The electric bike or e-bike: a solution to longer commutes, hillier climbs or fatigued legs. In Europe, sales are booming, but the UK is trailing behind. What’s behind the hesitation to adopt this form of bike technology that offers extended adventures and easier commutes? And what can bike manufacturers do to address these barriers and bring the UK’s e-bike sales in line with our European neighbours? As specialists in delivering creative sales promotions for slow-moving and durable consumer goods, Opia explains how implementing specific redemption campaigns can foster customer confidence in the e-bike market to create a sales uplift in this product line.

How Europe continues to lead the way in cycling trends

Historically, the UK has tended to fall behind Europe in its uptake of cycling. Our infrastructure to support this planet-friendly method of transport is far inferior to countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark, leaving budding cyclists a little wary of taking to the roads regularly. However, in the last decade, cycling began trending upwards1, and, before recent events, 2018 saw the highest growth in kilometres cycled in the UK since monitoring began2.

The recent unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has accelerated the country’s interest in cycling. The growth in bike sales has been exponential, with Halfords reporting a 500% rise in some of its cycling equipment since the lockdown3. Meanwhile, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, pledged £2bn to double the number of cyclists and walkers by 20254.

As we ease out of the lockdown and individuals seek safer, socially distanced methods of transport, cycling has quickly become a favourite for our daily commute. For those facing longer, more challenging journeys or who want to adopt a daily cycling habit, but need a bit of help, electric bikes make perfect sense. In Europe, e-bikes sales are expected to more than double by 20255, with 25% of Europeans intending to use an electric bike this year. In the UK, we continue to lag behind. Only 7% of Brits are considering trying the technology that could expand our biking possibilities6.

With so many advantages to using an e-bike, what is behind these reservations?

Customer objections to e-bikes

Price

Indications suggest that the price point of e-bikes is likely to be a significant obstacle to their sales. At a time when many customers are cautious with their finances, sales of any bikes upwards of £3,000 fell in April. Low to mid-priced bikes are most in-demand, with a 112% year-on-year rise in sales in April for those priced £400-£1,0007.

Product Appreciation

Electric bikes may also require a PR drive in the UK. Steve Garidis, Executive Director of The Bicycle Association, comments that ‘many people still don’t know just how good modern e-bikes are7.’ A lack of awareness of how e-bikes work and what their benefits are, as well as little opportunity to trial the experience, means that sales are not seeing the same increase as traditional pedal bikes.

How a new approach to promotional campaigns can solve the problem

Having successfully worked around similar customer reservations in the past, Opia is confident that with the right promotional strategies, the obstacles to e-bike sales can quite easily be overcome. Europe has illustrated that the e-bike market has the potential to really take off and, therefore, there is an excellent opportunity here for bike manufacturers to maximise their sales.

When facing challenging markets:

Provide an incentive

Give your customers motivation for making a higher-value purchase by using consumer sales promotions, such as cashback rewards or enhanced trade-ins:

  • Offering the same sales uplift as traditional discounting, cashback deals provide a brand with better profitability, working on the reality that, on average, only half of your customers make their claim.
  • The effort-to-reward value of a standard trade-in often does not offer broad appeal to the consumer market. Instead, increase buyer motivation and boost your sales by enhancing trade-ins with cashback rewards.

For improved financial predictivity and profitability, Opia highly recommends work in partnership with an insurer, specialising in promotional marketing, who will cover any risk of over-redemption.

Offer reassurance

In a financially challenging climate, when customers are looking to purchase higher-value goods, they need reassurance that they are making a sensible choice. Satisfaction-guarantee and job safe purchasing schemes are proven in encouraging customers to make that buying decision:

  • Increase buyer confidence through satisfaction-guarantee sales promotions. Particularly useful for customers who are unfamiliar with e-bikes, this buy-and-try promotional method offers them a limited period to trial their purchase, with no obligation.
  • At a time when people are worried about the future of their job, cutting-edge sales campaigns that offer a percentage refund, should they face redundancy, boosts buyer confidence to invest in higher-value goods, such as e-bikes.

Get ahead of your competitors

Where competition is fierce, using disruptive promotional strategies will allow your brand to get noticed above your competitors.

For example, use basket-boost campaigns to partner with your retailers and deliver a better deal to your customers. With this strategy, cashbacks are offered when your e-bike is purchased alongside other determined accessories from the store. Basket-boosts not only provide an attractive deal for your customers but also encourages retailers to market your brand ahead of other competitors.

We have delivered numerous other strategic campaigns that have successfully helped brands to boost their sales of durable goods. Our whitepaper uses this expertise to review the current climate of the bike market and outline highly responsive strategies that can be used to motivate your customers towards the purchase of higher-value or unfamiliar goods, such as e-bikes.

Download our whitepaper here.

To boost sales of electric bikes, manufacturers need to address the unique challenges in the market by using innovative promotional campaigns. With our expertise, we can help overcome these challenges to reach your commercial objectives and support you towards long-term profitability. Opia puts your business and its specific needs at the centre of our solutions. By creating unique strategies and evolving our approach as the market changes, we will continue to ensure mutual value for you and your customers.

To find out more about how we can support your brand to better profitability in the bike market, please get in touch, and our team will be happy to discuss the opportunities.

 

1 https://www.cyclinguk.org/statistics

2 https://www.bikebiz.com/cycling-in-london-grew-strongly-in-2018-figures-reveal/

3   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/11/huge-demand-for-cycles-during-lockdown-set-to-rise-further

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2020/may/10/dawn-of-new-golden-age-for-cycling-or-just-another-empty-promise

5 https://cyclingindustry.news/electric-bike-sales-europe/

6 https://cyclingindustry.news/quarter-of-europeans-likely-to-be-e-bike-riders-in-2020-says-largest-study-to-date/

7 https://cyclingindustry.news/e-bikes-off-the-pace-in-early-lockdown-period-ba-calls-for-incentives/