Wiggle World's Biggest Bike Shop

Phew, Wiggle confirms that it is the Number One bike Shop

On the last blog post, we asked whether Chain Reaction Cycles had returned back to the top place as the worlds number one bike shop after their 2014 turnover was released and the term largest bike store used by media as well as themself. 

You never doubted that Wiggle would lose their lead, and their financial data is out – according to Bicycle Retailer (US trade publication), Wiggle has £179 million in sales in 2014 compared with £153 million for Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC). The most important metric is turnover, so Wiggle retains the claim of being the world’s biggest bike shop.

We reported that Wiggle list 12,000 products which is based on their inventory which is available to Smart Cyclist. This is just a fraction of the 66,000 products from CRC. Bicycle Retailer however reports that Wiggle have 50,000 SKUs – which are Stock Keeping Units, but again this doesn’t provide enough information to accurately use and compare because of product variations such as colour and size. For example, if Wiggle have 12,000 products and with variations there are 50,000 units, CRC have 66,000 products – but are these the ‘units’ and variations or are there four times the number of SKUs? This is not clarified.

While information for public release is generally carefully considered, and thus tends to be scarce, the report does however provide insights into sales in different territories.

…sales were up 26 percent in the U.K. and 20 percent in Europe over the period, but down 13.1 percent in the rest of the world.

Certainly currency exchange has a role, but also competition from the growing number of online retailers now servicing local markets (who can be competitive and offer even faster delivery).

What is interesting is the growth, CRC had 6% growth while Wiggle recorded 12% growth which is certainly a reflection on their continuing commitment to brand promotion and awareness.

Online Shopping: Is the price you see, the price you pay?

The biggest motivation for shopping online is is price savings compared with buying in a local bike shop.  But it is annoying when you end up paying more than you expect, even if it is just a few dollars.

This is specific to overseas purchases, here is a brief overview of some of the common things that may affect the price – each shop will be different, the better ones ensure that price discrepancies are minimal:

• In Store Currency Conversion – online bike shops who serve an international audience often show prices in different currencies such as US Dollars, British Pound, Euro, Yen, Australian Dollars, etc.  However sometimes are converted on the fly with payment actually billed in one currency and customers have additional currency conversion fees and potentially a poorer ‘day rate’.

• Currency Conversion on Payment – Similar to the above although specifically for additional fees with your bank (or paypal) for making overseas payments.

• Overseas Payment Fees – Some banks charge a premium or fees for overseas payments, even if there is no currency conversion.

• Customs Duty -Depending on trade agreements between your country and the ‘origin’ country, customs duty may be levied before your goods are released. Some countries such as Australia have a minimum order threshold with orders under $1000 (AUD) in value exempt.

• Logistics Surcharges:  Watch out as some shipping companies such as UPS impose additional charges ‘local clearing fees’ – while they are not genuine (eligible) charges and shouldn’t be charges, often customers don’t question these and pay.

• Taxes – This is in two parts, often you will be exempt from paying the value added tax in the origin country for items purchase overseas. Some shops may automate this however with others you may have to claim – which can prove complex. The other component is added local taxes that may be levied when you import.

N.b. do your research and know if there are tax and customs duty exemptions which may affect how your ordered is declared at customs (to avoid time consuming manual claims).

• Incorrect Pricing – Numerous factors including human error can influence the display price – whether you are eligible for the price you were presented depends on the local consumer protection laws (where the shop is based), the shops willingness to resolve and your willingness to pursue.