NARINCHOT Akharawanitlert’s passion for cycling set him on the road to opening a bicycle shop in his home district in Sukhothai province that now generates average monthly sales of Bt70,000.
“I decided to open our bicycle shop in 2014 at a time when the interest of Thai people in cycling had really picked up,” Narinchot, 43, said of the business he started in the province’s Si Satchanalai district.
“This trend helped us to increase sales from an average of Bt10,000 a month to Bt100,000 in 2015, although the sales value has since dropped back to an average of Bt70,000 a month after a decline in the market.”
Narinchot, in an interview with The Nation, said he embarked on the business with savings of Bt50,000 and a further Bt200,000 in borrowings from an older sister.
He seized on the business opportunity after having enjoyed success with online sales of used bicycles and accessories on the ThaiMPB website.
That inspired him to open his own shop to sell bicycles and accessories, especially with the strong demand he had seen for them when cycling enjoyed a surge in popularity among Thais in 2014.
Narinchot said that for the first six months of the business, it was pulling in average sales of Bt10,000 a month, before climbing rapidly to the Bt100,000 mark in 2015 at the height of the sales.
Then, in the middle of last year, demand for bicycles and accessories began declining, leading to the drop in average monthly sales to Bt70,000.
As a result, Narinchot decided to change his way of doing business in order to reduce inventories in the shop and move to sales on a pre-order basis.
“The pre-order concept helps me to reduce inventories and manage my cash-flow during a period when the bicycle market has declined,” he said.
He also provides after-sales service to his customers, especially to those who are new to cycling.
This has improves sales as the after-sales service differentiates his business from other bicycle shops in the market.
“I focus on new customers who are starting to ride because I can supply models priced at not over Bt20,000. I also make suggestions and provide more service to such customers,” Narinchot said.
“This approach has helped my business grow together with them and this will drive our business growth for the long term.”