Discover Bikesportz Import’s journey to unite brands and retailers to create a B2B and B2C marketplace solution.
In 1987 when David Cramer founded his cycling parts and accessories distribution company, Bikesportz Imports, things were different.
There was an accepted status quo in the retail chain. Brands would manufacture, distributors would act as the middlemen, and retailers would sell to consumers. It was a system very much based on reputation. Those who did the right thing within their piece of the puzzle went from strength to strength.
Then everything changed. But more on that shortly.
It’s in the family
Having come from Australian cycling retail pedigree (David’s father owned the iconic Cecil Walker Cycles in Melbourne, which his brother now owns), reputation was important, as was loyalty.
David initially worked for his father’s store distributing on a fairly small scale. Things quickly expanded, prompting him to establish Bikesportz Imports.
As is the unavoidable destiny of any start-up owner, David did everything back then – he was the salesman, accountant, packer, courier, and customer management rolled into one. It was early days but despite this, he very quickly attracted some mighty names.
Global brands like Bianchi, Santini, Campagnolo, Lazer, BBB and Minora took a chance on this start-up. Twenty years later business relations and indeed lifelong friendships remain solid.
That’s in part because David understands retail, specifically bike retail.
He knew what needed to be done to foster these brands and the retailers selling them. He could identify shifts in the market that would impact his network. He knew what, how and when to offer the right support to retailers in order to help get them through. He knew his retailers’ success determined his own.
It wasn’t long before Bikesportz Imports became one of the main distributors of cycling parts and accessories in the Australian market.
The new virtual face of retail
As the business grew it became clear significant changes were occurring across the retail sector.
- Two major disruptors, Chain Reaction Cycling and Wiggle (which have now merged) emerged to sell direct to market;
- Certain brands began selling direct to public as well;
- More and more were turning to dropshipping as a means of keeping overheads down;
- The online marketplace BikeExchange began to consolidate the highly-fragmented industry;
- A broader base of consumers became highly savvy, informed and knowledgeable. Whereas once cycling might have existed at polar opposites (the occasional commuter versus the club competitor), new sub groups and cultures began to rise exponentially.
Bike retail was never going to be the same again.
Establishing a marketplace
Although they remain 100% committed to their original business structure, Bikesportz Imports could see they were in a unique position to support retailers through this evolution.
They knew they needed to be on the frontfoot to introduce a solution.
They had the brands, the product, the logistics and the distribution; the only part of this puzzle they didn’t have directly in place were the consumers.
Enter the Bikesportz Imports marketplace.
Working with Marketplacer, Bikesportz Imports created a dedicated cycling parts and accessories marketplace. The company’s entire product portfolio is now listed on the site, but it is displayed through individual retailer online stores.
Those involve benefit in myriad ways:
- At no cost retailers automatically receive virtual stores within the marketplace;
- This in turn provides them with new sales channels and increased opportunity to grow;
- Shopping is fast, simple and immediate for consumers;
- Customers purchase on the marketplace, but specifically through a retailer, thus enabling a commission structure;
- Overheads are minimised through dropshipping – the retailer doesn’t commit to large purchases nor do they need to stock as much in-store.
The transition period
Marketplacer’s team played a fundamental role ensuring this new business direction was introduced with minimal friction and maximum ease.
However, the business itself was quick to implement internal changes. These decisions played a pivotal role in not only establishing the marketplace, but maintaining the smooth running of traditional operations. It was imperative this transition maintained ‘business as usual’.
Fresh, specialist talent
To that end, David’s son Shannon joined the team as General Manager. With a highly successful career in finance, this alone proved key to executing the new direction. Shannon in turn brought new talent into the mix by way of online specialists including a graphic designer and SEO expert. This evolving internal skillset ensured Bikesportz Imports got off on the right foot straight away, as opposed to learning as they went.
The result is a highly-successful online marketplace that serves as an adjunct to Bikesportz Import’s core offering. It plays a critical role in giving the business a competitive edge not just for its brands and retailers, but for itself. Indeed, the marketplace is already partly responsible for helping to recently secure some strong, powerful brands into the portfolio.
It’s been the midas touch for Bikesportz Imports. Not only have David and his team remained faithful, loyal partners to their brands and retailers, but it’s enabled them to be at the forefront in new ways to help them all grow.
Visit the Bikesportz Imports marketplace here.
Is your business in a unique position to provide its industry key stakeholders with an online marketplace? Get in touch with the Marketplacer team today.