This is a trade facing website. Visit the ACTís consumer site thecyclingexperts.co.uk for information and advice on cycling and find your local independent cycle retailer.
The Association of Cycle Traders
This is a trade facing website.
Visit the ACTís consumer site at thecyclingexperts.co.uk.

Selling e-bikes

< Back


Selling E-bikes Selling S-Pedelecs

 

Selling E-bikes Selling S-Pedelecs

Bikes shops pride themselves on their ability to sell cycles to cyclists, but with e-bikes there's a huge opportunity to sell to a whole new type of customer - people of all ages and abilities who may not necessarily consider themselves cyclists.

New technology and better designed models, combined with the consumer's growing awareness of the health and environmental benefits has helped to fuel the boom in e-bikes in recent times.

But in order to capitalise on this growing market retailers need to adopt new selling techniques, as well as being aware of the registration processes if they choose to sell non-EAPC e-bikes which aren't classed as normal bicycles. For more information on this please see the 'Selling S-Pedelecs' section.

 

There are a number of factors to consider in the e-bike market in the UK surrounding the business environment, consumer attitudes and demographics and product.

UK business environment

There are the beginning signs of change to the National Government policy on Health and Transport. Local Governments are implementing changes in infrastructure, congestion charges and low emission zones. There is an increasing amount of awareness surrounding e-transport and the potential introduction of electric bike share schemes. Cycle to Work schemes are now offering limits above the previously established £1000 cap. We have already seen a £2 million commitment from the Government towards cargo bike subsidies and this number may rise. Awareness around e-bikes are being driven bot only by manufacturer interested but media interest.

Consumer attitudes and demographics

The UK has an active retired population which may be an area within the market that e-bike can come into. More and more products are being aimed at young children and teenagers riding off-road.

Product

The introduction of road e-bikes has created a new marketspace within the cycle's industry where several manufacturers are getting it right. The introduction and engagement with new technology, new engines and exciting product is the final factor to consider when understanding the e-bike market and the marketspace within the UK.

 

In-store positioning

It's important to position the bikes in store and have appropriate POS, if possible you could even create e-bike specific sections. You don't need to be an e-bike specialist shop to make more of these products, but by giving e-bikes more space and prominence in store your customers will take more notice of them. A token e-bike at the back of your store is not going to produce significant e-bike sales!

E-bike commute

Changing perceptions

E-bike commute

In a survey of 2000 UK consumers, conducted for Evans Cycles, 75% said they didn't know what an e-bike was. Whilst they are getting more popular here in the UK, they are still not a widely recognised as elsewhere in Europe. In the Netherlands one in three bikes sold is electric assist!

So educating consumers on the benefits an e-bike can have on their lifestyle is key to increasing sales.



"Don't compare e-bikes to regular bikes, but instead as an alternative to the bus, train or car."



In the UK cycling is still primarily considered as a sport for recreation and fitness rather than for transport, but e-bikes can change that perception. When selling the benefits don't compare e-bikes to regular bikes, but instead as an alternative to the bus, train or car, which opens up a whole new market of potential buyers.

Designed to give riders a helping hand, e-bikes can be great for people looking to get fit, those with a longer or hilly commute, older people or people with disabilities that may prevent them from otherwise getting in the saddle.


The Cycling Experts The Cycling Experts

Promotion

As with any products you sell, your customers won't know they are available unless you tell them! If you sell online add a dedicated e-bike section to your website to show customers exactly what's on offer. You should also give customers information about choosing the right e-bike for them and guidance on how to look after it, just like you would if you were selling an e-bike in-store.

As well as updating your own website, be sure to update online directories like The Cycling Experts. Customers searching for their local bike shop now have the option to search specifically for e-bike sellers, so if you aren't listed you could be missing out on hundreds of sales. Every retailer gets a free listing - update yours today.

Successful bike shops have created demos and events surrounding the launch of e-bikes targeting the retirement market the mid-40s market. Events are the perfect way to meet consumers, understand consumer attitudes and educate the public on e-bikes and how they might be the right direction for them. 

 

E-bike Demo Day

Try before you buy

E-bike Demo Day

Most consumers will not have tried an e-bike before and may think of them as being heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. Test rides and demos are key to allowing consumers to get a genuine feel for what an e-bike can provide.

Make sure you have a good outside area set up for potential customers to give the bikes a go. You could even run specific demo days for your e-bike range to get a wider audience interested.


Pricing

According to a 2017 BikeBiz survey, the biggest challenge for dealers selling e-bikes is 'pricing of product'. Compared to normal bikes, e-bikes can be expensive and this will put customers off, but when compared to alternative transport such as driving or taking the train, the cost can soon be justified.

Make sure you are aware of how the cost of alternative transport methods compare. What is the cost of an annual train season ticket to your nearest city? How much would it cost in fuel and parking to do a similar journey by car. You can even point out that a gym membership wouldn't be necessary anymore!



"A great alternative to the £1000 cycle to work limit is Ride it away retail finance"



Ride it away

One of the most common ways to encourage people to get cycling is through a cycle to work scheme, but with a limit of £1000 this can often price e-bikes out of a customer's budget.

Ride it away

A great alternative to cycle to work is Ride it away retail finance. This allows customers to spread the cost of any new bike and accessories (up to £15,000) over 6 - 48 months with as little as 0% interest. Being able to pay for an e-bike in monthly installments makes it a much more affordable option.


Knowledge

Selling E-bikes Selling E-bikes

Buying an e-bike can be a daunting experience, especially for a non-cyclist who knows little about standard bike functionality, let alone e-bike technology. The key to putting customers at ease is knowledge about the products you are selling. If you and your staff can't talk a customer through battery charging rules then it's unlikely the customer will feel happy to purchase the bike from you so make sure you and your staff know the ins and outs of all the products you are selling. A lot of e-bike brands run specialist masterclasses for their dealers to learn about the products.

When discussing the battery don't overload the customer with negatives about battery life and charging but do be truthful in managing their expectations about longevity.

As well as selling e-bikes, your customers need to be confident in your abilities to be able to fix anything that goes wrong and to keep their bike in the best condition. An e-bike is an investment for your customers so having the skills to be able to service and repair their bikes for years to come is vital.

Technical support, tooling and technology is all available from major manufacturers such as Bosch, Shimano Steps and TranzX - plus making sure your staff are trained in diagnosing and fixing e-bikes is easy with the help of the new Cytech technical e-bike course.


Read more about servicing e-bikes.