Whether young, old or somewhere in between, bikes appeal to almost everyone. From mountain biking to BMX, joy rides to simply wanting to be environmentally friendly, people use bikes for a variety of reasons. If you have a passion for life on two wheels, selling a bike online to all of these consumers can be a great way to mix your know-how with a money-making venture.
Starting an online business allows you to flex your entrepreneurial spirit while taking advantage of all the internet has to offer.
With 96 percent of Americans shopping online these days, not having a web-based bike shop might actually hurt your business. While selling bikes might not seem like something you can do through a website, if you tackle it with the right mindset, it can be a profitable undertaking.
Whether you already have a physical brick-and-mortar store and need a way to increase sales or are just getting started with a new business, take the following tips for selling a bike online and apply them to your website.
Planning for an ecommerce business
Much like any online store, there are several things to consider before starting your build. The internet gives you access to a much larger audience than a physical store does, but it also allows for more competition. While selling a bike from your shop limits you to those in the area, there is also a smaller chance that another store will open right next door.
When you take your business online, the search results show your ecommerce site right next to all of your competitors.
Knowing this, it’s important to plan appropriately for the internet landscape.
-- Take the time to research your competitors, and build your pricing profile and product inventory around what’s competitive and what’s missing in the online marketplace.
-- Then, figure out what you will offer in terms of shipping and returns.
-- Finally, look into which security measures are necessary to include on your site to protect customer information (SSL certificates, HTTPS protocol, etc.).
Once you have the basics covered for opening an online store, it’s time to think about how to specifically sell a bike online.
Tips for selling a bike online
Since shoppers might be used to trying bikes out before buying, selling bicycles online can pose some unique challenges. To be effective at convincing people to buy through your ecommerce site and not their local sporting goods store, you need to make their decision as easy as possible.
This can be done by following a few basic best practices.
Take high-quality product photos
For many bike shoppers, the look of the bike is almost as important as what it’s designed to do. If they aren’t seeing it in person, the picture is all they have to go on. That means you should post multiple photos from different angles and zoom in on the most important features and style elements.
All your pictures should be displayed in high-resolution so every detail is crisp and clear.
And don’t be afraid to spend some time editing your photos, as little tweaks can make them look professional (even if they weren’t professionally taken). For additional suggestions on how to set up the shots and what to pay attention to when snapping your photos, review these tips for creating quality images.
Write accurate and engaging product descriptions
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but an image can’t necessarily explain all of the product specifics. How many gears does the bike have? Is it designed for mountain biking or leisure rides? How big is it? Is the brand well-known and popular? These are all details customers will want to know. Be sure to highlight benefits and features in your web content.
Since you aren’t with them to give them the low-down on all the features and capabilities, your product descriptions have to answer all possible questions about what the bike can do and why it’s a good purchase.
This is especially important if you have a collection of used bikes that aren’t sold anymore, as your descriptions might be the only way the consumer can get to know the product. When crafting your bike descriptions, make sure you use clear and concise language and be as straightforward as possible. Bullet points are always a good idea since they’re easy to scan.
Pro tip: Consider possible search terms shoppers might use when looking for that type of product, and include them in the product title and throughout the descriptive text. If there is something really unique about the bike or if it has a feature that is exceptionally appealing to riding enthusiasts, make sure to highlight it near the beginning of the description.
Simplify your website build
Building an online store, no matter what you are selling, is slightly more complicated than creating a standard informational website. Fortunately, there are several tools available that make it much easier to incorporate all the special functionality an ecommerce site requires.
For example, if you have a WordPress site, the WooCommerce plugin can be integrated to allow for a variety of features — ranging from product pages, shopping carts, customer accounts, easy shipping options, inventory tracking and more. Just note that if you’re a non-technical, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved with launching a WordPress site.
Editor’s note: If you’re sold on using WordPress, check out WordPress Websites from GoDaddy. It even includes a Quick Start Wizard to make starting your online venture a breeze.
For those who are just starting out and don’t need WordPress, GoDaddy offers a simpler package: Online Store. It’s a complete solution for not only building an online store, but also integrating SEO, social media and email marketing. It includes everything you need for payments, shipping and easy mobile browsing.
Take advantage of online promotion
Building an online bike shop isn’t just about putting up a website and waiting for shoppers to come. You have to do a little bit of marketing to get people to your ecommerce store.
First, make sure your website is easy to use and structurally sound. Search engines weigh user experience and content quality heavily when setting rankings, so put useful, helpful copy on each page to allow users and search bots to understand who you are and what you are selling.
Next, take advantage of social media and email. Find biker groups on Facebook and start developing relationships with those who might need your services. Post promotions or sales on Twitter to encourage those considering buying a bike to move forward.
Then, send email coupons or newsletters to those leads to give them the extra boost they need to make a purchase. While you don’t want to be overwhelming or annoying, it’s important to get your name out there once your store is up so the right people can find it.
As with any ecommerce business, selling a bike online takes a commitment and a carefully thought-out strategy. Put special consideration into how you present your products and what your competitors are doing that you could do better. If you take advantage of all the online tools you have at your disposal, you can build an ecommerce store that’s the perfect avenue for selling a bike online.