Case study

UKTI helps Foffa Bikes use e-commerce to develop their exports

Foffa Bikes moves online developing resellers in Europe and distributors in Brazil and Australia following an Export Communications Review.

Foffa Bike
Foffa Bike

Premium bicycle firm Foffa Bikes changed its business model as a result of advice from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) London’s International Trade Team.

Dani Foffa, Managing Director Foffa Bikes, said,

We have been extremely pleased with the support and guidance UKTI have offered us. When going international, there are many risks and difficulties, and you can end up learning how to do business the hard way.

Using UKTI can help you make more informed decisions and meet other businesses who are in the same boat to share ideas.

Increased bike usage and facilities throughout the UK and Europe has seen a surge in the demand for bikes, providing huge market opportunities.

Foffa Bikes worked closely with their UKTI International Trade Adviser (ITA), and used the Export Communications Review (ECR) service to look at reshaping their online presence.

Find out more about the Export Communications Review service.

The result was development of a strong e-commerce approach.

This approach has helped them to gain 25 resellers in Europe including in Germany, France, Spain, Russia, Netherlands and Finland. These resellers will go on to distribute the bikes to international customers. They have also gained initial orders from distributors in Brazil and Australia.

Growth Accelerator

Increased interest in custom built bike options led Foffa Bikes to GrowthAccelerator, the government’s incubator for fast developing businesses.

Foffa Bikes realised that increased demand and customisation requirements meant they needed to become more flexible especially to cope with demand from international markets.

GrowthAccelerator then introduced the company to UKTI in 2013.

Export strategy

A fundamental review of their business strategy and routes to market through the ECR service included:

  • examining options to move towards scaling the custom build operation
  • looking at how their online presence could be reshaped to draw in international customers
  • examining how to respond to demands for more flexibility

Dani Foffa said,

Moving online gave us more choice in the direction and growth for the business. It allowed the business to become more streamlined.

The ECR programme has also allowed us to become scalable not only via the online mechanism, but effects how we run the supply chain to respond to the e-commerce change.

Building their e-commerce presence

Foffa Bikes wanted their website to be a shop front for the company that customers and retailers (B2C and B2B) could access easily.

Find out more about selling online and UKTI’s e-exporting programme

Following the advice from UKTI’s ECR adviser, they instituted a number of changes to make their interface more user-friendly.

Changes included:

  • installing a payment system to take international currencies
  • working on translating website into international English
  • translating multiple pages into German, French and Italian to allow the website to be internationally search engine optimised
  • allowing customers to interact and have a creative input into their product
  • making interface adaptable for mobile services

Dani Foffa said,

By adapting the website for our audience, making it consumer and retail friendly, we were able to adapt to the demands for custom builds by allowing customers to input different design options online.

It is part of the attraction of the brand, and being able to convey what our brand is in many

Moving to online retailing

Foffa Bikes’ east London shop was closed in early 2014 after they took the decision to run their sales operations through distributors and directly online. Combined with their improved supply chain this enabled them to achieve more flexibility and increase sales volume rapidly.

Dani Foffa said,

Moving online gave us more choice in the direction and growth for the business.

The ECR programme has also allowed us to become scalable not only via the online mechanism, but effects how we run the supply chain to respond to the e-commerce change.

International Distribution

Foffa Bikes also worked with UKTI London on their distributor network, looking at international distributors to help them gain overseas customers. Using UKTI’s Passport to Export Programme, they looked at how to build an international strategy for the business.

UKTI helped with desk research and market selection process as the starting point to finding new buyers. Foffa Bikes also received Market Visit Support funding to showcase at the Eurobike exhibition in Germany to develop target connections in the bike industry.

About Foffa Bikes

Dani Foffa, Managing Director, founded Foffa Bikes in 2009. Their first store was set up in the East-End of London, selling predominantly to UK customers.

Fast facts

Company: Foffa Bikes Ltd

Industry: Manufacturing

Target Market: Europe, Brazil and Australia

UKTI Services: Export Communications Review, Passport to Export;

Market Visit Support

Website: www.foffabikes.com

Published 6 February 2015