Problems at Chain Reaction

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Ross
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Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Ross » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:47 am


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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby twowheels » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:46 am

Better pull my finger out and get my return in the mail then!

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby MichaelB » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:52 am

And I just placed an order !! :?

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby find_bruce » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:56 pm

I used to regularly buy from chain reaction prior to the takeover. Since then however I have noticed a big drop off in availability and pricing & now I rarely even bother looking at their website. Sadly I suspect bike24 will go the same way

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Mububban » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:27 pm

NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!

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Ross
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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Ross » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:24 pm

Wiggle-CRC responds to yesterday's claims from a whistleblower that Wiggle is running down Chain Reaction's operations in Northern Ireland

https://www.bikebiz.com/news/wiggle-crc-responds

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Trevtassie » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:08 pm

No, not bike 24 as well!

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:36 pm

Ross, would be good if you included at least a quote from the original source in your post for some context.

The letter from the worker/whistleblower does share a staff view following the changes although doesn't put the business or their viability in doubt. The location changes were fairly publicly documented and meant a scaling down in the original location and scaling up with their 'partner' Wiggle. Though both share inventory, their are still presenting individually which is still a smart approach.

When companies expand, particularly those which are founded by a family and have a close knit staff and strong community integration - there are often casualties - this that is not satisfying and not necessarily an excuse. Management have to be cautious with regard to rumours because their intention is to manage the internal and external publicity - so the issue was not taking the right approach with the staff information when the initial story broke and subsequent changes... generally transparency and communication problem.


I think Bike24 is fairly independent in many ways, I wouldn't be concerned.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:06 am

AUbicycles wrote:Ross, would be good if you included at least a quote from the original source in your post for some context.

The letter from the worker/whistleblower does share a staff view following the changes although doesn't put the business or their viability in doubt. The location changes were fairly publicly documented and meant a scaling down in the original location and scaling up with their 'partner' Wiggle. Though both share inventory, their are still presenting individually which is still a smart approach.

When companies expand, particularly those which are founded by a family and have a close knit staff and strong community integration - there are often casualties - this that is not satisfying and not necessarily an excuse. Management have to be cautious with regard to rumours because their intention is to manage the internal and external publicity - so the issue was not taking the right approach with the staff information when the initial story broke and subsequent changes... generally transparency and communication problem.


I think Bike24 is fairly independent in many ways, I wouldn't be concerned.


Would echo this, very much so actually.
Speculation within environments such as this (forums) can develop a momentum of its own. And I would further point out that none of us are 'in the room'.
Having been an external consultant within various apparently similar contexts, it's hard to know the truth, if ever.
One such context I was involved in approximately 14 years ago involved Director fraud of a Telco carrier by a reseller, exploiting the 'cost-to-manage' nature of the relationship (so subscribers never became ex-subscribers, they just floated in the ether) in addition to other issues. I found it, reported it to the parent Co (who had engaged me) with documented evidence, and a chain of retail outlets closed the following Monday, although there were other issues which led to my being engaged in the first place. Point being, staff and middle management are often the last to know of any issues, and sometimes never know.
It's hard to know the reality, with alternate scenarios being possible, including Wiggle perhaps trying to rationalize the CRC operation in order to make it more viable, or to bring it into line with the Wiggle model. Maybe CRC was struggling before the 'merger', and this is the fallout. Maybe CRC performance had fallen off since or because of the merger, we may never know.

That being said, whilst they appear to be maintaining the brands as separate entities (although we all know differently) there's absolutely no point in maintaining two of everything (warehouses, customer service, finance) when the end result can be maintained just by running two websites and two phone numbers (both feeding into the same call centre). Think we'll see further change, and maybe even see the end of the CRC brand eventually, before it all returns to some sort of balance.

From another perspective, this may provide an opening for locals like BikeBug, Cyclingdeal, BicyclesOnline and Pushys to step in and pinch some market share from Wiggle.
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:10 am

Oh and forgot to mention, for a business that generates over 40% of its revenue from external, non-UK sales, being based in Wolverhampton or Mallusk makes no real difference.
Having two though, makes no sense. One needs to go, and I imagine the Watsons don't feel like driving to N.Ireland.
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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Ross » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:45 am

AUbicycles wrote:Ross, would be good if you included at least a quote from the original source in your post for some context.



I was in a bit of a rush to get ready to go for a ride and happened to see the article while I was supposed to be getting ready and so quickly posted a link. I didn't think it would be very hard for people to read the heading and then click on the link and read the story for more information...

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:03 am

A brief intro helps give a bit of context. Most members are pretty good and would only make good links but I appreciate views and comments... may even save me from clicking-through!

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Duck! » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:17 pm

All I can say is that as a contributor to their Q&A community I have found several of their staff members (one in particular) to be quite clueless, frequently offering plainly wrong information. Which isn't a good reflection on the company as a whole, as you would expect any business to actually know their products.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:57 am

That is an interesting obervation, I don’t have experience eitherway but have still considered what it takes for a real expert to move into an online customer service role. The staff knowledge is generally reliant on an existing passion (outside of work) and without the in-work hands-on practical experience.

One thing I saw in a different segment is an individual consultant manages a customer, the same staff member follows an entire issue or process and the customer can also rate them so the staff also needs to go for quality and not just fast sales.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Howzat » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:16 am

AUbicycles wrote:When companies expand, particularly those which are founded by a family and have a close knit staff and strong community integration - there are often casualties - this that is not satisfying and not necessarily an excuse.


This is not about expansion... when a company buys out a competitor, it never - and I mean never - does so in the best interests of the competitor.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Ross » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:33 pm

Duck! wrote:All I can say is that as a contributor to their Q&A community I have found several of their staff members (one in particular) to be quite clueless, frequently offering plainly wrong information. Which isn't a good reflection on the company as a whole, as you would expect any business to actually know their products.


I haven't had much (any) experience in dealing with their customer service people but are you sure you aren't setting the bar too high as you have obviously extensive bike product experience and knowledge and therefore expect the same back? Genuine question, not trying to troll.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Duck! » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:35 pm

No, it's not some of the more obscure things like extended compatibilities that component manufacturers don't acknowledge, there is stuff that is just fundamentally wrong. For example a question might be asked if a 9-sp. shifter can be used in a 8-sp. system (a flat "no") but this particular staff member will often suggest it can be used, just tweak the derailleur limits to iron out the last shift!
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:42 pm

Howzat wrote:
AUbicycles wrote:When companies expand, particularly those which are founded by a family and have a close knit staff and strong community integration - there are often casualties - this that is not satisfying and not necessarily an excuse.


This is not about expansion... when a company buys out a competitor, it never - and I mean never - does so in the best interests of the competitor.


+1.
Buy out is a means of removing something/someone which is bothering you, and also taking what they have (market share, customer base, branding). Wiggle were obviously losing market share or consumer affiliation to CRC while CRC were growing a brand presence. Simple solution, buy it. So now Wiggle have both customer bases and the combined market share, with some expected attrition. Now they're rationalizing the operation, as expected, and people are getting upset (can't understand how the staff didn't see this coming, of course they don't need two of everything).
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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:31 am

Publically it was being called a merger rather than a buy out but sure, the management objectives of growth and profit are priorities while company culture is a bonus.

Leading staff on and getting the most out of them for as long as possible is unfortunately pretty standard practice. Some staff will jump ship early while others accept the internal communication or tolerate the job.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby syu » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:31 pm

I received an order from CRC today, the package went something like this:

Recipient: Me

Sender: Chain Reaction Cycles

Box: Wiggle

They're not even trying anymore ;) I did appreciate the free Haribo though.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby MichaelB » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:28 pm

syu wrote:I received an order from CRC today, the package went something like this:

Recipient: Me

Sender: Chain Reaction Cycles

Box: Wiggle

They're not even trying anymore ;) I did appreciate the free Haribo though.


I just got the crappy free wine vouchers. Don't drink anymore though, so Gummibears much better !!

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby mikgit » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:03 pm

Bought a tri wetsuit recently for my GF from CRC, when it turned up had a tag "Wiggle exclusive" haha... but hey, returned it and got the refund the other day, so thats still fine.
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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby Camnicholls » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:55 pm

Interesting to read this thread. The margins are so incredibly low and the online buyer is typically fickle, given price, it's no surprises that some of these bigger players will die. I am sure many LBS's are popping their party poppers, if they can afford them! Cam

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:33 pm

Camnicholls wrote:The margins are so incredibly low and the online buyer is typically fickle, given price, it's no surprises that some of these bigger players will die.


I disagree - take a closer look at the standard margins (mark ups) for parts and accessories. This is the segment with the most sales while for pricier items, the margins are smaller but no longer (or not necessarily) small amounts of money.

When retail outlets have high overheads, the margins of course play a role if they decide to adjust (if they are 'allowed' to) or if they have a different sales volume than planned.

Beyond this, the success of a local bike shop or online retailer is largely based on the ability of the management being able to understand and cater to a market which has been in flux for about 20 years due to online retail. If management decide to retail and operate in a manner that is not sustainable - this becomes a problem and can then affect the viability.

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Re: Problems at Chain Reaction

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:42 pm

AUbicycles wrote:
Camnicholls wrote:The margins are so incredibly low and the online buyer is typically fickle, given price, it's no surprises that some of these bigger players will die.


I disagree - take a closer look at the standard margins (mark ups) for parts and accessories. This is the segment with the most sales while for pricier items, the margins are smaller but no longer (or not necessarily) small amounts of money.

When retail outlets have high overheads, the margins of course play a role if they decide to adjust (if they are 'allowed' to) or if they have a different sales volume than planned.

Beyond this, the success of a local bike shop or online retailer is largely based on the ability of the management being able to understand and cater to a market which has been in flux for about 20 years due to online retail. If management decide to retail and operate in a manner that is not sustainable - this becomes a problem and can then affect the viability.


+1
A situation which can be made even more difficult by franchise-mandated brand lines and pricing, in addition to monthly/quarterly/yearly franchise fees which provide questionable (if any) benefit for individual franchisees.
Evidenced by the recent re-branding of a couple of LBS's away from a well known franchise brand that I've noticed (no names)..
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