Riding high on Melbourne’s cycling bubble - Case study: TFM

Riding high on Melbourne’s cycling bubble
Case study: TFM

Martin Cox

Elevating the online preshopping experience for Melbourne’s cycling community

The global ecommerce market continues to explode, with the total flow of goods set to hit US$4 trillion in the next three years. But while consumers are opting for the convenience of the online buyer experience for most products—think clothing, electronics, accessories—there are certain purchases that still require an in-person test drive.

Case in point? High-performance bicycles. With top road bikes going for as much as $15,000, it’s a big investment that requires adequate research and consideration. When coupled with the fact that most bikes will need to be tailored to the individual, which requires an in store consultation, you’d be forgiven for thinking that cycle businesses should place all their eggs in the bricks-and-mortar basket.

Regardless of where point-of-sale actually occurs, today’s buyers are used to having detailed data on product availability, pricing, reviews and more at their fingertips—most will do their due diligence online before committing to a store visit or phone call. Therefore, customers looking to invest in a high-performance cycle need access to simple, streamlined product information and up-to-date inventory and availability. Which is where we come in.

The company

The Freedom Machine (TFM) was established in 1975 and has since expanded to four sites across Melbourne, providing high quality service and premium bikes. They are Australia’s biggest dealers of Trek and Bontrager products, and are invested in creating lifelong customers and building a sense of community among riders via organised rides, mountain bike tours, and educational events.

The Freedom Machine jersey

The need

The majority of TFM’s bikes are sold in store as opposed to online. The standard buyer journey involves a customer viewing the competitor landscape and the TFM range online (essentially pre-shopping), then coming into the store for a consultation before completing a purchase.

This two-step process isn’t just down to the price tag—there are also practical considerations. Most road bikes need to be tailored to the individual, so it’s important for the buyer to come into the store so the company can take variables such as height, weight, and expertise into account when they are providing advice and recommendations.

To provide the most effective and enjoyable buying journey for customers, TFM identified a need for an ecommerce solution not primarily to drive online sales, but to elevate their preshopping experience by ensuring all relevant product information is accessible, and store availability is up-to-date.

Their top requirements were:

  • Live inventory management
  • A simple user experience (clean, streamlined and consistent imagery and text)
  • Capability for campaign analytics
  • Seamless integration—they have thousands of SKUs that need to be uploaded en masse each year
  • Customisability—need to be able to advertise markdowns and sales quickly, in a manner that highlights the previous price and sale price to incentivise purchase.

    The solution

    Do was engaged to provide an ecommerce solution that encompassed the factors above and responded to the need to create a digital unity between their four geographically disparate sites.

    The Shopify ecommerce platform we delivered for TFM was almost 100 per cent custom built, from both a design and development perspective. It’s a unique site, which tells TFM's story, showcases its products but is still a best practice ecommerce store.

    Additionally, we incorporated ZipMoney as a payment option into TFM’s site, which is proven to improve conversion rates for online stores and is especially relevant for retailers selling big-ticket items like Trek bicycles.

    The Freedom Machine mobile site


    Product setup

    The TFM customer is seeking detailed product information to assist in their buying journey, content that is unique for each product. We put in a lot of work customising reports in Excel and setting up metafields in Shopify (which allow you to store additional information for products, collections, orders, etc) to ensure this requirement was satisfied.

    Inventory management

    The need to pull live inventory from multiple store and warehouse locations required seamless integration of a number of systems and processes. We worked directly with TFM’s POS provider and warehouse to set up these live feeds, making it easy for customers to view up-to-date product availability.

    Director of TFM, Emidio Ubaldi, rates this integrated inventory management system as one of the highlights of the new functionality:

    “The system integrates with our POS every half an hour to extract the stock on hand and update the website, which is just sensational,” he says.

    Project highlights

    From DO’s perspective, it was fantastic to work with a business that sells top of the range Trek bicycles and has a reputation for providing first class service. Our designers and developers also loved working with all the amazing visual assets (photos and videos) for the Trek products.

    Building community is a core business objective of TFM, so we were delighted to create the ability for their community to purchase events, book bike services and link customers directly to their nearest store, all in a streamlined and user-friendly manner.

    Emidio also lists the increased analytical functionality of the ecommerce solution as a key highlight for the TFM team.

    “With the current website, we can really easily understand and analyse the performance of our campaign marketing, which leads to accurate decision making,” says Emidio.

    The Freedom Machine

    It’s the chance to provide this extra value that really drives us—we approach every project with a critical eye and analyse the ways we can elevate the user experience, for both the customer and the business. It’s what we DO. Get in touch with us.