In honor of National Bike Month this May, we’re excited to feature some of the leading brands in the industry to discuss how they have solved challenges posed over the last two years, how they meet current shopper demands, and their focuses for the year ahead.
We sat down with Anthony Sharpe, Head of DTC, e-commerce at United Wheels, to learn more:
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced recently?
Our DTC e-commerce business is relatively new here at United Wheels. Although Huffy bicycles is a 130-year-old brand, we’ve only been engaged in the vertical DTC business for about 3 years, and our Buzz e-bike brand is also only a few years old. So our customers have a high awareness of our brand but low awareness of our DTC e-commerce channel. And at the same time, there’s a significant opportunity because e-bikes are the hottest category at the moment, with +100% YOY industry gains for this segment.
Due to the awareness challenge, we set out to employ as many touchpoints as possible for people to engage with us in a short period, including paid search, paid and organic social media, email and SMS marketing, blog editorial, and in-person events. We also partnered with social media micro-influencers and continued our marquee sponsorship with rising Nascar driver, Chase Briscoe.
What new technologies/channels are you leveraging to reach new consumers?
We onboarded quite a few new technology solutions to reach new customers over the past year, including Klarna. We also launched Attentive mobile SMS marketing as an opt-in option on our site in conjunction with email opt-in via a pop-up, and have seen our CRM file double in just a short period of 6 months. Combined with a welcome offer, we see this type of engagement contributes to over a third of our sales funnel.
What successes have you seen thus far using Klarna?
Our customers are utilizing Klarna for larger purchases, which has really helped with increasing overall AOV and the conversion rate of higher ticket items once in the cart. Having no-interest pay-in-4 options and low-interest long-term financing reduces the friction and pain points around these larger AOV purchases (like e-bikes and higher-end beach cruisers and mountain bikes).
How has in-store or on-site messaging helped connect with consumers?
We’ve utilized both on-site and email/SMS messaging to consistently reinforce our partnership with Klarna. Knowing millions of customers already have the Klarna app and engage with it weekly, and being part of an ecosystem with a well-known and trusted pay-over-time brand, gives our customers confidence in making a purchase and reduces friction at checkout.
What are you focused on most for the year ahead?
This year we are looking to scale our business aggressively and invest in other forms of media such as OLV (online video) and CTV (connected TV). With so many consumers today cutting the cord and focusing on streaming video content, increasing awareness through these emerging channels is essential.
We also focus on engaging with our consumers via social media and growing our presence through paid posts, influencer partnerships, user-generated content, and compelling organic content through our agency partnerships. And watch this space, because we are planning to launch a new DTC e-commerce website with our Royce Union bicycle brand later this year!