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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

Wheelie Deals is entering their first year of business.  Through careful market research, it is forecasted that Wheelie Deals will be well received.  A cohesive marketing strategy will be required to bring the company to where it would like to be in terms of revenue.  The company offers a wide range of closeout and other specials of assorted bicycle components and gear to retail bicycle shops.

Market Summary

Wheelie Deals has compiled good information regarding their market and the target customers that make up the market. Wheelie Deals will leverage this information to better understand who is served, their specific needs, and how Wheelie Deals can better serve them.

Market Needs

Wheelie Deals is providing retail bicycle shops with a wide assortment of bicycle-related items, including clothing and components significantly discounted from the normal wholesale prices. Wheelie Deals seeks to fulfill the following benefits that are important to its customers.

  • Selection: A wide selection of components, wheels, clothing, bicycles and accessories will be offered to the customer.
  • Accessibility: The entire catalog is available to all bicycle shops in the U.S.
  • Customer Service: The customer will be impressed with the level of help and attention that they receive in all interactions, whether sales, returns, etc.
  • Competitive Pricing: Because all of Wheelie Deals' products are closeouts, specials, etc., they will be better priced than other wholesalers.

The market trend for the last six to nine years has been an erosion of margins for bicycles.  Profits are recaptured through higher margins found in accessories and service departments.  Because the bicycle shops must rely on accessories and service to generate profit, it makes it increasingly difficult for local shops to compete with the large mail order houses.  Consequently, there has been an exodus of customers heading toward the mail order catalogs. It would be quite attractive to the local bicycle shops if they suddenly had the capacity to compete with the mail order houses.

Currently, the industry is served by 10-15 different wholesalers. Each wholesaler has their own niche to some degree, but generally they have a fairly wide product offering. Bicycle retailers in need of parts will contact a distributor and purchase their products from them. Some or most of the wholesalers have a sale or closeout section, but this typically makes up a small percentage of their business.

It is well known that the margins in the retail bicycle industry are small. 30% for the bicycles, 75% for components, and 100% for clothing. Closeouts are a great way to increase store traffic and significantly help out the shop's bottom line with nice margins.

Market Growth

From 1991-1999 bicycles shops enjoyed growth of up to 11%, primarily from the popularity of mountain bikes.  Within the last year and half, sales of mountain bikes have grown flat, decreasing overall bicycle shop growth to 4%.  The one saving grace to this predicament is a resurgence of growth for road bicycles. 

This recent growth is in part fueled by America's Lance Armstrong's domination of professional cycling in the last three years of the Tour de France.  What makes this all the more incredible and inspirational is the fact that his first Tour win came two years after recovering from what was thought to be terminal cancer.  The other factor that has contributed to the resurgence of road bikes is the increase in bicycle paths and bicycle lanes that has been built within the last several years.

While the retail bicycle industry is not forecasted to grow at the same rates as it did in the early nineties, it is likely to grow around 6% a year for several years.  Since the wholesale bicycle industry is so tied together with the retail side, growth rates for the two generally mirror each other.

SWOT Analysis

The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company, and  describes the opportunities and threats facing Wheelie Deals.


  • Strong relationships with many different manufacturers, often negotiating an exclusive distribution deal with them.
  • Excellent staff who are well-trained cycling enthusiasts who recognize the need to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
  • A wide selection of goods.


  • The difficulty of raising visibility among all of the perspective customers.
  • The nature of the industry which does not have a smooth, constant flow of goods (specials and closeouts).
  • Predicting what products will sell is difficult and since closeouts by their nature are purchased in big lots, a wrong choice could create a glut of inventory.


  • Wheelie Deals' business model addresses the problem that the retail industry faces decreasing margins.
  • The ability to spread fixed costs over a larger area as sales increase, increasing profit margins.
  • While the bicycle industry is affected to some degree by the circular nature of the economy, bicycle and accessory sales never fall completely flat since there are many people that ride bikes regardless if it is economic boom or bust.


  • Entry into this market niche from an established distributor, recognizing this is the area for growth in the industry.
  • A decrease in the willingness for manufacturers to sell their closeouts to retailers via wholesalers, instead selling all of their excess directly to the mail order houses.

Competition & Buying Patterns

The major competitors are:

  • Seattle Bike Supply: this is a national distributor with several warehouses spread out across the country. Seattle sells some closeout products, but they make up a small portion of their business.
  • Quality Bicycle Products: this is a relatively high-end bicycle component distributor that operates on a national scale, however, they only have one warehouse in Minneapolis, MN.
  • Riteway: this is a national wholesaler with multiple warehouses. Riteway has an extensive product catalog and does offer a decent amount of closeouts, in part due to a minority holding of the GT bicycle company.

Bicycle retailers tend to favor one type of distributor for certain things. Some variables that influence decision is price, availability, shipping time, and available terms. The retailers will often use one main wholesaler and aggregate as much as possible into an order to save shipping costs.

Product Offering

Wheelie Deals is a wholesale distributor of bicycles and bicycle components. Wheelie Deals specializes in closeouts, last year models, and seconds. Some of the manufacturers that Wheelie Deals sells are:

  • Shimano;
  • Campagnolo;
  • White Industries;
  • Syncros;
  • Mavic;
  • Chris King;
  • Tioga;
  • Michelin;
  • Easton;
  • Rock Shox;
  • Answer Racing;
  • Salsa;
  • Race Face;
  • Sweet Parts;
  • Grip Shift;
  • Ritchey;
  • Wellgo;
  • Pearl Izumi;
  • Bellweather;
  • Swobo;
  • And many more manufacturers.

Keys to Success

The keys to success are:

  • Unbeatable selection.
  • Outstanding customer service.
  • Good inventory management.

Critical Issues

Wheelie Deals is still in the speculative stages as a wholesaler.  Its critical issues are:

  • Continue to take a fiscal approach, expand at a reasonable rate, not for the sake of expansion in itself, but because it is fiscally prudent to do so. 
  • Continue to build brand awareness, driving customers to Wheelie Deals.
  • Maintain good relationships with suppliers.

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