is it really as beautiful as in the picture? And is it the correct frame height for me? Should there not be a longer stem, do I need a wider saddle? So up to Bocholt!”
Last year we counted 237,000 visitors in Biketown
Thomas is at the race department standing at an immense display with touchscreen. “The customer who made the configuration at home, enters his log-in details and gets his configured bike in the picture. Together with one of our sales representatives – all of whom are cyclists – the customer overviews the configured bike, with the Rose sales rep providing tips and advice. “To get certainty about dimensions, a free of charge bicycle measurement can then be carried out. When needed, the customer or sales rep can adjust the bike size and choose a longer or shorter stem. “If a digital saddle pressure measurement is also carried out, you can simply choose another saddle if necessary.”
Test drive and order
After the configuration is completed, the customer is able to do a test ride on the bike in size and assembly of his choice. In case the customer likes the bike, it can be ordered on spot, after which it will be personally delivered to him or her at the Rose store two weeks later. “But often the customer also has to convince the home front. No problem. He or she opens the configuration at home, can still adjust things – like the colour – and then order online. The bicycle can then also be delivered to the store, but if desired also at him or hers’ home.”
Many companies have higher prices in their stores compared to their webshops, due to higher store costs. Rose does not. Werner “We want transparency and keep all prices the same whether online or at our stores. The Biketown operating costs are included in all our product prices. Due to that we do not have a webshop with the lowest prices, but at the stores they are competitive.”
5,000 visitors per week
The fact that Rose scores with its omni-channel approach is underlined by hard figures. Thomas Hetzert “Last year we counted 237,000 visitors in our Biketown. This year, we will go over this figure considerably. At the moment, we receive each week about 5,000 visitors. Most of them come on Saturdays: an average of about 1,600. On these days, in addition to our nine regular sales reps, we have a about five part timers. In order to prevent visitors from getting frustrated because they have to wait, our reps hand out pagers. Customers can then make a round through Biketown and drink a cup of coffee. When one of our reps is available, they immediately get a signal. It increases efficiency and sales. But it is for all a way of showing that we take our customers very seriously and that we want to keep them happy.”
Rose Bikes, Made by Rose
In the Biketowns in Bocholt and Munich and in the webshop, Rose exclusively sells Rose branded bicycles. The webshop and the stores are the only sales channels for Rose bikes. They are in-house developed and designed. Frame production takes place in Taiwan; assembly in Bocholt. With that Rose is able to offer customization services to its customers.