Motorcycle Accessories Retailer Creates Millennial Customer Strategies
Iron Pony Motorsports, one of the top retailers in the motorcycle enthusiast industry and named by Dealernews as 2011’s number one motorcycle dealer in the US, understands the Millennial market and its growing importance to their industry. Bridget Johnson, Lead Buyer for Iron Pony Motorsports, explains:
“There are two major categories of motorcycle riders, off-road and street bikes. Because of the athletic and grueling nature of off-road racing, these riders are almost exclusively Millennials. In the street bike world, there are many subgroups, such as touring, adventure, cruiser, sportbikes and modern bobbers/choppers. Sportbike riders and bobbers are Millennials. These categories and subgroups aren’t just the kind of bike you ride, they define the rider’s identity and lifestyle. Each segment has a different set of needs. They are so important that we have a section in our store dedicated to each kind of rider.”
The two Millennial street bike niches are very distinct and require different marketing strategies. Sportbikes are an established market, with established demand. Customers cultivate a sporty, brand-conscious image, wearing full-face graphic helmets with matching leather jackets and gloves. Iron Pony supplies the latest trends and hottest brands (e.g., Speed and Strength) to cater to this segment’s preferences.
The modern bobber and chopper culture is relatively new to the motorcycle industry. This emerging niche of Millennials seeks vintage, custom bikes and accessories. They want a look that emphasizes their personality and is one-of-a-kind. Johnson continues:
“This trend is very new and was challenging to strategize. The riders value vintage styles, so we had to find brands that create new products with a vintage look. Biltwell is one brand that targets bobbers and has grown the market. For instance, bobbers typically will only wear open-face helmets, to achieve the look they want. But Biltwell just launched a full-face helmet with great styling for this niche. This product gives the bobbers a safer option they might find appealing.”
One of the biggest brands for off-road riders is Fox. They quickly spot trends and make product changes. Their marketing strategies are also targeted for Millennials, as Johnson gives an example, “We sell some of their helmets, and we have a video player of their helmets in our store. That’s a great way to grab this age group.”
Iron Pony has found video to be an effective way to show Millennials many products in action. A good example is with the brand of GoPro wearable cameras. Brittany Geffken, Assistant Buyer explains:
“Our sales team noticed that Millennials tend to be more visual shoppers. They will bring up our website on their smart phones to ask where to find a product in the store. They also tend to be willing to place special orders for specific colors we don’t have in stock, to get their more customized look.”
Along with traditional marketing approaches, Iron Pony reaches out to Millennials through social media. The brand has had success with Facebook and Instagram, promoting events such as their recent vintage bike show or demo rides. Geffken shares their latest in-store campaign:
“Since mustaches are a big fad, especially with Millennials, we made mustache stickers with the Iron Pony logo and placed them on mirrors throughout the store, encouraging customers to post pictures of themselves with hashtags we suggest. It’s helping to create a feeling of community online. We are building on the superstore brand of Iron Pony—that it’s fun just to come in and hang out in the store. That Iron Pony is a destination for motorcycle enthusiasts.”
As Millennials grow in earning power, they will become a stronger customer segment for many industries. Brands need to be ready for their inclination for customization, visual shopping style and technical mastery. Iron Pony Motorsports is a good example of a retailer that has effectively reached out to Millennials while still appealing to its older customers.