I want to get a debate going!!!!

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by IEatRice4Dinner, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. IEatRice4Dinner

    IEatRice4Dinner New Member

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    ok i work at a Local shop. im noticeing our buisness is slumping while our competition is getting better. i would like to know what You think a good bike shop should have.... do consider as many things as possible as far as bikes. Im going to focus one the main ones for us road, bmx, mtb. I think the bmx dept is not bad (cause i run it lol) so consider MTB and road. but think about as much stuff as you can.

    so what makes a good shop?
     
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  2. badhat

    badhat New Member

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    cute flirty sales girls with nice butts

    hip, punkass tattooed wrenches are actually really helpful and friendly but look mean so that you feel cool when they're nice to you.

    a tap or a watercooler for topping off your bottles when you stop in on your way out of town to grab some gels

    remembering my name

    more than just two brands of accessories and bike...

    a TV thats always playing tour highlights or stunt videos or something
     
  3. Markz

    Markz New Member

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    How about bike maintenance clinics?
     
  4. badhat

    badhat New Member

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    seconded.....
     
  5. astroluc

    astroluc New Member

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    yeah... that!
     
  6. IEatRice4Dinner

    IEatRice4Dinner New Member

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    id say were known for having good service, we have about 3-4 employees usually not a big shop.

    as far as brands we stock, gt, schwinn, mongoose, jamis, marin, haro, alot of fuji

    the guys down the street lol, trek, bianci (hacked that) lemond, fischer, felt, giant

    usually our "high end" bikes usually are 1-2 1000$-1200$ bikes in both catagorys
     
  7. philso

    philso New Member

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    knowledgable employees. here's what i was actually told a few weeks ago when i asked about the the difference between 2 bb cassettes: "well, the more expensive one is better built."

    even with my head up my b_tt i can think it through that far (most of the time).

    i'd agree about the more than 2 brands bit.

    also, a lbs not too far from me has a couple of boxes of used/ going out of fashion parts. good for trying things out before popping big bucks for new parts. and maybe a box of saddles people can ride around on for a while.
     
  8. philso

    philso New Member

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    cute flirty sales girls with nice butts, who you can take out to dinner if you spend over $100. same with the hip, punkass tattooed wrenches for gal customers. ;)
     
  9. PCC

    PCC New Member

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    Repeat after me, boys and girls, "NO SALES PRESSURE!" That wasn't so hard, was it?

    I hate when I walk into a bike store and the sales guy sees $$$$$$. If I'm going to spend my money in your store I will do so, no salesman needed. If you want to chase me out the door without spending a dime then lean on me a little. If I need help I will ask you for it. I don't want to have to chase you down for help, though.

    Being kind and courtious helps. Being helpful helps. Being cute and bubbly just wants to make me want to flirt with you.
     
  10. badhat

    badhat New Member

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    the sales pressure thing is a good point and ithink it- along with most of the other suggestions- all kinda point towards something that's always stuck out in my head regarding the shops i've spent a lot of money at and referred people to over the years:

    the really goos shops feel like more than just a place to buy stuff or get a cassette replaced, they feel like nerve centers of a community. whether they are or not, they put some effort into fostering that vibe: remembering names, being cool to every customer, not just the guys with platinum cards and shaved legs, making people wanna hang out there and feel like its worth going out of thier way to visit you instead of the other guys.

    when i first moved to fort collins, i was still riding my gary fisher utopia hybrid (i'd been saving for a while to get a nice road bike, but overall the utopia worked ok), and i wanted to find a good bike shop so i did a web search and found the names or a bunch of shops in town and went into each of them over the course of a few days and was surprised that a couple of them were downright snotty about the utopia and - by association - me.

    then i found that a few others had decent enough gear, but felt really utilitarian and the staff were obviously just doing a job, but the place i finally settled on had all the things i mentioned in my first post, plus most of the other things suggested in this thread... they just made me (and everybody) feel cool. it was as simple as that. they made you feel proud to ride a bike, and they just make the place fun... bike film festivals, trail days, activism, live tour coverage in july, the wrenches help out out front when its busy, the counter girls help build bikes when its slow, everybody is there cuz they love bikes and it rubs off on the customers- even if they're just buying tubes or just window shopping, they remember that for next time, and they trust people who really seem to love bikes.

    so from then on i started going out of my way (by a couple of miles) to buy my tubes and gel and stuff from them, and eventually bought a $2K bike from them, and got my folks to buy my brothers b-day bike from them, and will buy my next bike there as well.

    i dont wanna bash the other shops but for anybody looking for a great lbs in fort collins, lee's south is a great place and i'm not on payroll, so this isnt spam, but they deserve a plug for being really cool and helpful and above all- fun.

    so i guess just make sure you're doing everything you can to make the place fun and cool. make people LIKE you, for the most part, you can buy tubes and gels anywhere, but for me at least i like the idea that my money goes to support a business thats the center of a community, rather than just a transparent attempt to exploit that community...
     
  11. IEatRice4Dinner

    IEatRice4Dinner New Member

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    i would also like to know what type of stock u expect a bike shop to have... any bit of info helps.... all im doing is trying to make my shop a better place....
     
  12. baj32161

    baj32161 New Member

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    There are some really good points here, most of which are simply solid retail sales practices. Personally I like it when my shop remembered my name after I bought my bike. They are 45 miles away and I went to them because I had heard about their service. In my experiences I think the most important thing to the customer is to feel that he, and his business are really appreciated, and that should extend well after the point of sale.

    Just my 0.02

    Brian
     
  13. scotty72

    scotty72 New Member

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    About 3 months ago, my regular bike shop didn't have an inner-tube I needed. I walked down the road (100 yards) to the nearby shop.

    I bought the tube. About a week later, I was walking by, to the other shop when the guy I bought the tube from waved and called out "Hey, Scott - that tube OK?"

    Needless to say, I went in.

    Not long after that, my wife was with me. The guy struck up a conversation with us and was nice to my wife. Since then, we have bought 2 new bikes from them and do all our bike shopping there.

    Point, remember the name and be (or pretend to be) interested.

    Also, if I come in to buy something like a water bottle ($2), they will check the tyre pressure guage, check the pads etc. Not try to sell me anything. He might say, "better have a look at those pads in a couple of months".

    That sort of stuff makes you want to go in.

    Today, I walked in with my daughter to buy a tag-along. There is a newish guy there. I said - "Can we have a test ride, I want to know that my kid will be ok on it." He hesitated - didn't seem to want to. I damn nearly walked out. His boss overheard and said, no problem.

    I know it would be a pain in the arse to attach the hitch etc. (took about 5 mins). But I wanted to be sure my kid was going to be ok before handing over the $$$. In the end, they took the time to reassure. They got the sale, and several more no doubt.

    The right brands etc. are important to your road warriors who clock up 500 miles a week. For the average family guy, commuter or guy starting out, which must be a fair slab of the business, being friendly, helpful and even the water fountain are the key.

    Scotty
     
  14. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    I already go to the "other" shop... :D
     
  15. wheelist

    wheelist New Member

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    I haven't bought anything from my LBS yet, despite going in there twice with the intention of doing so (for the fixie I'm STILL building). All I've received is plenty of advice from one of the wrenches (on how to source free parts), some chatter from the other wrenches, and a free bearing race 'cause it wasn't worth opening the till for.

    Sweet.

    I guess they know, as I do, that such excellent service wins customers, and that when I do need something important (like my next bike, new kit etc.) I'll return with my wallet prepared.

    So, to reiterate the point (already made by others): BE INTERESTED in your customers.

    The other thing you should be doing is sponsoring teams. You've got BMX, MTB and Road teams to involve - sponsorship (in the form of discounts) will encourage the whole team (and the people they associate with) to use your shop. You in turn will gain from the experience of all these keen riders - they'll provide feedback on parts, advice on settings etc.

    That's my 2c then.
     
  16. huhenio

    huhenio New Member

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    Bottom line ... I am here to haunt you.:D YOU HAVE TO FINISH YOUR BIKE~~~
    I got already mine done .... and I am the champion of the procastinators!!:mad:
     
  17. Don Shipp

    Don Shipp New Member

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    Give stuff away.
    Seriously; when someone buys an expensive wheelset, don't charge extra for the skewers; when they buy cycling shoes and clipless pedals, throw in the cleats. Other places do this, and they will get the business if you don't.
     
  18. huhenio

    huhenio New Member

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    @Don is right with the give stuff away.

    That is what gets my business every time ... friendlyness and free stuff!
     
  19. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    A few scattered comments...

    While I agree with much that has been said already, because you only stated what your high end bikes are worth in each category, I would urge you to concentrate more on the moderate level equipment. You might make a killing selling a $2,000 bike compared to a $700 bike, but if you sell three at $700 and the accessories that go with each of them, then you will be doing very well.

    Be honest, or at least appear honest. When the only difference between the $1000 bike and the $2000 bike is 2 pounds of weight, then tell them... If a person has a set budget, and feels that they need to save more in order to make a good investment, you have lost an immediate sale, and there is a chance that they won't buy, or will buy elsewhere.

    I bought a Brooks saddle at my LBS, and even though they didn't remember my name, the next time I went in they asked how the Brooks was working out. If all you can remember is what was purchased, you can still make it seem personal, and show that you pay attention to your customers. (I am terrible with names, so I think this is a good alternative to remembering names if you have a similar problem).

    I would also underscore an earlier comment. Keep older components on hand. Many of us do just fine on 10 or 12 speed bikes, and have no interest in replacing our whole drive train instead of replacing a single component.

    My LBS also discounts, even though they are a small shop. I could still buy some things cheaper online, but their prices are close enough that I don't usually bother.

    Don't assume that everyone wants what is hot this week/month/year... variety is a key! I know it is expensive to tie up your inventory with stuff that doesn't sell quickly, but I do like variety when I look around. THis however is not as important as the personal service.

    I went into another LBS, and it was obvious that they were there to sell bikes, and not the few other things that occupied a total of about 20 feet of wall space. I spend almost as much on the other stuff as I do on bikes, so if I am typical, I think an LBS should recognize that. In fact, I suspect the shops that make you walk past all of the other stuff to get to the bikes work with me, so put the impulse buy stuff where it does the most good. If people go to a bike shop, they know you have bikes, emphasize the other things by placing them apppropriately.

    Keep your service area visible, so that people know you will service their bikes as well. Unless you see the repair side of the business as only a pesky necessity, you should show it off.

    If you don't have something, offer to order it quickly. I asked a simple question about a repair stand recommendation, and the owner had a catalog open...

    I asked about routes to cycle in the area, since I am new, and was immediately told about some good routes, and which areas to avoid due to safety concerns due to traffic speed and road conditions.

    The bottom line is that you won't be able to sell at the prices of an online mega-store, but do sell for a little below retail. Also, be sure to add the thing that online can never provide, and that is the personal touch.
     
  20. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    The Ski Rack here in Burlington runs a cross promotion with a local satellite provider during July. They roll a big screen tv into the shop and show the Tour live. They have free coffee, raffles for gear, and discount contracts from the satellite provider. It's the kind of thing that probably doesn't cost the shop too much, and for those three weeks the place is packed. And those people come back because they also have a great service department.
     
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