shifting channels in the bike market - a special channel mastery series co-presented by bicycle retailer and verde brand communications

Today, I’m proud to kick off a brand-new special series of the Channel Mastery podcast created to pull the most important trends on specialty business evolution from the bike market.

Why the bike market, you ask? Well, in my opinion, it’s the perfect specialty microcosm.

The bike market microcosm really does have it all:

  • Legacy brands and retailers working to evolve

  • Direct-first brands disrupting and wanting to expand into brick and mortar stores

  • Tech solution providers

  • Marketplaces trying to figure out how to sell specialty (Walmart just launched high-end bikes in its Viathon bike line).

And that’s just the B-2-B side.

The bike market also has a far-reaching consumer community. Think about it. … Cyclists run the gamut from families to core enthusiast riders, to urban commuters, bike share users, and everything in between. And they all have their preferred communities, ways of discovering, engaging with, sharing and buying from specialty bike businesses.

There’s also a ton of news happening right now in this microcosm. Just some of the recent headlines include the death of Performance Bikes, REI doubling down on cycling, new approaches to bringing product to market, bikes being part of the November Outdoor Retailer show, and yes, Walmart’s run at specialty bike.

No matter what specialty market your business is in, you will gain a lot of insight from this series.

There are eight episodes in this special series, co-produced with Bicycle Retailer & Industry Newsfeaturing specialty leaders who are mid-gap-jump in the modernizing of their businesses.

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

Let’s dive right in with our first four shows:

Episode 81:

interview a bonafide bike-market and bike-shop specialist in Ryan Atkinson of SmartEtailing, a niche marketing solution for bike manufacturers and Independent Bicycle Dealers (IBD’s). Ryan brings hard-earned knowledge for specialty business leaders committed to IBD’s and also, to grappling with channel expansion and refinement. The two are no longer separate challenges as brick-and-mortar retail is a critical ingredient to any specialty brand’s multichannel strategy today.

Click here to download a PDF transcript of this episode.

Episode 82: 

In this episode, Kate Powlison, SRAM’s Road Brand Manager, and I dissect and discuss the company’s recent, and highly lauded, launch of the AXS component group (Red and Force). This launch had the most impact on the specialty bike consumer than any other bike company launch to date. How? By setting new expectations that when product is launched - bikes or components - it will be available to consumers immediately. The AXS launch was highly strategic, well-orchestrated and incorporated a number of channels. It also had global reach and engagement. This is a must-listen show for any specialty business and brand leader, trust me!

Click here to download a PDF transcript of this episode.

Episode 83: 

This show drops today, April 18, and features my friend Erik Saltvold, the founder and CEO of Erik’s Bikes, Board & Ski, a highly successful collection of brick-and-mortar retail stores in the Midwest. Erik defines what it means to be an innovative specialty retailer. He believes wholeheartedly in reinvesting in his business, taking calculated risks regularly and never, ever staying comfortable or stagnant. With this approach, his business continues to thrive in the face of America’s retail correction. Erik brings incredible, actionable insights in this show that you can apply to your own specialty business.

Click here to download a PDF transcript of this episode.

Episode 84: 

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 outdoor and sporting-goods gear?

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.

In this episode of the “Shifting Channels in the Bike Market” is part of the Channel Mastery special series of content, co-produced by Verde Brand Communications and Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.

I interviewed Decathlon USA’s COO Sophie O’Kelly, and Jennifer Tetrick, who serves as Director of Communications and PR about the research leading into the launch, and the recent expanded launch of Decathlon USA with its first flagship store, as well as the company’s branded product strategy.  

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.

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.

Listen to this weeks episode 84, here. To download a PDF transcript of this episode, click here.

Once again, a very special thank you to Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, and Verde Brand Communications, the co-presenting sponsors of this special Channel Mastery podcast series.

As always, I want to thank you, my friends, for being part of the Channel Mastery family! Until the next week. … Drive fast and take chances!


Host, Channel Mastery

Founder/CEO, Verde Brand Communications




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