Andy Hargroves, Business Development Manager at Hargroves Cycles, on how data driven insight and a personal approach helped this family business defend against competition from online-only retailers.
Andy Hargroves, Business Development Manager, Hargroves Cycles
I’m Andy Hargroves and I’m Business Development Manager for Hargroves Cycles. Hargroves Cycles was founded in 1981, it’s grown throughout the 36 years it’s been operating into an international online player as well as a local store within the towns we operate. We try to provide the best customer service we can to our customers through better services, better products and better prices it’s a tough balance in the market we are in, we are getting a lot of competition from other online players which grew significantly off the back of the Olympics.
My aim within this business is to certainly grow it. I was led to meet Close Brothers by being unhappy with our previous provider. The problem I was experiencing was that I never saw a rep. I think our relationship with Charlie has had a massive difference on our business. It’s very easy for the guys to get hold of her, she is very personable.
Our business model hasn’t changed too much, but what it has allowed us to do is better execute the sales to the customer and give our sales staff more of an idea of how to sell the product, more confidence selling the product and giving the customer a better service.
Close Brothers provide us with a lot of data insight which allows us to better market to our customers. They’ve highlighted to us that our female sales was much higher than we thought it was. It’s a very male dominated industry but the female segment is the fastest growing area of our business and off the back of this we’ve driven maintenance evenings through our shops to breakdown that barrier to the consumer and make it easier for the customer to buy also provide a better service for those female customers. We wouldn’t have known this without Close Brothers and it’s been a key driver to the success of our female market.
I’ve not seen a partnership like this and certainly how I run our business I like to work as a partnership rather than with suppliers I think you’re in this together and as a business you need to work together to make it work, so it’s not a one way street, I’ve given suggestions to Close Brothers and they’ve given them back and that in turn has made it easier to sell, better confidence for our guys and a much more fun environment to work in. They’ve given us advice and consultancy on our new website as well as our existing website and how to make our products appear better to the customer, provide the customer with as much information as we can give them and break down that barrier which is finance.
Close Brothers has far exceeded all of the help that I expected to get from them. I never expected a year ago to get a retail finance company that were going to help me develop a website into something that was market leading. I can’t ever see us moving from Close Brothers it’s a partnership that in 12 months has forged really strong relationships with Charlie and with Michael as well. It makes it easier to operate and why change something when it’s easy, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. I’d like to think that Close Brothers do have the same target as I do, it would be exciting to grow with them and I’m certainly looking forward to the next four years we’ve signed in to work with them.