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Client Stories - Shimano Bikes AU

Wild & Wolf

Reaching for the next gear

Shimano Bikes AU (Shimano), established in 1992, distributes bicycle components across the Oceania region. The business is at the forefront of its industry – as part of the global giant, Shimano Inc, a Japanese multi-national manufacturer of cycling components, fishing tackle and rowing equipment.

Shimano have been working with Pronto Software for over a decade and in 2008 partnered with Pronto Woven to deploy Pronto Xi Avenue (Avenue) as their integrated eCommerce platform. The team continues to work closely with Pronto Woven to push the boundaries of the online shopping experience – focusing on streamlining their techonology systems to create one platform and a single source of truth.

An example is the integration of Pronto Xi Warehouse Management application to a robotic operational warehouse software used by Shimano. This combination enables the picking, packing and dispatching of stock to be highly automated. A product purchased via the Shimano website is on a delivery truck within seven minutes of the order being confirmed. Leveraging technology in this manner has been instrumental in strengthening Shimano’s reputation in the industry as high quality manufacturers – and trail blazers in customer experience.

Upholding and expanding an unrivalled reputation

Pronto Woven’s recent project for Shimano Bikes AU was a detailed update of their website. Matt Bazzano, Managing Director of Shimano Australia said, “Within the bicycle industry, we were one of the first online wholesale sites in the industry and was certainly considered the best – we set the standard. However, we didn’t just want to be the best in this industry but also to lead the marketplace overall. Today consumers are very well educated and our dealers need to have the same extensive knowledge. The goal of this project was to ensure our website continues to deliver the right content to our customers and dealers in the best way possible.”

Pronto Woven used design thinking to help Shimano clearly define project requirements and collaboratively create a roadmap that detailed how digital strategy could support short and long term business goals.

“At the end of the workshop phase, what started off as a whole bunch of Post-it notes on the window, become actual enhancements and modifications that we're now using, it’s great! It was invaluable to have everyone share their different ideas and knowledge. The Pronto Woven team helped guide us and check what we were proposing and envisaging was actually feasible. The sales team gained a lot from exploring weird and wonderful concepts that they proposed. To actually see their ideas realised has energised my team to explore more ideas to incorporate into the site’s design,” explained Mr Bazzano.

As a result of the workshop, the decision was made to update the existing B2B website to make it capable of B2C commerce. This aim was to increase transactional efficiencies by improving dealers’ ability to sell Shimano products – while also allowing the buisness to better market their brand. The team also had many ideas to enhance site functionality and user experience.

Pronto Woven also proposed a re-skinning of the website to ensure it looked modern and fresh. It wasn’t enough to just meet industry standards, the site needed to exceed customer expectations. A big challenge was accommodating the large number of brands stocked and sold in Australia. The overarching goal was to strengthen Shimano’s digital presence while enhancing brand awareness and increasing visibility over the customer journey.

This required a rebuild that:

  • helps Shimano customers to remain the most informed consumers in the market
  • continues to provide people with the best resources and products
  • makes it easier for customers to interact with the brand
  • delivers brand consistency across the board — from usability to user-experience and engagement

“It was really rewarding to understand what could actually be done and incorporated into our site. The version that we were using from day one was very clinical and more dealer orientated. In the updated version, we wanted to convey a consumer focus, prioritising intuitiveness and optimising content. It was important for our site’s design and its navigation to be user-friendly for not only current customers and staff but also onboarding new employees,” said Mr Bazzano.

Peddling towards ecommerce success

Thanks to the site’s heightened visibility and functionality, dealers and retailers are now able to:

  • see a full overview of their account through the dealer hub
  • view and pay their owing invoices
  • build and order their own bike kits for customers, according to which parts are compatible with the selected items – with suggestions about complementary parts, if a chosen one is not available

“The Buildkit function on our website is now functioning better than ever. Being a component service company, we rely on the bicycle being sold, so the build kit function allows our customers to custom build a bicycle. The retailer (dealer) can use the build kit function and actually place an order for the higher level of componentry that the customer is wanting,” explained Mr Bazzano.

Dealers can also view all components of core bike parts in exploded diagrams and click through to get a part number for each product, view availability and add it to cart.

“The explode part diagrams in itself have increase our business by a 100% over the period. Previously, we were using the diagrams we had in house to disjointedly identify parts over the telephone. This was very cumbersome and ultimately deals were too hard to win. This updated feature is another great way to show our customers what is available in the service parts and the support we offer,” added Mr Bazzano.

Search on the site has also been enhanced with powerful keyword-based functionality and filters to find products and attributes quickly and more easily. A huge mega menu filters and details product categories, brand and series – allowing dealers to view all Shimano products and refine their initial search.

“Within Australia, there's 800 possible independent bicycle retailers, as well as over 100 bicycle brands that are sold. Each bicycle brand has different components in a variety of brands. Therefore, bicycle retail can be very confusing, especially for new staff members. The search function and mega menu has been created with the retailer in mind, simplifying the process to find the exact product the retailer is needing to order,” said Mr Bazzano.

These new elements are helping Shimano Bikes AU generate more sales and orders across the board. Retailers and dealers now have the tools at their disposal to gain knowledge – and the dedicated news hub provides updates about new products so they can best advise their customers and order the right stock for their store. Additionally, the upgraded site supports stronger relationships with dealers who are benefiting from the ability to self-manage their accounts.

Bike dealers and retailers aren’t the only winners! The site enables sales reps to take on more of an educational and ambassador role and now provides them the tools and information they need at their fingertips. Shimano’s sales and marketing teams also leverage the new site’s functionality.

Mr Bazzano said, “. It has reduced the amount of enquiries that come in over the phones, freeing up the sales and accounts team because all that we offer is real-time accessible on the website. Our customers are happier because it’s and empowered them to retrieve the information they want at a time of their choosing, which is fantastic.”

Racing past the finish line

The website was an integral to Shimano’s outstanding performance in 2020 – during mandatory COVD-19 lockdowns. “We have seen an increase in our average orders per day and the percentage of sales orders received in 2020. It’s risen from an initial ballpark estimate of 50% to over 75%! The resources and tools we now have certainly positioned us to be able to fulfill the orders for our customers, more so than some of our competitors,” explained Mr Bazzano

The updated ecommerce platform has enabled the internal customer service team to broaden the type of work that they do to support other areas of the business. “Now they can support our sales reps and fulfill backorders rather than picking up the phone day in, day out with enquires about availability, pricing and place orders that the website can now handle,” added Mr Bazzano.

With the dealer’s adoption of the new platform, Shimano has noticed a significant business result. “The feedback from the dealers and retailers has been very positive. The site’s navigation is much improved and we've also taken on additional brands in our portfolio which we couldn’t have promoted previously. The ordering process is now more seamless so customers can complete an order in a couple of clicks. The dealers have loved that efficiency – resulting in a quantifiable increase in the range of products showcased in stores,” said Mr Bazzano.

Like all online solutions, Shimano Bikes AU’s website was not a set and forget exercise. In the near future, we’ll be providing continual support to roll out their new site across the board.

“With our dealers, there is a great reliance on being able to complete business online. In 2020 we have seen a large increase in the number of customers using our site. Now, we've started two new projects with Pronto Woven to broaden our customer base. What excites me is the ability to leverage the strong foundation that we already have and run other parallel sites to expand our business,” concluded Mr Bazzano.