Hey there Sea Changers and welcome back. Today I wanted to talk with you on the subject of how to sell bikes online. Now usually I come across my content via research and checking the figures to see what people are looking for and what help they need. For today’s subject however, the inspiration is a little closer to home. You see my sister has just taken up mountain biking and as she lives in a rural area, did all of her purchases online. She complained that she had trouble researching what to buy as a newbie and BOOM – a post idea was born…
So whether you call them bikes, bicycles or as we used to call them as kids… pushies, there are a large range of options to cover within this niche. We will investigate this in detail below however there is certainly some argument to incorporate all things bike into one site or break it down into a sub niche (such as mountain biking to use our example above). So without further delay and carry on, let’s check it all out…
How do we get started?
As usual, before we get started, let’s just confirm whether there really is a market for this online. Based on my initial research and the online purchase behaviors of those Lycra clad people I know, I am confident that there is. However I would hate to convince anybody to start their own online bike business and have it fall away due to lack of interest. So as usual, let’s see what people are searching for:
What are people looking for?
To start let’s just confirm our market numbers:
1. Number of monthly searches
As we are looking to see if there is an interest in the purchase of bicycle related goods and services online (so we can sell them), let’s start by checking for purchase related searches. You will need to find yourself a good keyword tool (I use Jaaxy) and enter in the keywords that best describe your market. In this case, let’s start with the basics:
Ok, that’s pretty good – over 55000 searches per month – and we can start to get a few niche ideas there as well with bike accessories and road bike reviews looking to be popular. Let’s break it down a little:
Another good result… Over 3000 searches per month looking to purchase cheap bikes online. I often like to do a search for ‘cheap’ or ‘budget’ as that is often why people shop online. We can also see a few more ideas to write about as well with searches for kids bikes popular here. Let’s see what we get with a more specific search:
Whoa – to be honest I didn’t see it being that many – but a great option if you wanted to cover just this area within your online business – oh, and I didn’t even know you could get an electric mountain bike…
2. Search Trends
Another important aspect of online sales and niche selection is to check that interest is maintained over time. To gain an insight into this let’s check out how the searches for a few of our bike related products are trending online.
Ok, so right off the back, interest in kids and road bikes is obviously high – and much higher than mountain bikes (which still gets over 28000 searches per month). We can also see:
- Interest in this niche has not reduced over the past 5 years – meaning that it is an evergreen niche.
- There are minor spikes in interest during the year – although this should not be unexpected due to holiday season and school holiday shopping habits.
All in all, I really see a good opportunity here.
What is our niche?
Ok, now the fun part begins – In the stats and screen dumps above, we can already see some of the interest in different niches within the online bike market. The decision you have now is to determine whether you wish to create your online business covering bikes in general or concentrate on a specific area or sub niche. There are a good number of different areas you could explore here – and off the top of my head, some examples include:
- Road bikes
- Mountain bikes
- Kids bikes
- Budget bikes
- Family bikes
- Electric bikes
- Bike accessories
- High end /professional use bikes
- Bike tours
- Bike rentals
- Cycling tips and tricks
And that is just a few – all of which can be marketed from the point of view of the writer, or simply as a means of supplying information to those looking to purchase. I also see an opportunity for some high ticket item sales here as well if you consider the price of the top end road and mountain bikes out there. As you start to think about this, the question to ask yourself is whether the content you are covering is too large to cover effectively. The risk here is that if you start with a niche that is too broad, you may not be able to cover everything to the level required or to become authority on the subject – which you will need to be if you are going to convince people to purchase from you and not their local store. Don’t forget, you can always add a new section to your site as you grow as well.
As you work through narrowing your targeted niche, consider the following:
- Are you able to solve a problem – Most people undertake searches on the internet to solve a problem – see next section.
- Is it a subject that you have an interest, or knowledge in– I am guessing that you are in this post as you know about, or have an interest in bikes or cycling. If you don’t have either of these, maybe consider another market as, to be honest, you might struggle to produce solid content if you don’t know much about them – or worse, have no interest in them. Trust me, people will know immediately if your information is not up to scratch or even worse, can put the safety of themselves or their family at risk.
Let’s investigate this a little further by discussing the problem solving elements of niche selection.
What problem are we solving?
If this is a niche that you are interested in, you may already know what it is that you are trying to sell. If not, then maybe start to look at it from the perspective of solving problems. This, added to your area of interest is a great way to work out exactly what you think you might like to base your business upon.
Think about your own search behaviours when you are online – I would hazard a guess that most searches you do are in order to solve a problem. Now think of these in a manner in which someone might have problems within the greater bicycle niche such as:
- You know what you want to buy a new bike for your son’s birthday but don’t know which is the most suitable for his age.
- You have a problem and need a solution – I.e. “I need some lights to ride my bike at night but don’t want to pay a fortune”.
Your goal here is to determine just what problem/s you are trying to solve for your readers. This maybe one problem that spans your site or differ for each post that you write. For example, if you have chosen mountain biking for your niche, then problems might be:
- Matching products to age – They want to know what the best bike brands are for children to use on dirt tracks – you would outline these with recommended products to match.
- Which to buy – There are a number of competition level bikes available – but which is best?
In these cases, people would be searching for those topics based on having a problem and needing a solution. Your site would outline and review the best options for them.
Alternatively, if your site is about using bikes to commute to work and back, then you would be addressing problems such as:
- What bikes are best?
- What accessories are needed?
- Should you consider an electric model?
- Riding to different conditions.
- Road riding techniques.
- Daytime storage options etc.
Note: You do not need to identify every possible problem that your readers may have straight away. In many cases, the more you write, the more ‘problems’ will present themselves so initially you really just want to make sure that there are some that may need solving as we have found here.
How are you going to convince them to buy?
Now that we know our niche (or are at least working on it) and have an idea of the types of problems that we want to solve, there is one last thing to consider. We already know that people will spend money online when it comes to bikes so the last thing to consider is the online purchase behaviour of your targeted audience.
Say for example you are looking to help my sister out by setting up a site covering all things mountain bikes. The first thing you would need to consider is exactly who will be looking at your site. The first group that comes to mind are the novices (like my sister) who have recently taken it up as a sport/hobby but have no idea what they need. But what about families? Oh, and don’t forget the seasoned mountain bikers who spend their weekends eating, drinking and riding. Your sales/post pitches not only need to match the needs and problems that your site visitors are looking to solve, but also target them specifically as well. Some examples include:
- Those that are new to the sport will want to know exactly what they are getting and why it is needed and as it is a new hobby, might be willing to spend a bit more. Families however might want the same information, but may be looking at some options a little gentler on the back pocket.
- Regardless of their financial need, those looking for advice and assistance will want to know that your information is sound and not going to put their riding adventure, safety or finances at risk.
- If you are dealing with frequent riders – Just make it as easy as possible to get from A to B – give them the information and let them get on with it.
So at the end of the day, even though we do have purchaser behaviour on our side, to be successful in selling bike related products online, consider the following:
- Solve problems without purchase – That’s right – write your posts in a way that actually makes it easier for people to do their research and buy elsewhere – by doing this, you are solving problems and helping readers out. If they trust you, they will be more likely to return next time and buy from you then – especially if you follow up with posts on similar or compatible products that might interest them!
- Provide the intangibles – One major disadvantage when it comes to selling anything online is that we can’t really know what the products look and feel like. And the same goes for terminology – after all, even harmless words such as ‘fun’ can mean different things to different people. Your posts will need to cover this information in a manner that puts minds at ease and explains some of the intangibles. A good picture of a happy family riding the bikes you are promoting will go a long way here too.
- Know your audience – A big mistake many make here is to target the product and not necessarily the buyer. This is especially important when dealing with a budget minded audience. It is very easy for example to get carried away explaining how great a bike is because it is cheap all the while forgetting that those intending to use it to commute to work will probably not want something that is going to fall apart after 6 months. The same goes for high end options… Expensive doesn’t always mean safe or appropriate. Make sure you do your research on the buying behaviours of those you are targeting before writing your posts.
Tip: Still not sure? Have a look and see what others are doing. It might just help you with some ideas.
Click on the button below to access my Jump Start Training and you too can start your very own online business!!
How do we sell bikes online?
Ok, now we come to probably the most important aspect of this whole online selling caper in that we need to consider how we are going to sell products we have decided to promote. Depending on the product, there are a number of methods you can use to do this. Let’s explore them below:
Affiliate programs are setup directly by companies or marketplace platforms (Amazon, Ebay etc.) that allow you to join and then refer traffic to them via customised affiliate links. In short, this means that you will write about all things bikes and then refer your readers to a link where they will purchase directly from the vendors. The vendors then pay you a commission for the sale.
Affiliate programs are especially good for those selling bikes and their accessories online as they are usually quite large in size. This way you can promote items and then refer them to the vendor to manage the sale without you having to hold inventory or organise shipping.
Finding affiliate programs is generally not a difficult task either. To locate them, you would normally just type “Affiliate: bike” into your preferred search engine:
Should you however wish to narrow your field of focus down a little, let’s look at a different option:
So, as you can see, there are plenty of options in regards to affiliate programs for bike related niches. As you search through them all, you can check it all out and find programs that:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have quality products – your brand can be severely damaged if you promote poor quality or unsafe products.
- Have solid payment and customer service arrangements.
- Pay decent commissions.
- Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.
- Whether they have high ticket items you can promote on the side.
In most cases, you will need to apply for the program before you are allowed to promote their products – don’t take this step lightly or you will be rejected. Affiliate programs will generally want to know:
- Your website name.
- Traffic levels.
- Why you want to join – (so I can make money by selling your pushies is unfortunately not generally a good enough answer).
- How you plan to promote their products.
One thing to be aware of here I guess is to keep in mind the issues we discussed earlier in regards to selling bike related products online. You need to make sure that the programs you choose can be trusted and that the consumer is comfortable that they have recourse if something goes wrong. For this reason you will need to make sure that your chosen programs are going to resonate with your readers and your niche. That said, some marketplace programs such as Amazon and EBay can give you access to these types of products and as they are more trusted, then they maybe worth a look for sure. Some Amazon examples are as below:
Dropshipping is something that may be of advantage to you in this niche if you are working with larger items such as bikes, racks, trainers etc. This process is similar to affiliate marketing in that you are generally promoting the products of others without the need to actually hold any inventory. With affiliate marketing, you are paid a commission on whatever price the vendor sets but do not manage any customer service, sales processes or post sales requirements. The main difference with dropshipping, is that you perform the following (there are a number of variations to this but this is the guist of it):
- Strike a relationship with a wholesaler.
- Promote the product for whatever price you see fit – often via a marketplace site such as Shopify, Amazon or Ebay.
- Manage the sales processes and customer service.
- Send the final order and payment to the wholesaler for packaging and shipping.
The money that you make is effectively the difference between whatever you managed to sell the product for and the wholesale price that you owe the vendor. The other advantages of dropshipping over affiliate marketing is that:
- You own the customer list – which is another means of building an effective email list.
- You control the cost of the product and hence the profit margins.
- You can control when you put things on ‘sale’, group them in packages or increase the price for high demand items.
The disadvantages however are the extra workload in handling payment and any ongoing customer service requirements.
To find dropshipping suppliers online, you can enter searches such as “dropshipping: bike” into your favourite search engine:
Note: These results will usually be based on your geographical location.
From here you can search through and find programs that:
- Offer dropshipping services – Not all product suppliers offer dropshipping as a service – this may just mean that you need to organise the shipping yourself after it is delivered to you.
- Have experience and are helpful – If they are not helpful and/or appear inexperienced then you can expect the same when you are trying to process sales.
- Have acceptable fees – most dropshipping wholesalers will charge a small fee for the dropshipping service – just make sure it is not so high that it eats into your profit margins.
- Provide fast shipping – One disadvantage with dropshipping when dealing with vendors is that the customer is yours, not theirs hence sometimes shipping priorities are not where they should be – make sure shipping times are acceptable.
- Have quality products – as with affiliate marketing, don’t sell rubbish.
- Have a good name – do your research and see what others are saying about them.
Sell your own
If affiliate marketing or dropshipping are not your cup of tea, maybe you could try sourcing and selling your own equipment. This process is especially popular with those selling smaller equipment (accessories such as helmets, tools, parts etc.) or customised bikes etc. Here you actually purchase your product from a vendor or wholesaler, add your own label and then on-sell them via your website or platforms such as Amazon etc.
This process requires a much higher setup costs as you will need to purchase your products, create and affix your labels and manage orders and shipment. Some wholesalers/vendors however will affix the labels that you send them and then manage the packaging and shipment for you (see dropshipping above). This will cost you less to set up but obviously you will make less on the sale once they take their processing fee.
Again, to find out where to acquire your product, do a search for “supplier: bike”:
Note: These results will usually be based on your geographical location so you may at times need to sort through a few pages.
From here you will need to follow the same processes as with affiliate and dropshipping programs in determining whether they are a good fit for your business plans including:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have solid delivery and customer service arrangements.
- Have good testimonials covering service and quality of product.
Alternatively, keep your eye out in your local area for exhibitions and swap meets. These are a great way to find and purchase your products at good prices – you never know, you might even find a solid supplier for future sales as well.
Tip: This method can be very effective in driving online traffic and sales via the implementation of more traditional sales methods such as kiosks and market stalls etc. As people get to know you, they can purchase from you there and then be directed to your website for future sales.
What do we need to do?
Ok, so now that we have an idea in regards to our niche and know some of the problems that we can investigate, we need to choose and setup the media that we intend to use to sell our product. This can include:
Build a Website
If you are looking to build your online business as an affiliate marketer, drop shipper or supplier, then chances are you will most probably need a website. Websites allow you to solve problems via blog posts and videos that people can view in order to identify the solutions that they need. Usually, this process is fairly straight forward in that you build your website, write posts (on the differences between certain types of gear derailleurs for example), then provide links so that your readers can view/purchase the relevant materials from your links.
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Promote on Social Media
When it comes to push-bikes, there is probably no more powerful tool than Social media. It has the power to reach thousands and allows you to target specific segments if you choose the correct platform. In terms of bike related products online, a good platform to start with is FaceBook where you can discuss items with your audience, display bike tracks undertaken and show videos.
However, if you are looking to set yourself up as an expert within the niche, then Instagram and YouTube will be your absolute best friend – some even use these platforms without a website. These are great for visuals such as pictures and/or videos showing you discussing, fixing, servicing or riding bikes and so on. And, if you are able to build a following you may get noticed and be paid gazillions to ride and wear the right products within your videos – this takes time, but it does happen…
Join like-minded groups
Anther great tool when it comes to selling products online are social groups. By getting involved with these groups you can really get a great understanding as to what its members are struggling with, what information they seek and what products they are looking to buy. Below is an example of mountain bike related FaceBook groups:
Note: Many of these groups will not allow you to spruike or promote your sites directly, however if you can interact and demonstrate your knowledge then people will ask you directly for the information. At the very least, as above, it is a great way to get ideas and insight into what people in this area really want to know about and what they are buying online.
And there it is – How to make money selling bikes online. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
Do you want further assistance with any of the above or need help to build your own bike related website?
Are you looking for a comprehensive training platform that can give you step by step training, 24/7 support, tools to develop and host your very own website, ongoing assistance with SEO and social media and access to some of the best affiliate marketing minds on the planet, then click on the following link to read more about Wealthy Affiliate.
Until next time
Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price.