Founded in the Tokyo suburb of Yanaka in 2002, tokyobike creates bicycles that are comfortable, fast, and “beautiful enough to hang in your living room.” In 2014, tokyobike made its US debut, opening a store in New York City and wholesaling in specialty bike stores across the country. tokyobike had no intention of selling online, because that seemed like a challenging way of offering the high-touch customer service it provides for its bespoke bicycles.
As the brand grew, however, it became clear that tokyobike needed an online store to complement its physical presence and provide a more flexible shopping experience to customers.
So, in early 2019, tokyobike launched an online store with Shopify. In just six months, online sales surpassed in-person sales, and physical locations were primarily used for test rides and fulfilling in-store pickup orders.
However, running the business on two separate systems—Lightspeed POS for in-store sales POS and Shopify for online sales—made operations unnecessarily complicated. By switching from Lightspeed to Shopify POS, tokyobike unified its shopping experience and has since enjoyed:
- A unified view of its store, stockist, warehouse inventory
- 2x more online sales from in-store pickup orders
- Faster sales cycles, down from 30 days to under one week
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The challenge: Disconnected online and in-person shopping experiences
With ecommerce now playing an important role in tokyobike’s customer journey and accounting for the bulk of revenue, problems began to arise. Tokyobike’s POS system, Lightspeed, didn’t reliably sync with its online store. This limited how it could serve shoppers and made for a frustrating customer experience fraught with errors and paperwork.
“When you’re a small team, time really matters,” Juliana says. “If your team is taken away from things that grow the business to do small, laborious things, you need to find tools to help do those things faster if you want to scale.”
For instance, offering popular fulfillment options like in-store pickup was impossible. If a product was purchased online and in-store pickup was selected as a delivery method, Lightspeed POS would not mark the item as reserved, which increased the risk of that product being accidentally sold.
Shoppers also couldn’t see which bikes their store had in stock online prior to visiting, which led to an influx in avoidable phone calls. For staff, checking stock availability was also challenging since they were unable to see inventory levels across store locations, stockists, and warehouses from one system.
It got to a point where our customers and staff were equally frustrated with the limitations. We knew something had to change.
The solution: Switching from Lightspeed to Shopify POS
Once both customer and staff frustrations reached a boiling point, tokyobike switched from Lightspeed to Shopify POS to unify its sales channels. “It just made more sense logistically to have everything in the same place,” Juliana explains.
Setting up Shopify took “very few steps,” says Juliana. “The migration was really easy for us. All our inventory, sales, and customer data synced from our online store, the card reader was easy to connect, and we were ready to transact in a few clicks.”
Now, staff can see real-time inventory availability at each store and in their warehouse. If a shopper is interested in a bike but isn't ready to buy on-the-spot, staff can email order details so they can complete the purchase online when they’re ready. Since Shopify POS connects seamlessly to their Shopify site, the store associate who sent the email gets credit for making the sale even if it happens online.
If a shopper wants to buy a bike that’s too big to take home, staff can close the sale in-store and ship it to the customer’s home address, something that wasn’t previously possible but often requested.
Perhaps the most notable improvement is in its in-store pickup. “Now, we can fulfill in-store pickup orders without any workarounds—everything can be set up from Shopify,” Juliana says. "Oftentimes, in-store pickups end with customers discovering and buying accessories when they come to pick up their bikes. Customers might realize they need a lock, a helmet, and maybe a bell. All of a sudden, an online purchase has driven in-store sales, too.”
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Feedback from our store teams is that Shopify POS is way easier to use than Lightspeed. It feels intuitive and is really easy to learn and get comfortable with.
The results: Shorter buying cycles and skyrocketing sales
With Shopify unifying the business, tokyobike is set up for long-term success both online and offline. Staff benefit from reliable inventory, sales, and customer data, while customers enjoy a more convenient shopping experience online and in person.
As a result of unifying its sales channels, tokyobike doubled its online online sales from in-store pickup in less than six months, and its sales cycle shrunk from nearly 30 days to just under one week. “From the moment customers decide which bicycle they want to actually paying for their order, our sales cycle is way quicker now than it was with Lightspeed,” Juliana says.
Juliana credits those improvements to a connected buyers’ experience that lets shoppers research or purchase tokyobike’s bicycles however is most convenient for them—whether that’s online, at showrooms, or a mix of both. “It’s impossible to think of retail and ecommerce as separate. Brands have to blend physical and digital to give customers the best experience.”
Connecting our online store and retail stores with Shopify unified our brand. Now, customers can begin and complete their purchase wherever and whenever they want.
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