Starting an ecommerce store that’s solely focused on selling parts for BMX bikes is difficult! Not only must there be a lot of trust between the seller and consumer, but an international consumer base means a constant 24-hour need for customer support. Founder of Supercross BMX, Bill Ryan progressively broke through these barriers since opening his ecommerce store in 2001. Read on to find out how the business came to be and what surprising marketing methods they’re still using (hint: magazines).
Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you sell at Supercross BMX.
Hi I’m Bill Ryan, the founder of Supercross BMX. We are the leader in high end BMX racing frames, forks, and parts.
When did you start selling online? Why?
We started selling online in 2001 when we started to notice a decline in stores stocking high end BMX racing parts. We saw the need to supply customers in all areas of the world that did not have a local brick and mortar shop to go into to purchase our products.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building and running Supercross BMX?
That is a huge question, the challenges are numerous. You have the opposition of your dealers and distributors that you are selling direct to consumers. You have the trust of the customers to feel safe buying a high end unseen product. You have the fear of them wanting to put their credit card information out online. International rules and customs. The 24-hour need from a worldwide customer base wanting immediate responses. The time involved in interacting personally with a broader base of customers. The technology changes of the web interface, as well as the changing of the online store…. The list goes on and on.
When we first started online in 2001 we had basic “Paypal” buy now buttons, then we slowly changed to Oscommerce, then to Magento, and then to Shopify, We are still looking for the perfect answer to run our ecommerce channel that allows us to do what we need to do without having a staff of dedicated programmers. We need it to be easy for our staff to manage, in which Shopify excels at; and with the add on apps such as Bizzy, it allows us to customize Shopify for our needs. But it is an ever growing, on going headache to maintain.
How do you attract new customers?
We are very active at the BMX events attending over 40 events a year with our team. We’re also very active on social media with a high traffic website, Instagram, and Facebook. However, we’re still very old school with banner ads on other websites that cater to the interests of our customers and *gulp* can you believe it we still run print ads in magazines? Luckily after 28 years of doing this, our brand is sought after by those who want the best. I feel very lucky and humbled that people respect our product so much.
Can you share a tip or something interesting you learned in the process of building and running Supercross BMX?
Never give up, listen to the advise of others who know more than you do. And never think you know it all. There is always something new, something changing, and don’t be afraid to be flexible, learn, and change as you grow your business. Just because it worked today or yesterday, doesn’t mean it will tomorrow.
If you’re looking for high quality BMX racing frames or parts, check out Supercross BMX.