The world of bike retail is changing, and changing drastically. Is there anything off limits for a bike retailer?
Twenty years from now we will look back upon this decade and we'll have a name for it. Much like we named the Industrial Revolution. We will point to this time and say, "That's when it all changed." In the world of retail the way it is changing is from the merger of manufacturers and retailers. The traditional model of manufacturer to distributor to retailer to customer is dying and in many places is already dead. From now on it will be simply, manufacturer to customer.
Many would look at Target, Wal-Mart, or their neighborhood grocery store as the traditional definition of a retailer. They bring in products made by other people and sell them to consumers. Though when looking closer we realize that more than 50% of what Target and Wal-Mart sell, they manufacture. Every grocery store has their own brand of items. Even Amazon, the world's largest retailer, is a manufacturer of electronic goods, kitchen supplies, books, and much more.
What does this mean for the independent bicycle retailer? It means, more than ever, they should start looking to create products of their own. Controlling the entire value chain. Right now nearly every bike retailer is the owner (or manufacturer) of the services they sell. Going forward they will begin to own their apparel, the shoes, the nutrition, and possibly even the bikes.
Some retailers will even expand beyond tradition and start selling items we never expected, but with a brilliant cycling twist. Look Mum No Hands in London sells their own band of men's underwear for example.
What is the next product you really want to own?
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