Trends & Features

Triathlon is it really three times the work? Or should you just tri it?

For many, triathlon will seem like a can of worms, three sports all requiring different equipment, a minefield of technology.

That said it does not have to be overwhelming. The basics of the sport are quite simple and for all intents and purposes you don’t have to be a bike shop selling bikes to be a tri store.

The end consumer focuses on the race and the store falls foul having race clothing, aero helmets so on and so on. When asked, most triathletes race about six times a year as it is very much dependent on warmer weather.

When you really start to look at it, the training for the three sports is where we should focus. Stock the items that they really need, swimming training aids, running shoes and training clothing and then the cycling clothing like normal bib shorts, helmets and shoes.

Let’s say you are a running store, you can open new sales by bringing in the above items and building a Tri database, this also applies to the bike shops you don’t need to be offering gait analysis to sell running shoes. It is very easy to size and work out the needs of most runners.

I am not trying to play down the expertise that running and biking shops have as independents. With such a growth opportunity for both don’t simply hand this over to the mid-size national business and the online players.

Training does play a huge part into the needs of triathletes and the sales hopper, with training starting at around six hours a week, all the way up to 25 hours plus if they’re competing in Ironman. This means consumers are training in all weathers.

The one easy win is that the triathlete likes kit, I mean really likes kit! I know I am one! They are focused on the detail; does it give me less drag in the water? Does it make me stronger on the bike and will it lower my running pace? Having just race kit is just one piece to the puzzle, in fact the kit requirements can be a threefold deal – like the discipline itself.

I call this the customer journey to the start line.

Training T1 (Transition one)

This is where the bulk of sales are as I have explained about the amount of training they do. The conditions force more purchasing and the three sports are very normal in this phase on the kit they need. Swimming indoors being the least amount of sales.

Racing T2 (Transition two)

This is where some of the biggest sale items are. However, for you the retailer you only get to sell them this once, as back to the rule they only race six times a year. It takes up a lot of space in the store and does not have enough rotation to justify the cost of the space and can also be obsolete very quickly. Examples here are seasonal clothing brands.

Post training and racing T3 (Transition three)

Recovery clothing and nutrition, these also fall into a sales pattern much like the racing part of the sales journey. These are essential to the athlete’s daily program.

Is it that simple? Yes, I know it is. Whether you are a running store or a bike shop, your customer database is already playing with triathlon. The problem and limitation so many times when you are a specialist store.

You have already convinced them that you are a run shop or a bike shop so adding in the new sport should not phase them. Local publicity to the clubs that do these sports is advised and you will be surprised how very quickly you start to bring in new consumers through the door.

There are so many brands to choose from that you can build a portfolio of products that offer you USPs to other stores around you. With an expansion into new sectors of sport this will give your web portal the chance to expand as well, with new SEO and visibility options this will create new consumers.

We can look further at segmentation in the sports like ultra running and mountain bike stores, there is even options for these stores, X-terra, the off-road version of triathlon and again all of the above apply here to capture new consumers.

Last but not least many of you could also consider Duathlon, a fastgrowing sport that only takes on the bike and the run elements, this is where you will discover the largest number of newbies that are looking for information and advice.

Remember keep it simple, test the water and use social media to tell the story to your local community to grab their attention. Give it a Tri.

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