BikeBiz meets Barry Scott, founder of the online marketplace Velomatch
This piece first appeared in the April issue of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
Can you give us a little overview of Velomatch?
Velomatch is a digital marketplace that acts as a highly qualified lead generator for retailers. We have long believed that the current buying model presents many friction and pain points for both consumers and retailers.
For consumers – how do you find, in one place, all the bikes available, what fits and who has it in stock? For retailers, as inventory expectations increase, how can they find highly qualified buyers for their bikes?
In other industries, consumers now demand and get personalized advice, a great customer experience and a world of choice at their fingertips. Why shouldn’t they expect the same when buying a bike? This is the customer need for which Velomatch was designed.
By decoupling consulting from selling, we can focus all of our efforts on consulting, and then work with top retailers to manage the selling and execution. By doing so, we deliver better results for buyers and retailers.
We work with both large and small retailers. For larger retailers, we offer a national audience, which is useful if you have a large inventory.
For smaller retailers, who often don’t have the marketing budget to compete with larger retailers, we can level the playing field and give them access to qualified leads. If you have the bike in stock, we will find customers who are willing to buy it.
Velomatch does not charge platform fees and does not take commission. It is free to use for retailers and customers. Over time, we hope to monetize the site through the information it collects on customer behavior and purchase intent. But that will only happen if the site becomes a must visit and adds value to consumers and retailers.
How can Velomatch benefit resellers?
Velomatch is a win-win for retailers big and small. It is above all a complementary channel, offering a large volume of qualified leads. Second, these leads are quick and easy to process. A customer in store or on the phone will take a long time to discuss colors, sizes, bands, etc.
A Velomatch request requires two pieces of information: at what price can you supply and when can you supply it? That’s it. Given the scarcity of supply, we don’t expect prices to fluctuate, but lead times will. And if you have inventory, you can use that as a competitive advantage.
Last but not least, every lead we generate is looking for a specific bike that matches their needs and vital stats.
We know that our retail partners are committed to providing an excellent customer experience and want everyone who buys a bike from them to be completely satisfied with their purchase. Velomatch’s proprietary fit engine means customers know which bike best suits their body and needs, making them more likely to become satisfied customers.
We are currently targeting road (including gravel) and e-bikes. Later in the summer we will expand to mountain bikes.
What kind of feedback have you received from the industry?
Being a former retailer myself, I felt this was something I would have taken advantage of when I had my shop, so I had faith in the model. But we’ve been very pleased with the positive feedback from retailers and brands.
But to be honest, we’ve put a lot of time and effort into making the retailer onboarding process as easy and user-friendly as possible. When we show retailers how fast it is to receive an inquiry and submit an offer, they’re blown away – 30 seconds and you’re done.
Even if you don’t have stock, it’s still worth responding with an ETA and a customer message. We offer a free showcase for your business.
What are your plans for 2022 and beyond?
We have ambitious plans to grow the site with additional genres but also some technical improvements – the biggest one will be getting national retailer inventory on the site. We already have 10 retailers’ inventory on the site, and as we expand our retailer base, Velomatch will become the only place a customer needs to go to see national stock levels.
So growing our ability to display live inventory is an important goal because it also helps retailers. If we know you have a stock bike, we’ll send you the request. This makes leads laser-focused, improving efficiency and conversions across the board.
Along with this, we are focusing on developing our content capabilities. The ability to expertly and independently review a bike, produce a video on it, and then show the user what size it is and which retailers have that exact size in stock is very exciting.
Finally, we want to constantly improve the experience of our user customers on the site. Take e-bikes for example. Everyone knows they’re booming, but many people who want an e-bike are so confused or discouraged by a lack of information or conflicting advice that they end up not buying the bike. This is not a good result for anyone in the industry.
We have a unique opportunity to get more people riding bikes, and we’re determined to play our part in removing as much friction from the pre-purchase process as possible.