SmartEtailing Blog

Unlock Your Online Cash Register

By Ryan Atkinson
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Bike shops count on SmartEtailing as a trusted website provider. Our unmatched cycling catalog, industry-specific integrations, and bike shop services make us an ideal partner.

Every SmartEtailing website includes a data-driven online catalog with ecommerce capabilities built in at no extra charge. So why do scores of bike shops choose to keep ecommerce capabilities disabled?

It is equally important to treat the customer how they want to be treated - and increasingly, they want the convenience of shopping online.

Reasons can be distilled into five concerns.

  1. I don’t have time or staff to sell online
  2. I don’t have processes to do it well
  3. A bike shop can’t compete with Amazon
  4. Ecommerce isn’t a part of my brand
  5. I’m worried about fraud

In some respects, there is a logic behind each of these reasons. But the reality is that none should be actual barriers to progress.

We will speak briefly to each objection, but first, let’s focus on the reasons why a SmartEtailing client SHOULD enable ecommerce capabilities.

Customers shop online

Your business puts the customer first (within reason of course). You certainly provide an intuitive customer experience when a shopper walks through your front door. Your virtual storefront shouldn’t be any different. It is equally important to treat the customer how they want to be treated - and increasingly, they want the convenience of shopping online. 

By 2023, it’s forecast that 91% of US consumers will shop online. Currently, online shopping accounts for roughly 16% of total consumer spending, and informed forecasts project ecommerce to represent 25-30% of spending by 2030.

Nearly every brand you work with sells directly to consumers online. Brands are increasingly building relationships with pure ecommerce sellers in part because there are markets where there is inadequate online representation from the IBD channel.

Suppliers put the consumer experience first. This is simply a fact of the market today.

Cumulatively that means that in a market where your partners and competitors choose to engage with customers online - your market share and growth rate will likely decline if you choose not to open a similar invitation for your local customers.

Long term business sustainability

That leads to the most important consideration - you may not have the opportunity to serve customers who walk through your door if your business fails. It’s a hard fact that failure is a potential outcome of ignoring ecommerce.

Certain bike shops can thrive sustainably without ecommerce. These are businesses with established and defensible niches, are in small markets with little competition, or the business is so well-capitalized that growth or profitability isn’t essential.

Most shops though are subject to the same market forces as broader retail. All indicators suggest that the future of retail involves a hybrid of in-store and online. Even Amazon continues to grow their physical footprint while at the same time traditional retailers like Target race to capture more online market share.

We encourage every bike shop to contact the Client Success team at SmartEtailing right now so you can make an immediate assessment of how we can support your sustainable growth.

Return on investment

The typical SmartEtailing client is generating thousands of dollars in online sales each month with very little effort. The shops with an intentional plan for their online business and a willingness to invest in marketing are increasingly selling six figures annually online.

We can’t guarantee your sales results, but the data suggests that simply turning on your shopping cart will generate enough sales to cover the cost of your website. These are costs that you aren’t directly recouping with the shopping cart off. You are left to infer ROI by considering what percentage of your in-store sales were enabled by your website.

With regular website maintenance, a modest marketing effort, and reasonable in-store process changes you are highly likely to see your online sales grow.

When you are ready to invest in more growth then our Marketing Agency team is here to help. We manage marketing for bike shops of all sizes - including many of the nation’s largest. We know how to build growth plans.

Top five concerns

Ok, we said we’d speak to the common concerns.

#1:  I don’t have time or staff to sell online

There is no doubt that small businesses are chronically under-resourced. Unfortunately, the market doesn’t care - so businesses must endure operational strain to adapt and stay competitive. Equally important, gather facts. Is it true you don’t have time? Do you actually need additional staff? In reality, it doesn’t take much time to manage a modest online order volume and most retailers don’t hire dedicated staff until annual online sales exceed $200,000.

#2:  I don’t have processes to do it well

New processes are what you do. You got your business started, added services like fit or trade-ins, and adapted to changing vendors. How did you do it? You took the first step based on some initial assumptions and adapted through experience.

#3:  A bike shop can’t compete with Amazon

Not true. Amazon has a daunting market share - but they don’t have 100%. The platform is also a confusing assortment of off-brand and name-brand products that leave many shoppers confused. You are a trusted source of premium products, with the majority of bike shop quality items subject to stringent MAP protection which keeps you cost-competitive. Last, and most importantly, you are local. A meaningful number of consumers want to shop with you based on values, or for the pragmatism of having free local pickup.

#4:  Ecommerce isn’t a part of my brand

Very few brands have the option of limiting consumers’ path to purchase. Bike shops are special, but each bike shop brand is fundamentally a retail brand. You’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of examples of premium retail brands that do not offer an omnichannel shopping experience. The world has changed. Consumers expect flexibility when shopping.

#5:  I’m worried about fraud

This is a legitimate worry. But fraud rates are incredibly low across the SmartEtailing network and by following our well-documented best practices you can mitigate risk. But people will steal from you - just like in your physical store. You experience shrinkage every year from shoplifting, employee theft, and inventory management failures. You don’t shut your doors because the risk exists. You shouldn’t shut your online store either. To alleviate this concern SmartEtailing has training and resources to help you, along with built-in industry-specific fraud mitigation tools based on crowd-sourced platform data.

We're here for you

At SmartEtailing we are here to serve you in whatever capacity is suitable for your business. At the same time, we believe that serving you includes encouraging you to overcome perceived challenges and take full advantage of our services.

If you want help understanding more about the concerns listed above, or the reasons why ecommerce is right for your bike shop, please reach out. We are here to help you.

Ready to enable your ecommerce capabilities? 

Check out our help center articles for assistance with turning on your shopping cart and for tips to maximize your online sales



Topics: Websites Client Updates Ecommerce