If you havn’t noticed the influence of the online retail market on our society and economy, then you are living in the dark ages. Local Bike Shops and distributers are not particularly pleased with the popularity of Wiggle, Chain Reaction Cycles, Pro Bike Kit and the like.
On the one side, a consumer is told that it is Un-Australian to buy overseas and it costs jobs and tax, not to mention missing service and support. On the otherside however, a consumer may be able to save 30%, 40%, 50% or more off the price. And when Local Bike Shops complain that their (wholesale) purchase price is higher for a product than a consumer can buy it online, delivery included, then something has to happen.
Enter Cycling Express – a new Australian bike shop who are about to launch with the bold claim (as per Facebook); “Australians most competitive online cycling shop will also be price matching overseas prices”. On their website blog they provide a little more detail “We’ll price match Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle”.
This is exciting news for Australian cyclists and a new move in the Australian cycling retail industry. I was interested in hearing more about Cycling Express and the manager of the soon-to-be-launched Cycling Express was kind enough to answer a few questions for Bicycles Network Australia (BNA).
BNA: Please introduce yourself and your role.
Daniel: Hi, my name is Daniel. I’m the manager of Cycling Express.
BNA: Who is behind Cycling Express?
Daniel: Cycling Express is an Australian owned and operated business. We have had extensive experience for over a decade working and sourcing quality products worldwide from within the international bicycle industry.
We are based in Melbourne where we have a retail factory outlet store that is run by a group of keen and passionate cycling enthusiasts. Our focus is to provide the best service we can for our fellow Aussie cyclists.
BNA: Can we expect Cycling Express launching as (solely) an online cycling shop?
Daniel: Cycling Express has a large retail store (recently expanded) in Bayswater Melbourne that has been serving the local area for six years. This store will continue to give people the ability to touch, feel, see and ‘try out’ our products. We feel that this is important as it gives people the opportunity to test products, including BMC bikes. We will be the only BMC test centre in Victoria.
As part of our Australia wide launch we’ve partnered up with bike shops all around the country to compliment our online service. This means people can buy a bike online and have it shipped to one of our partner stores where they have the opportunity to have their bike professionally assembled, fitted and serviced, and/or to have accessories or extra parts fitted.
BNA: The most interesting claim is that you will price match CRC and Wiggle – can you explain how you will be able to achieve this?
Daniel: Over the past eleven years we have developed key relationships to enable the launch of cyclingexpress.com. Because of these important partnerships we are able to compete globally; thus giving the best possible benefit to our customers through international buying power.
BNA: What challenges do you have in order to price match, have you been able to develop a good relationship with distributers – or do you have a different business model entirely?
Daniel: We’ve been able to establish key relationships with Australian wholesalers who have been very supportive of the project. Without their support Cycling Express wouldn’t be possible.
BNA: Can you paint a picture of the Australian cycling retail industry in 5 years considering bricks and mortar retailers, local online retailers and overseas retailers.
Daniel: Our vision for the future is a market where Australians have the option of going to a local bike store, shopping online from an Australian site or buying from overseas. Until now there hasn’t been an option to purchase online from a truly competitive Australian retailer so we’re providing that opportunity.
Coming from a distribution and retail background we’ve been experiencing, and witnessing first hand a staggering decline in retail sales within Australia. And from what I’ve been hearing, the Aussie distributors are struggling just as much as the local bike shops, so it’s not going real well for anybody in Australia at the moment.
With millions of dollars being spent by Australians every month overseas, we feel that the Cycling Express model is a progressive and positive venture. We are equally focused on developing partnerships with local distributors and local bike shops. If we don’t support each other the Australian cycling industry will continue to suffer and deteriorate. There are many ways that we can as an industry, innovate and improve the way we do business, and get some of those dollars back in Australia.
Photo: ? cyclingexpress.com
BNA: You have published a warehouse photo which gives an indication of your size – how big is Cycling Express?
Daniel: To get ourselves ready for launch we’ve been in the process of setting up our factory and retail store. You wouldn’t believe how many bikes we have at the moment! Not only are our factory and retail store completely bursting with new bikes, we have so many bikes, parts, accessories and other cycling gear that we’ve had to find two extra locations to store it all.
BNA: Your launch date is planned for late this month, have you already got a day picked out when we can expect doors to open.
Daniel: The site will be up and running before the end of June and we’ll be continuing to add more and more products to the site every day after launch. Our newly re-developed retail store is now open to the public!
BNA: We wish you a successful launch and all the best in creating a new online retail opportunity for Australian cyclists.