Retailers selling bikes have seen great traction thanks to the arrival of the e-bike a few years ago. E-bikes are changing transport in cities all over the world and present a huge opportunity for bicycle retailers. The current crisis will only accelerate this trend.
Traditionally only selling in-store, we are now seeing a rise in the sale of bikes online. Within three years, retailers are expecting more than one-third of all bike sales to be made online, compared to roughly one-fifth today. This shows that selling offline as well as online will become increasingly important.
Currently, shoppers mostly start their journey on one channel and complete it on another one. Since these lines will come to blur with time, retailers must adapt and allow shoppers to complete their purchase in the manner that is most convenient for them. This process should be seamless. Creating and owning a powerful omnichannel approach will become the ultimate key to a bike retailer’s success, and this is one of Qover’s unique advantages. Qover is a digital insurance specialist that provides Pan-European coverage in a digital way, thus facilitating a seamless offline or omnichannel approach.
Historically, bikes were (almost exclusively) purchased for leisure, sport and/or weekend activities. In recent years, however, with rising traffic jams, packed public transportation, and an increase in health awareness, e-bikes especially have seen a huge rise in demand. People now use their bike as a mode of transportation. More specifically, it is used as a way of commuting efficiently on a daily basis. It is an independent and productive transportation mode that provides exercise and keeps you healthy at the same time. Together with the increasing share of e-bike sales, the profile of bike customers has also changed and as a new mobility solution, e-bike insurance has become crucial.
A quest for value-added services
Davy Louwers, CEO of Online Bike Group (headquartered in one of the most mature markets in the world for cycling, i.e. the Netherlands), announced in spring 2019 that their prime brand, fietsenwinkel.nl, would change its strategy to adapt to this new market reality and go all-in on e-bikes.
“It’s not enough to be the cheapest anymore, client-centricity is our main priority. 44% of our e-bike sales are commuters who are way more demanding. They want a good and fast bike with a great service offering. They choose an e-bike over a company car, so they expect replacement bikes, roadside assistance and flexible financing.”
A similar acknowledgement was made by Internetstores’ CEO Hans Dohrmann: “The customer who is looking for a high quality e-bike to commute, or the family who wants to buy an expensive cargo bike, must be offered the service level that they expect according to the price.”
With the tremendous rise in e-bikes comes a rise in demand for insurance. Now that cycling has moved from recreational use to a functional mode of transport, the entire purpose of it has changed. And this is where insurance kicks in. When commuting more regularly with an e-bike, many people would rather have it insured as they are most likely leaving it unattended in a city. Having a theft and damage insurance, as well as assistance, eases the mind and means bike owners do not need to worry about their costly e-bike parked in the open street.
In the quest for value-added services, insurance is definitely one of the lowest-hanging fruits available to retailers. E-bikes require a significant investment from customers, and tend to be used on a daily basis. This makes theft a real nightmare scenario that buyers want to hedge against.
Insurance as a new source of revenue
A Roland Berger survey in The Netherlands showed that new bike sales account for 70% of the gross margin of a bike retailer, whereas workshop fees account for 25%. Unfortunately, there is only limited diversification possible with regard to the revenue sources of a bike shop. On top of that, the survey found that an average shop makes a profit of about 9% on capital, whereas 40% of shops were not profitable enough to pay the shop owners a salary of €40,000 per year. This means bike retailers must be extremely creative and generate new sources of revenue that do not eat their margin.
Guarantees and free maintenance are a popular sales incentive to sweeten the deal with a customer, but they have a real impact on cost structure and margin. Offering one year of free assistance, on the other hand, does not cause this side effect and is a valuable offer to someone who is going to be cycling to work every day. When looking at cycling brands, of which you have thousands to choose from, it does not look quite the same with insurance, as the range of choice is much more limited.
Qover is one of those unique companies that sells insurance both on online and offline channels, helping retailers to blur the lines between sales channels while making a smooth transition between them. Moreover, it enables a retailer to initiate a sale offline and let a customer finish it online or vice versa. Proposing insurance becomes inevitable and will turn into a competitive advantage for the retailer. By being able to sell it, you create customer delight, which in turn creates customer satisfaction and, in the long-term, customer retention.
You get the best of both worlds—but why? In the event of a stolen bike, for example, your customer will be more likely to come back to you, especially if the voucher is linked to your store, which is the case with Qover’s bike insurance. In addition to that, Qover can help you sell insurance across different European countries thanks to one simple API integration and technology that handles all of the associated complexities:
Loyalty goes hand in hand with customer retention, and according to the survey mentioned earlier, bike retailers do not invest in loyalty, which has a huge impact on customer lifetime value. Generally, you have three options to grow the bottom line of a business: increase the number of prospects, increase the number of transactions and/or increase the value of each transaction.
The latter is by far the easiest option. Not only do bike retailers earn a commission on every insurance contract that is sold, but Qover’s bike theft insurance, for example, also gives policyholders a voucher for a new bike in case of theft, which would double the revenue earned by a bike shop and ensure they have returning customers.
Next, it is important to make sure that the whole buying process is frictionless because it may cause customers to abandon their purchase and go somewhere else where it is easier to acquire the products. In the online world, 34% of shoppers state that the possibility of a one-click checkout increases their loyalty to a retailer. That is why Qover has created an easy, one-step checkout experience when adding insurance for an e-bike. Once the bike is added to the basket, only one click will be needed to add the insurance (theft or theft and damage). Some quick links and information buttons are available for extra content and information with regard to the insurance itself. Adding it to a basket therefore becomes a piece of cake:
In the event of an in-store purchase, that customer can purchase it directly at the counter. Or, if preferred, it can be purchased/activated later on—at home, for example—via an online coupon/code. The bottom line is, whichever channel a customer chooses, it can either be finalized on the spot or later on.
Don’t be evil
Unfortunately, retailers or shop owners are not insurance experts. The result is that some bike insurances offered to customers exclude theft at night, include extreme depreciation of the bike of up to 15%, and some premiums only cover damages while including a high franchise.
It goes without saying that this is not the way you build a sustainable relationship with a customer. The goal of offering insurance is to provide peace of mind and possibly remove any friction during the sales process of a new bike. An important aspect in that regard is being able to offer a seamless experience.
At Qover, we are able to integrate with third-party CRM systems, provide mobile onboarding flows or integrate seamlessly with a simple tick-the-box solution at checkout. All of this combined results in an extremely high conversion rate of insurances sold during a bike purchase.
If executed well, insurance can be one of the most valuable tools of any bike retailer. On top of generating additional revenue for the retailer, it increases loyalty, customer lifetime value, and adds extra value to the customer experience.
To maintain low costs and limit time to market, it is important to have a plug-and-play solution that can be integrated into any shop. An insurance provider that is able to provide a Pan-European cover and roll-out will also give you the benefit of scale and decrease the acquisition cost.
A good example is Cowboy’s insurance program, which is 100% integrated into the purchase flow of the bike as well as in their app. It includes no depreciation of the bike and no excess for damages above a certain amount.
We are here to help you make e-bike insurance easy and seamless. If your organization focuses on customer experience and wants to provide real customer value, let’s connect. You’ll quickly see why we have a 94% customer satisfaction rate!