Distributors, change or die

In the always-changing cycling world, another evolving figure is the distributor, whose services need to be wider, qualitative and specialized. That's the only available option for the category to survive and thrive in the future of cycling.

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis might hopefully be over, but some of its effects are still to be seen in the present and the near future. And evolutions have to be also expected in the World of sports. 

At Vitesse, we have been working in cycling for roughly 30 years as Press Office, PR, Media Relations, event organizers, and digital strategists. Our substantial background enabled us to give a wide-angle look at the two-wheels World and spot ten remarkable trends that might establish themselves in the coming months or years. 

Our predictions will come in different blogs. Some of those might sound bold, but we believe they all have chances to become a reality, sooner rather than later. 

Here is our third episode, and what we think about: 

Distributors, change or die

Distributors are arguably one of the categories that could be affected by the new setup of the cycling market. Such an assumption is based on the increase in online sales and the transformation of shops we have discussed in our first two issues. In a more digital-oriented context, the brands might be tempted to manage the regional markets directly or autonomously, partly thanks to more advanced systems and automatisms, or make a complete switch to online.

We believe that the figure of the distributor will not disappear, but it must extend its role beyond a purely commercial function to survive. The distributor will have to put something more into play for a brand to choose not to give up on it.

Since technical and logistics infrastructures can no longer be considered a “hard” obstacle, the biggest challenges for a company entering a new market are business intelligence, on which the distributor can provide guidance, but also communication on the reference market, and the need for localized technical and communication materials, public and media relations and digital strategy.

To date, distribution agencies do not provide most of those supports, but this could make a big difference for their chance to keep playing an essential role in an evolving market. Companies need such services to be delivered with significant quality and professional standards. It is all about providing added value, and hiring another intern won’t fit the bill more often than not.

In the second episode we talked about: 

The evolution of cycling stores

(click on the image to read more)

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