Wiggle Warehouse Clearance Sale

Wiggle is moving – Get Ready for Warehouse Sales

In perspective, on a global scale of industry the cycling industry is very small. But the biggest retailer in this very small market needs a lot of space. Wiggle are moving from an 85,000 foot warehouse (with 2 million items) in Portsmouth to a 323,000 foot facility near Wolverhampton in the Midlands, a three hour drive from London.

The move was announced last year, and now the warehouse sales are starting with their latest campaign promoting up to 50% off.

You know the online sales where a product retails for 30% less than the stated RRP, then during sale time there is a 30% discount… off the RRP, so you are paying the same price. It is hard to spot the real sales, sure there are some run-out products but the run of the mill accessories don’t drop dramatically in price.

Well this should be different. Wiggle are moving and any business would prefer to sell their stock and get new stock delivered to the new location rather than ship the lot.


Genuine Savings Predicted at Wiggle

For the warehouse clearance, I expect to see a more great value sales and significant savings. But it could also be a mixed bag with plenty of hard to sell gear that they simply want to sell going for dumping prices.

And a question on small verses big items. Big items are more costly to ship, while small items are fiddly, so will Wiggle try to clear out more of the big and bulky gear, or free up space with the smaller bike accessories and gear.

There are over 5,000 products listed, but do expect some running, swimming and triathlon gear as well as cycling gear.


How do you spot the genuine sale items? 

That is the hardest question of all as it is likely that some items which fail to clear will get further price drops. The best approach is to keep your eyes open. One tip is to use the Smart Cyclist price comparison if you know what you want, type in the items and quickly check the current price. Alternatively, visit Wiggle, to pick up a bargin where you need a bit creativity and luck.

But the best tip of all if you are anywhere near Portsmouth, keep your eyes and ears peeled for warehouse direct sales. It won’t help online shoppers but experienced suggests that for any leftover stock that they simply have to clear, there will be a lot of happy locals.




Wiggle Gold Loyalty

All you have to do is spend money

The Wiggle Gold Loyalty Program came up in October, it was nice to be informed that I am a valued customer and a Gold Member… whatever that means. I assumed it meant deals of some sort although generally am only interested in gear I need, rather than impulse buying anything on special.

The bizarre… even confronting news is that I have to spend $150 to remain a member. After making the grade, and not even really knowing the benefit or criteria for eligibility, I have to buy something, I have to spend money to retain the Gold status.

What is it all about – lets take a look at the Wiggle Loyalty Rewards Page (UK version).

What is the eligibility criteria?

  • Gold Customers have spent over £100 in the last 365 days

  • Platinum Customers have spent over £500 in the last 365 days

The average online purchase is less than £100 however it making two purchases a year totalling £100 is realistic, a couple of tyres and inner tubes will hit the mark so achieving Gold status is relatively easy.

Platinum is harder to acheive – buying a complete bike, a wheelset or generally spendig a lot of bike gear will get you there.

What are the benefits?

Gold Customers receive an exclusive 5% discount off the list price of all products that have not already been discounted. They also exclusively receive a 5% discount off the list price of all products including all bikes and frames. These discounts are not available to standard customers. Gift vouchers and memberships are not included.

And Platinum get 12%… which is remarkable saving… except it applies to the list price. Let’s release the cynic and ask which products in Wiggle are discounted and which products in Wiggle retail for the ‘list price’?

The common theme for the online retailers is to have discounts of the RRP (Recommended Retail Price) and during sale time, the discount applies to the RRP – meaning you pay the same price… sale or not. A sale just looks better.

So does is this 12% saving for Platinium and 5% for Gold members a genuine saving possibility, or will I be ineligible? The Terms and Conditions explain:

The Gold and Platinum prices are applied to the list price of a product. If that product is already discounted below the Gold / Platinum price, you won’t receive any additional discount

For now, this isn’t transparent and doesn’t warrant spending $150 on something I don’t need just to be part of a member program where I probably get greater savings on the list price anyway because it has a sale price. Wiggle are a pretty good online retailer and while this incentive looks good at face value, it appears to missing real value.


Look out for End-Of-Season specials on Bikes and Gear

Many of the big brands have already announced their 2015 bikes or cycling gear and products. You will even find some bike shops stocking next years gear. The fact is, new is sexy and for some strange reason, next seasons gear or next years gear always looks better.

The other fact is, most of us are not performance cyclists and the one percent saving will make zero percent difference (just don’t tell the marketing departments). The real effect is that often last season’s bike or gear may be substantially reduced and you could save hundreds of Dollars, Pounds or Euros for a bike which is almost the same as next years model.

Some brands are trying to buck the trend by removing the ‘year’ and ignoring seasons as a bike model generally has a life span exceeding one year. Often after a few seasons (and a few paint jobs and accessory changes later), a top model bike may be relegated and replaced, but still remains in the program as it was a good bike.

Bike shops need to clear their floor stock and/or warehouse stock for the new gear so you need to keep your eye open from between October and February, more specific time-frames will depend upon your country’s sale trends as well as the individual brands time frames for supply. Don’t be afraid to ask “when do you expect the new bikes in?”

Online retailers however may have different cycles when it comes to new season gear. Local bike shops are often first inline and online retailers are second-in-line as they are the ‘clearing houses’. This means that online retailers may get new season stock much later however once again, it depends upon the brands and their relationship with the retailer.

The bottom line

If you chose last year’s bike or gear, the chances are that the savings you make over the new year and new season equipment are far great than the difference in performance benefit. Of course there may be differences and the new gear is new – so if you want New and can afford New, go for it.

Three reasons why your Local Bike Shop can’t compete with Online

For established bricks and mortar bike shops, the internet boom has come as a shock, many were not prepared, didn’t understand and wouldn’t adapt to the changing market.

Yes, PRICE is the obvious one. Chain Reaction Cycles, the worlds’ biggest online bike shop and Wiggle (a close second) don’t have the same overheads and the big ones use their bulk buying power to get their price down.

Product RANGE is hard to compete with. Local bike shops are locked into specific brands and it simply isn’t economical to stock everything so availability is an added factor. And of course, if one online shop doesn’t stock the item you are after, or it is out of stock, the next online bike shop is just a few clicks aware, not miles away.

The next reason is SPEED. Obviously you get immediate satisfaction visiting your local bike shop and buying something directly from the shop floor – but what if they don’t have it. The speed it usually takes for the distributer to deliver to the bike shop, then adding in your extra travel time makes it inconvenient.

Next up, three reasons why your local bike shop is better than the online shop.


When the price of that new bike too good to be true?

Imagine saving $2000 off brand new bike that is every other bike shop sells for $5000. What about a lovely Italian Pinarello or a firey Scott road bike, instead of 8K, you have spotted it online for 3.5K, less than half of the going price.

Though you have never heard of the online shop before, it looks professional and they have all of the top brands… all at heavily discounted prices. Lets have a closer look.

Have you ever seen a bike shop (online or physical) with such a wide range, brands which are usally never sold side by side in the same bike shop? Colnago’s next to Pinarello’s. Scotts next to Specialized and BMC’s.

This is one of the first signs to slow down because it is probably too good to be true.

The next tell-tale sign is that payment with Western Union is preferred – or a bank transfer.

Scammers can set up multiple online shops, each with a different design but all with unrealistic prices on brand name bikes and cycling gear to bait unsuspecting bargin hunters. If they can lure you in and convince you to pay then you have lost. As opposed to credit card or paypal payments which have an element of security and customer protection, Western Union and bank transfers don’t have these safety mechanisms making it impossible or extremely unlikely of ever getting your money back.

Yes, it can be hard to tell, the scam sites rip content and images from genuine shop but two easy steps can help get clarity. The first is google and searching for different combinations with the bike shop name and Web Address (URL) to see if customers have shared experiences or if there is any 3rd party information about them.

The second is to ask about the reputation of the online bike shop in forums. If no one has ever heard of the shop, be cautious. If you discover reports of scams and lost money, then avoid.

Sticking with the big name bike shops provides security but does make it tough for the new and smaller bike shops to compete for your business – however the chances are that even the new online bike shops and the small online bike shops have more realistic pricing and accept common and secure payment methods.

One in a while you will spot fantastic deals on bikes or parts, but if they are too good to be true, take care to protect yourself.

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.

How do online bike shops sell the same products for less?

When the online sales boom started, one of the biggest effects was the online businesses could significantly reduce the traditional overheads; high street’ retail premises, skilled floor staff and many of the costs involved in running a bricks and mortar business. When bicycle parts and accessories have mark-ups up to 100% (of the wholesale purchase price), eliminating the expensive shop costs has a big impact on profit margins.

Selling online is cut-throat and in Feburary 2013 Wiggle posted a 2012 turnover of 140 million pounds. But after costs and overheads the retained profits were just under 9 million pounds. The constant  discounting by online shops means that they are reaping obscene fortunes.

But big online bike shops have a few tricks up their sleeves to remain competitive and consistently undercut smaller shops on price. The approach will vary from shop to shop, but here are a few in brief:

• Bulk Buying: large volume purchases give big online retailers  power to negotiate on prices.

• Old Season Stock: brands with old and hard-to-sell stock can offload to online shops who buy cheaply and can quickly sell.

• OEM Equiptment: accessories that are officially purchased for assembly on complete bike, but are never assembled (or even disassembled) and then sold seperately.

• Grey Market Sales: bikes, parts and accessories which are purchased via unofficial agents or routes. Also making wavailable to customers in countries that are otherwise served by official distribution partners and dealers.

• Tax Breaks: Online shops may locate to countries, regions or districts with low taxes and exemptions.

• Wheeling and Dealing: using loopholes, unsanctioned or even dubious channels to acquire cheap stock.

Some brands actively try to manage their distribution, and explains why they are hard to find with the big name shops, but many have traditional distribution agreements which fuel price discrepencies between distributers and online retailers.