Independent bicycle retailers should expect cycling demand to increase and stay there
Bikes, like cars, need to be maintained in order for them to fulfill their purpose: transportation. Many jurisdictions have already recognized this, allowing bike shops to stay open serving their communities during these difficult times.
With most businesses closed, many working from home, and home-schooling, cycling is about to transition to an adventure vehicle for everyone. People are going to see all that is possible with life on two wheels and they are going to enjoy it. They will savor the whoosh of the wind against their face, blood pumping in the legs, landscape passing by and how alive the bike will make them feel.
Many people are finding themselves enjoying the feeling of freedom. Families riding together, shoppers riding to the store, or a simple few miles to clear the head.
We could see an increase in product and service demand; thus, putting pressure on our systems that are already pressured by the recent economical happenings. Rising cyclists number is our industry goal, so how can we best prepare for the upswing?
Visit #Bikes for some good ideas from other experiences.
Give the best customer service experience possible.
People may be entering or calling a bike shop for the first time ever in their lives. Make the moment enjoyable, memorable and streamlined. Understand you may have a bunch of first-time cyclists on your hands. Prepare to equip them with the knowledge that every beginner will need to know. Explain helmets and pumps, and what they will need to fix a flat.
Adapt your practices and systems.
You may have to close your store or alter your hours — but the demand will still be there. Become creative with ways to deliver bikes to clients and continue to offer fit and service appointments. Create a new rider package, or box up energy food supplies for a month and sell creatively.
Hire people to help.
As businesses are talking about letting staff go, you may need to think about hiring staff to pick up and drop off bikes, build incoming bikes, meet service demands, or answer the phone. Think about increasing your open hours by extending your phone-in times to answer questions and take orders. Stay open as much as you can.
Provide the “Experience”
While we may not be able to gather and lead rides, you can still be a great resource of knowledge. Turn to an online navigational app and map out and share your favorite riding routes. Work with other local businesses to have riders pass by and pick up a take-out snack or coffee. Give riders direction on local trail maintenance that could be done. Send out a suggested ride for families to take. Go ride yourself and post images with directions on how others could create the same ride route.
Work with suppliers.
Check in with your suppliers to ensure product availability to meet demand. Consider closeouts or prior year models to fill the needs of those looking to enter the sport without breaking the wallet. Consider new vendors to fill the additional needs of your growing customer base. Make sure you have a resource to offer kids, family, road mountain, and e-bikes. Stock up on the essentials: tubes, lube and other repair items.
Show your customers you appreciate them by creating fun things that they can take part in online. Ask them to post images of their ride and share their routes. Consider a contest for the best family cycling picture, or the best bike lean background. Consider building a loyalty program to make your customers feel special and build long term clients.
Plan for Continued Growth.
The cycling industry is about to see another big boom; one that will continue as new riders find the joy of life behind two wheels. Set the shop up for continued success. Monitor POS and see what people are buying, adjust your buying habits toward that. Now is not the time to devalue service or goods, instead explain the time and art of bicycle repair done right.
Tap into new concepts of sales and delivery and how we can cater to the ever-changing needs of the customer.
The bicycle is a means to a healthy lifestyle. More riders are about to enter the sport and enjoy the positive benefiting effects of bicycling.