A changing market-place, innovation, brands and digital technology are challenges faced by all distributors.
2pure, a full service distribution business focused on the cycle trade and active lifestyle market, based in Balerno, Edinburgh, was founded in 2006.
Over the years they have held true to their core values of simplicity, be honest be brave, accept there are no boundaries, strive to build close relationships and create a fun and responsible way of doing business.
George Bowie, 2pure’s managing director, believes that while times have changed and the way of doing business has evolved the company is still following the same path it did when they began.
He said: “To be fair our vision plan is still true today. We have had to develop our skills within the business to make the changes we felt would be needed as the industry adapted to the internet, online shopping and consolidation.
“We are still focused on “adding value in every interaction”, however, how we provide that has changed. B2B, online marketing and our internal IT systems play a big part now. It is more important that as a business we help develop new categories for the retailers to offer to their customers. We provide more tools for the dealer to engage with their customers and help the dealers sell more product to their customers.
“Maintaining a value proposition is important, however, value doesn’t mean cheap. We strive to help the retailer charge more for a product in a category, however, that can only be done if the product offers the consumer performance benefits. People are even more important today than in 2006, culture and passion must be at the core of our business, we need to be authentic, our customers and consumers expect that from a supplier and brand.”
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for 2pure in their attempts to grow their business. They have suffered setbacks before they achieved the success they have today.
And they still have challenges ahead following the financial fluctuations following the Brexit vote to leave the European Union last year.
George added: “We started with some quality brands, performed well as a full-service distributor, which requires the ability to sell, market, build brands, offer aftermarket service and collaboration with our brands.
“The biggest risk a distributor faces is losing a brand, we lost two key brands in 2013 which accounted for 40 per cent of our revenue at the time. Not pleasant, hard to recover from, but we stayed true to our strategy which has helped us attract new brands and we moved into new market segments such as Outdoors, Running, Sports.
“Currency always affects financial performance and 2016 challenged the market and our business. Currency was less visible in the past as prices just moved to suit, now however, the consumer has visibility to Global and retailers across the world are selling into every country. This is when currency becomes a sales driver and pricing is sensitive.
“We have been fortunate to have supportive brands who understand the role we play and together we work on plans that help drive sales and build their brands.”
There have been many changes in the market over the years and none more so than in the technology and innovations in cycles. Which can present it’s own problems.
George added: “At the highend cycling is always evolving, sometimes too fast, take the 29inch MTB or the 650B MTB, we confused the consumer and stalled sales for the industry while the consumer waited to see what the market settled on. Technology is evolving, GPS, indoor trainers, power meters, carbon technology all this has played a part to keep the market stimulated over the past ten years.
“Right now, we are seeing E-bikes gaining traction. They are being developed for the road, mountain bike and for commuting. As they become more affordable, sales will increase. This should increase the market opportunity rather than just erode sales.
“What the trends will be over the next 12 months is hard to say but mountain E-bikes are looking like the next big trend.”
The consumer is always looking for the next big thing and trends in buying are constantly changing. And the web, once again, is playing it’s part in the marketplace.
George added: “When Mountain Bike was the driving trend, the consumer was an avid spender, they had lots to choose from and were constantly upgrading or repairing their bikes. The road scene came along and the customer bought a road bike, the enthusiast upgraded their bike, then they bought some clothing, pedals and shoes. The upgrades were limited and expensive, maybe a GPS, carbon wheels or a power meter. But there is a limited number of accessories needed for the activity.
“The main influence though has been the internet, the consumer can research their product in their own time without the need to go to a retailer and if they so desire, can just order online. This has created opportunities for consumer direct brands which are disrupting the industry.”