How can the cycling product industry continue to grow? The answer is pretty simple really. It comes down to understanding:
- The nature of the market
- What consumers want
- Why the two have struggled to connect
Here’s my analysis.
The cycling industry’s product-focused DNA
First. We have the cycling product industry. Stand up Mr Trek, Mr Specialised and Mr Giant and Mrs Giant. Professional. Quality. Design. Marketing Machines.
For these brands, their strength and their achilles heel are the same: the focus on the product and the disconnect with the point of sale.
Notwithstanding the attempts ‘humanise’ their awesome products, you just have to ask yourselves when did they ‘discover’ these customers called ‘women’.
I don’t know if you have heard of women, but I have been told they might actually be 50 percent of your market. And they might also make many of the purchasing choices for new riders (aka kids!).
Yes, Trek has its TrekTavel and the ProjectOne. Giant has its Liv program. However, I think their DNA is still about the product.
This isn’t helped by the (until recent) lack of vertical control at the point of sale. The brands were somewhat divorced from helping to understand and shape their customer’s experience.
Apologies if this is harsh. While I will admit to exaggerating for effect, the point is still largely valid. And if you don’t believe me, have a look at industry growth of product over the past 15 years.
While there has been some upturn, given that cycling is meant to be the ‘new golf’, where is the growth?
Customers want experiences first, products second
The cycling product industry was up until (and for some still largely is) all about product. But for customers, the fundamental driver is not the product. It is the experience. And hence growth has been constrained by this disconnect.
Fortunately, there is an answer where we all win.
The answer is what I have termed the cycling experience industry. This refers to the self-guided and guided rides people have, and the industry of for-profit and not-for-profit providers that support them. This is where the fun, the experience happens.
This is the true DNA of cycling. This is an ecosystem of providers and contributors working in a somewhat haphazard and disjointed manner to provide the opportunity to experience a ride.
Unlike the product industry it is largely under-served. There are great providers and awesome experiences, but it struggles from a lack of business-to-business and government-to-business coordination.
Responding to the disconnect
This is where CycleLifeHQ comes in. Our vision is to make cycling better for everyone.
If we are successful, we will help create better quality riding experiences. We also believe we will have the data analytics to help the cycling product industry grow.
We’ll have data on where the cycling hot spots are. Data on what people want to do. Data to help local communities identify and address gaps in their customer experiences.
We go live in about a month. We look forward to seeing your feedback and working out if we can indeed help make cycling better for everyone.
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