Tour de France — It’s impact on bike sales becomes more tactical than the race itself.

Obvious question, I have been asked this dozens of times in the last few weeks. So a quick response for those who love the sport and have any interest in what it looks like behind the scenes of bicycle retail.

Yes sure! the TDF brings attention to the sport and the products used in the race. As we know attention is a good thing. Also July is a time when many of the manufacturers introduce new product at the tour but these new items are not available for sale just yet. So traffic to the site goes up and contact from visitors goes up but the challenge for us becomes one of maturing those requests and converting them into future sales. Looking at our historical data we see the same pattern every year. Early July is flat “perhaps everyone is at the beach” mid July get’s better and the tail end of the month going into August we see the window of opportunity open and sales are brisk.

We are not the only ones who jump at the opportunity, our competitors are all over it as well. You might have noticed the amount of promotional e-mails goes up dramatically. The competition drives profit margins down and we find some inverted returns with extra spend on gaining exposure and lower gross margins with only marginal gains in top line numbers. It’s pretty challenging really but understanding where you are in the annual cycle is key to success. With next model year on the horizon and shoppers who are watching the race are also the ones who will be looking for the latest greatest when it comes available. We work hard at this point to say yes where we can and make new connections. So for the buyer this is the time to strike if you are looking to snag a big ticket item at a great price. For for us it’s an opportunity to show we are the best place to get the hot new product at the best prices.

The takeaway. Yes the TDF ignites sales, for the retailer the challenge is understanding the nature of these sales and the opportunity they present once the sales are done.

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