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Found 6 results

  1. Why Online? We kept on thinking, 'Why is nobody doing this in South Africa?' Like protective gear… and you know, you go to the store and you can't find anyone to speak to - it's rather frustrating. And guys are going overseas to CRC (Chain Reaction Cycles) to buy… and it's killing the whole industry... You're not seeing the events that you used to, or the riders.We put together a business strategy and marketing strategy for the year and we did a whole bunch of polls and a lot of investigation as well… And then we started chatting in the riding community, because I feel that with business, it's great to have something you love, but who says the other person is going to love it? So we started asking a lot of riders, 'what brands do you want to see in South Africa that aren't here, and why?' We got a lot of rider feedback… and we look for help in every aspect we can to make the business grow to help the sport. We got a lot of feedback and it was about three weeks of intense negotiations with Six Six One. Everybody's on the internet, it was the easiest choice to just go online. Nobody was doing what we were doing. Andrew Backstrom Andrew Backstrom // Image credit: Ewald Sadie Price and Availability Buying online is often much cheaper than at your LBS. Often times it's because the online shops are importing the products themselves, either as a distributor or by getting grey imports and cutting out the local distributors. Because the middle man is often cut out, it is easier to charge less than a LBS would. It's for reasons like this that manufacturers in particular give online shops a hard time with selling their products, and sometimes downright refuse to let them. But what's often mistaken is that online shops are cheaper to operate than LBS's because they don't have a store front and so have less overheads. This isn't always the case, though.Overheads may not be as high as an LBS, but it's not to say that costs are nill. Marketing and events are a huge part of Dial'd and just giving back to the sport in general. Events like The Night Harvest and sponsoring riders takes up a lot of time and money, so it is not only an online store, but an investor into gravity cycling in SA. We are in a year and a bit of operating, so cash flow is very tight and I monitor that heavily... We didn't want any form of loan... we put a lot of our own money into this business.Overheads are nice and low, we put a lot of money into the website and the developments of those things. The backend is really cool, it manages stock, it does all the sales. And obviously marketing budget and things like that, we do a lot of marketing, a lot of design work. And that's all in house. It was initially difficult convincing manufacturers to allow them to sell their products, but not for all the same reasons as other online shops. Once they managed to secure Six Six One (a protective gear company), their first goal was complete and other companies could see that they were capable, "We knew Six Six One…we knew the brand, we used it ourselves; that's kind of where it all started. If we could get Six Six One, the rest would follow," said Andrew. Because Dial'd holds the position of the only gravity oriented online shop in the country, they are in a very niche market, and based on that, did not have an issue with getting certain manufacturers' permission to sell their products after they had established themselves as a legitimate retailer. In fact, they have the distribution rights for many products and distribute to LBS's as well. It's not to say it was easy to begin, however, because concerning Six Six One: "companies have done it before in South Africa and have messed it up." That wasn't based on the online status of Dial'd, but because of past issues. "The only problem we've gotten is from locally based suppliers here in South Africa. They were like, 'No, our deal is, the other stores won't like it.' And they say, 'you can't provide the service.' We get at least three messages a week, via Facebook or Twitter or email saying, 'best service we've received in South Africa.' Andrew went on to say that no one is really doing the enduro, downhill or dirt jumping products in SA and so people look elsewhere for what they need. He said that the local distributors don't like to support online shops because online has the ability to list products that aren't actually in stock. Since Dial'd are the distributors of most of their products, they distribute to LBS's too, but, "It's a problem of convincing stores, like, 'hey, this is a growing market, invest more into it.'" We did a poll online just to ask questions, nothing related to us, it was just a poll running to riders: what type of riding do you do? We spoke to friends and they were like, 'you guys need to consider trail'. And we said, 'everybody's doing that'. They just didn't get the idea, it was so frustrating.So we ran the poll, and trail riding was 300-odd. The other disciplines were dirt jumping, all mountain, downhill and freeride. We showed our mates and they were like, 'Yeah but look, trail, you should be doing that.' And we said, 'add up the other ones' and they were like over 400. Nobody's competing for that 400. Eventually they got the idea. Service and Convenience Surprisingly, service is one of the main areas where some of the online guys want to excel. Not only with service to the customer, i.e. giving them the information and expertise they are after, but also after sales.Dial'd take a very hands-on approach to their customer service and even their involvement in the sport. "That is very key to me: relationships with our customers and with our suppliers… If something does go wrong with our customers then we can help them as soon as possible, instead of them just being a number… At the end of the day if you're just here to get a sale, where's the customer service gonna come from? Cause that costs money as well." There's also an issue of suppliers not believing that online shops can provide the necessary service to customers. "It's a toy we are selling here, no matter how old a person gets, you can't wait for a toy. So we respond to mails immediately," said Andrew. In terms of grey imports: "Ethically, we just can't do that… to me service is so important…we'll never do it." And that decision is based on the fact that the manufacturers or distributors in the country won't back up the product if anything goes wrong. Dial'd refers customers to LBS's that they have developed relationships with that they feel are competent enough to help with the actual work on the bike and also with service to the customer. Not only that, but Dial'd takes responsibility for the customer's treatment at the LBS, if something doesn't work out or if the service isn't up to scratch. Stores have their place - it's something we are looking heavily into: an idea of having a storefront. We can't just go 'we are only going to be online'. But this is a long term idea with much to consider. For the time being Dial'd Bikes is an online store focussing on gravity riding and working to promote gravity cycling in South Africa through sponsoring events and even riders. Dial'd Bikes: dialdbikes.co.za Part 1: CWC Part 2: Evo Bikes Part 4: Conclusion
  2. There is much debate surrounding the reasons for purchasing a bike online. But are they all justified? I spoke to some of the main players of South Africa's growing online shopping community to find out how they started, why they did so and what some problems they encountered. I also asked about some of the typical concerns that customers would usually worry about, such as after market servicing and grey imports. This is Part 3 with Andrew Backstrom of Dial'd Bikes. Click here to view the article
  3. Hi all, I had such great service from Dial'd Bikes. I was looking for some Krank'd shirts, and the shirt sizing on the site is way too small for me as I'm a really tall guy. I contacted Dial'd Bikes customer service and they got Krank'd to specially make my size. Obviously it took longer because of the special order, and there was a problem with the shirts and they had to go back initially because the Dial'd Bikes team didn't want to send it out, these things happen its just a fact of life, but they kept me up to speed the whole way. I received my order today and am one happy customer. They really went above and beyond with their customer service - I will definitely be shopping with them again in future.
  4. I am not the type to post when receiving good or bad service, but I am compelled to compliment to guys from Dial'd Bikes with the excellent service received from them so far. About two months ago I started to look for a replacement helmet for my son. He is 8 years old and does BMX and Downhill racing. I initially looked for a MX helmet, but my son does not like the D-link straps, and as such started to look for a bicycle specific full face helmet. I emailed the guys from Dial'd Bikes, and they responded that they are awaiting a shipment of 661 full face helmets. They also extended a pre-order special to me, even though the pre-order date has passed. Helmet was delivered, on all happy. Fast forward to the last weekend, and my son managed to scratch the visor on his new helmet in a post race track joyride.I emailed Dial'd Bikes for a replacement visor. Dial'd Bikes responded that they will only have stock in August, but that they will take a visor of a helmet in stock, and send me the link to purchase!!! Now, to me, this goes way beyond the call of duty that most shops will do. A big thank you to the guys from Dial'd Bikes!!!!
  5. CRC Warehouse, how far do you think the numbers go to? This is the reason that we look elsewhere, like to Chain Reaction Cycles, for our products. It's something that's being addressed as can be seen with Dial'd and to an extent, Evo. Naas from Evo brought in what he wanted. The demand came when people saw what he was bringing in. It seems like we as South Africans will often settle on getting what we can because we know that we will either not get what we want, or will have to wait a long time to get it. So when what we want finally comes around, we take it. I think this in particular made Naas really decide on going online, because the local bike shops weren't interested in his products, rather opting for the really popular best selling items. And that's great, not falling in with 'what's easy to sell'. CRC showroom. Can you imagine a wall like this in SA? That'd be worth waking up early on a Saturday morning to go drool over. But even with the big manufacturers, we don't see all of the bike models coming into the country, and if we do, it's in very small amounts. No surprises there, really, as SA is more catered to XC and road riders than anything else, so the specialised bikes will rarely come into the country because it's simply not worth the risk: you can't guarantee that all the stock will be sold, the market isn't big enough. Or so the distributors say.It's hard being in a country so far from all the major manufacturers and players in the market because we don't often get the products that we want, and so look elsewhere for them. The local online shops do counter this, at least partially. Dial'd caters for the gravity crowd, at least more so than anyone else. And that's sad. How long do we have to wait to get what we want? The SA cycling industry isn't just lycra and going uphill. I may have a bias otherwise, but I am not alone. It's a long time coming and the people who are in a position to make a change don't care to do it. That's why it's great to see people like Andrew at Dial'd taking that initiative to bring into the country what the vast majority may not be focussing on, but what there is still a demand for. On the other side of things, Chris and Naas made some great points about pricing. The local distributors have been hesitant to supply products to online retailers, based mostly around the fact that they believe online stores will drastically reduce the retail prices and that will of course upset the LBS's. To a large extent, this has been reduced - local distributors have been more relaxed, and will supply to online shops. But it still forced some shops to look elsewhere, like Europe in particular. That Evo Bikes can shop at an LBS in Europe and get better prices than from a local distributor is ridiculous. I understand the economy of scale and that, but how is that even possible? That local distributors don't want to supply legitimate online bike shops is hugely biased towards LBS's and in a large way puts more pressure on LBS's because they sell the locally distributed products at higher prices than people can get overseas. It's good to see that local distributors are joining the bandwagon, because - as Chris of CWC said - online isn't going anywhere. It's like wheel builders refusing to supply the first car makers with wheels. It's too much of a convenience to go anywhere, so distributors should really just make it easy on themselves. That the distributors refused the online guys service was a service in itself. It forced the online guys to also look elsewhere, and they found what they were looking for, and cheaper too. This, in turn, forced distributors to readjust their views and prices to accommodate what is undoubtedly a growing industry. Jenson USA warehouse. Also a no-joke powerhouse online shop. // Image credit: mtbr.com Distributors are hiding behind the idea that pure online cannot provide the backup service, but as you can see, Andrew from Dial'd easily can. And if that was the case then a whole lot of LBS's would not be receiving products because of their unsatisfactory service. It's a matter of priorities on the side of the shop and should be the same for the distributors. The industry should come first. We have become accustomed to the ease at which we can browse bicycle equipment. And we're not going to give it up. If we can have even more convenience, in that we don't have to wait a number of weeks for our package to arrive from overseas, then awesome. We're going to get used to that. It's a service in itself, the ability to not be constrained by opening hours. SA has its own legitimate online shops that are slowly but surely providing cyclists with what they want. It may be some time before we can compare with the likes of Chain Reaction Cycles or Jenson USA, but South African online bike stores are quickly growing to accommodate the real local market allowing people to not have to look overseas for their cycling needs. Part 1: CWCPart 2: Evo Bikes Part 3: Dial'd
  6. "There's always going to be an online site," says Chris of Chris Willemse Cycles. And this is true. The convenience of being able to browse bike components while doing other mundane things, like working, is too great to live without. Not to mention the fact that you don't have to settle with what your LBS has to offer, but can choose from a vastly greater selection of products. But one thing that South Africans will still struggle to get is the variety of products that Europe and the US have. Click here to view the article
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