BRAIN Special Series

episode 88: canyon bicycles: blair clark on pioneering direct-first bike brand’s future

Today I speak with Blair Clark, president of Canyon Bicycles USA. We talk about the challenges of DTC online bike sales, and importantly, the solutions to those friction points. We discuss the importance of doing what you can, when you can for your consumers, then working endlessly to protect and nurture the loyalty that develops. It’s not just good for the consumer and Canyon, it’s good for the cycling community as a whole.

episode 86: *special episode* shifting channels in the specialty bicycle market

’m joined by Ashley Korenblat, the founder of OuterBike (and a host of other VERY impressive titles). The first OuterBike was a relatively radical idea: Instead of giving consumers the opportunity to demo a bike in a few circles around the parking lot, bring the bikes to iconic trails the consumer wants to ride.

Shifting Channels in the Bike Market – A Special Channel Mastery Series

This special series co-produced by Bicycle Retailer and Verde Brand Communications dives into the most important and relevant trends on speciality business evolution from key players in the bike market.

Check out all eight episodes in this series.

Episode 85: *Special Episode* Shifting Channels in the Specialty Bicycle Market

“At the end of the day, it’s got to be a great solution for the consumer, a great solution for the brand, and a great solution for the dealer. 

– Pete Buhl, president and co-founder of Beeline Bikes

To listen to all episodes in this series, click here

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Part 5: How a Mobile Bike Shop Improves Customer Experience Across Multiple Channels, with Pete Buhl of Beeline Bikes

The purpose of this “Shifting Channels” series is to provide a line of sight on where things are going with channel evolution in the specialty bike community and industry. We’ve covered e-commerce options, case studies in product launches, and adoption in practice by shop owners trying, adapting and thriving.

Today, we’re covering software as a service (SaaS) for bike. Before my technophobe friends shutdown, I encourage you to evaluate this type of technology through the service lens. The SaaS we explore today is leading the charge with a user-friendly, online option to create friction-free experiences for your customers, and a headache-free experience for bike shops.

My guest today is Pete Buhl, president and co-founder of Beeline Bikes. Beeline began as a mobile bike service. It quickly franchised, allowing brick-and-mortar bike shops to expand into a new channel and offer more services. In late January, Beeline, now owned by Accell North America, launched Powered by Beeline, the SaaS program connecting consumers to brands and to local, independent bike dealers.

For perspective around how well received this product has been, 350 store locations signed up in under three months (!!).

Pete says brands are using the program to increase consistency and elevate their customers’ brand experience. Bike dealers are using it better serve their customers’ omnichannel needs, while still encouraging in-store experiences. Intriguing, right? Hit play and take a listen.

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TOPICS COVERED:

Mobile bike service, SasS for bike, last mile fulfillment, BOPIS, email marketing tactics, Facebook look-a-like lists, transparent inventory management, mobile first customer service, streamlining order fulfillment

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Episode 84: *Special Episode* Shifting Channels in the Specialty Bicycle Market

we think that the engagement is the most important part today to engage, and to talk to our customers, and to actually do the dialog, and to have the face-to-face, as you’re saying, the hand-to-hand. That’s what we’re doing right now, and that’s the most important part.”

– Sophie O’Kelly, Chief  Operating Officer

To listen to all episodes in this series, click here

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Part 4: A Global Sporting Goods Powerhouse Makes its Move into the U.S. Market with House Branded Bikes and Gear

 

This episode is the third in a special Channel Mastery podcast series, co-produced by Bicycle Retailer and Verde Brand Communications, titled: Shifting Channels in the Specialty Bicycle Market.

What happens when the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, Decathlon, enters the U.S. market, armed with capital, smart leadership and an entire assortment of house branded bike, and other gear?

The story of Decathlon USA is one that’s still unfolding, but there’s SO much to learn about the why, how and when behind this major retail expansion centered in Northern California’s Bay Area.

The story began in Q1 2018, with its original launch into San Francisco, Calif., with a smaller ‘beta’ store. During Sea Otter, 2019, Decathlon opened a flagship store across the bay in Emeryville, Calif.

The leadership team of Decathlon USA used the first storefront as a ‘test and learn’ operation, enabling real-time feedback from consumers in the Bay Area – and throughout California – on its house branded product as well as an experiment on California consumers for its store and online retail experience.

That experience informed the launch of the Emeryville location. In both stores, Decathlon is deploying best-in-class retail technology, including on-floor robotics and an array of video merchandising, among other innovations. The beta store also enabled Decathlon to gain a strong purview of its U.S. consumer, and in this episode you can learn about how the team began to piece together who that consumer is and what Decathlon can offer.

Today on the Channel Mastery podcast, I host Decathlon USA’s COO Sophie O’Kelly, and Jennifer Tetrick, who serves as Director of Communications and PR (and is a former pro road racer).

We’ve all been reading about the arrival of Decathlon USA, now you get to hear the story and strategy behind this expansion straight from two of the operational leaders. There’s so much to learn from the research and thoughtful approach this global retail powerhouse took to launch its U.S. operations and storefronts.

The Shifting Channels in the Bike Market special series of the Channel Mastery podcast co-produced with Bicycle Retailer & Industry News and Verde Brand Communications. Please subscribe to the show by going to iTunes, and while you’re there, please give us a rating and review so that more businesses can benefit from the resources Channel Mastery brings just to specialty leaders every week.

And for more insight to tide you over between episodes, sign up for my Channel Mastery newsletter. Click over here (and scroll down a bit to the “subscribe” prompt).

TOPICS COVERED:

Tech in retail, market research, store launch strategies, ship to show product launches, broad market bike and sporting goods competitive set, today’s consumer preferences, cause marketing, data, e-bikes and more

CONNECT:

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Have questions or ideas for Kristin and the Channel Mastery podcast? Email: podcast@channelmastery.com

Like what you hear? Or maybe you don’t?
Help us deliver exactly what you need from Channel Mastery by writing an iTunes review at: 
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Episode 83: *Special Episode* Shifting Channels in the Specialty Bicycle Market

“ I think it’s absolutely the future is going to be stronger and stronger, pick up in store, click and collect. And we think it’s just another way people want to buy. You just have to provide how people want to buy, anyway they want to buy.

– Pete Buhl, Founder + Co-Owner of Beeline Bikes

To listen to all episodes in this series, click here

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Part 3: Evolving the Brand to Retail Specialty Relationship with Erik Saltvold of Erik’s Bikes, Board and Ski

This episode is the second in a special Channel Mastery podcast series, co-produced by Bicycle Retailer and Verde Brand Communications, titled: Shifting Channels in the Specialty Bicycle Market.

The evolution of the specialty bike market is happening fast. The learning available to all of us lies in the evolution itself. In bike, we’ve got a front-row seat to discover what’s working, and what isn’t, as an entire established industry works to modernize to meet the expectations of today’s connected consumers.

Today’s guest is Erik Saltvold, the founder and owner of Erik’s Bike, Board and Ski. Erik’s business has only grown through the country’s retail correction, and this show offers a purview into why. Erik’s now comprises 30 stores in six states, a healthy online presence, and 450 employee team.

In this episode, Erik shares his approach to winning in specialty retail. He takes calculated risks, re-invests in his business, and also is continually testing and learning what works. He also talks at length about the challenges of being a specialty retailer with an assortment of brands that are also evolving. Often, retailers are left to manage processes and new systems from brands as they too strive to meet the needs of today’s Amazon-trained consumers.

We also discuss a number of other headlining topics, including:

  • The recent news headlines around Performance Bikes shuttering and REI burning the boats by investing and committing to bike
  • How ‘show and ship’ is evolving in the specialty bike market today – hint, it’s in a bit of an awkward teenager phase for many brands, and the retailers are often stuck trying to figure out how to make the model work for multiple brands – all with multiple approaches
  • What brands need to do to continue to evolve their operations to get more consumer-centric
  • How click and collect is evolving for the omnichannel consumer seeking a specialty experience

This special series includes six more interviews on tap with specialty retail and branding experts from evolving brick-and-mortar retail, marketplaces, direct-first brands, SaaS providers, and established broad-market global retail in the bicycle and lifestyle space. The goal is to discern the top five key levers that will drive specialty businesses to success in 2019.

You’ll be hearing from leaders from companies like SRAM, Canyon, GCN, Erik’s Bike and Board, Decathlon, Beeline and other leading companies.

And for more insight to tide you over between episodes, sign up for my Channel Mastery newsletter. Click over here (and scroll down a bit to the “subscribe” prompt).

GUEST PROFILES:

Erik Saltvold

Erik Saltvold is the founder and owner of Erik’s Bikes, Board and Ski, and successful and growing collection of 30 specialty stores that are successfully competing with marketplaces like Amazon and broad-market retailers. Erik’s is a multi-channel retail business with a consumer-centric focus.

TOPICS COVERED:

The emergence of a new brand to retailer specialty relationship, ship to show product launches, REI’s renewed push into bike, Performance Bikes bankruptcy, data, e-bikes and more

CONNECT:

LISTEN TO MORE CHANNEL MASTERY EPISODES LIKE THIS:

Have questions or ideas for Kristin and the Channel Mastery podcast? Email: podcast@channelmastery.com

Like what you hear? Or maybe you don’t?
Help us deliver exactly what you need from Channel Mastery by writing an iTunes review at: 
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Episode 82:*Special Episode* Shifting Channels in the Specialty Bicycle Market

“If our product is innovative and modern and rider-first, we decided we wanted a launch that was the same way.”

– Kate Powlison

To listen to all episodes in this series, click here

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Part 2: The Product Launch That Shook Up the Industry

Today’s show is the first in a special Channel Mastery podcast series, Shifting Channels in the Specialty Bicycle Market.

Even if you’re not in the bike business, this podcast is for you. The evolution of the specialty bike market is happening fast. It has to. The learning available to all of us lies in the evolution itself. In bike, we’ve got a front-row seat to discover what’s working, and what isn’t, as an entire established industry works to evolve to meet the needs of today’s connected consumers.

You’re about to meet Kate Powlison, SRAM’s road brand manager. Kate’s on today to talk about the very successful recent launch of the SRAM Red eTap AXS component group. It was an integrated launch like none that I’d seen in my almost 20 years serving the bike industry with Verde.

You want more success stories and more solutions? We’ve got them for you. In the next four to five weeks, I will lead leaders and experts from evolving brick-and-mortar specialty, marketplace, direct-first brands, SaaS providers, and established broad-market global retail in the bicycle and lifestyle space to discern the top five key levers that will drive specialty businesses to success in 2019.

You’ll be hearing from leaders from companies like SRAM, Canyon, GCN, Erik’s Bike and Board, Decathlon, Beeline and other leading companies.

And for more insight to tide you over between episodes, sign up for my Channel Mastery newsletter. Click over here (and scroll down a bit to the “subscribe” prompt).

GUEST PROFILES:

Kate Powlison, Road Brand Manager at SRAM

Kate Powlison road brand manager at SRAM. Previously, she was the senior marketing and communications manager at PeopleForBikes. She works directly with directly with SRAM’s PR, product development, road sports marketing, and sales teams to develop and execute strategies for brand and product marketing.

TOPICS COVERED:

Product launch, cycling, bike industry, go-to-market strategy, omnichannel launch, diversity and inclusion, user-generated content

SELECT QUOTES:

“If our product is innovative and modern and rider-first, we decided we wanted a launch that was the same way.”

“We had to work really hard to change the way that we launched products and it took a lot more coordination. But we knew it was the right thing for the health of the industry, and for the rider. People get frustrated when you launch your product and then they have to wait months to get it and to ride it.”

“It’s not just what we communicate, but it’s getting everyone whose part of the launch up to speed and giving them the materials.”

“One of the surprises and the delights [around the launch] was seeing the product story still be consistent, but be interpreted in so many creative and fun and wonderful ways.”

“One of the things that made the planning for this launch unique was that it wasn’t just on the marketing team. It felt like every department at SRAM was involved, and played a major role in deciding on the launch style and how we would do it.”

“[Diversity inclusion] isn’t something that we should be lauded for. I think it’s the only decision that a bike company or an outdoors company should be making: to show better diversity in their materials.”

CONNECT:

AS MENTIONED IN EPISODE:

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Have questions or ideas for Kristin and the Channel Mastery podcast? Email: podcast@channelmastery.com

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PRESENTED BY:
SPONSORED BY:
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Episode 81: *special episode* shifting channels in the specialty bicycle market

In today’s show with Ryan, you’ll learn that many independent bike dealers and bike manufacturers are still timid about committing to ecommerce as a channel – for lots of reasons. As we’ve reported in on before on Channel Mastery, you’ll hear once again from this expert that specialty businesses NEED to expand into this realm to continue to serve your connected consumer today.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a digital marketing expert to reap the rewards. Ryan shares today that the tools exist so that you can make all of these things happen while staying focused on your superlative customer service and cycling expertise.