What do you look for in a bike shop?

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by mellow_emily, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. mellow_emily

    mellow_emily New Member

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    Hey Ladies!

    New to the forum, thought I'd give an intro.

    Live in Texas and ride mainly as a commuter. Essentially I just LOVE to ride my bike, and I use it as my main form as transportation. I dabble in road riding and mountain biking occasionally as well, but my first love is fixed gear cycling.

    Anyways, I wanted to pose a question to you guys as well. I work at a bike shop full time, and my goal for this year is to make my shop the go-to shop for women in town.

    So what is it exactly that you ladies look for in a bike shop? Is it helpfulness of employees, selection of womens specific items, the overall look and feel of the shop, or something else completely random?

    Any and all responses would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to make my shop the best it could possibly be, and the most approachable shop for women.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. CalicoCat

    CalicoCat Member

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    This is a great question! There are a ton of bike shops in my area, and am still to find the PERFECT SHOP. Some shops are too expensive, some have rude employees, some have little good merchandise, etc.

    My PERFECT dream SHOP:

    1. Employees who treat women like the paying customers we are. There are some shops that I walk into and am ignored for what seems like forever, as I watch guys come and go and get great service! Not cool!

    2. Lots of women's clothing/gear. You know, more than one rack of women's cycling shorts among 5 racks of men's shorts.

    3. The third, and most important thing when it comes to enticing women to frequent your shop, is, in my opinion, the type of service you perform. Some women hate performing routine maintaince, like lubing a chain, fixing a flat, adjusting a derailer, even pumping tires. If a women comes in to have these things done, she does not want to be ridiculed, she just wants the service done with her pride somewhat intact. And she DOES NOT want to pay $30 to mount a tire, or $40 for a safety inspection. If these tiny things are done free, she will be much more likely to come back and probably buy something next time!

    4. SALES! Especially ones that result in affordable clothing! Nobody is actually OK with spending $100 on shorts. They do it because they have to. . .
     
  3. Spindrift_ME

    Spindrift_ME New Member

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    I agree with all the points CalicoCat made, but especially No. 1. I've been cycling for just over one year and was totally ignored in the first shop I visited, despite actively trying to engage an assistant. I was in there with my daughter looking to buy two bikes, two helmets, two sets of knicks, two pairs of gloves etc etc etc. We bought elsewhere. I popped in one other time to buy a tube and the same thing happened! So won't be back ever again.

    A year later, I upgraded to my current carbon fibre Cannondale, my husband has subsequently bought two bikes, not to mention all the clothing, shoes, and accessories between the three of us. That shop has missed out on thousands of dollars from my family alone, and obviously I don't recommend it to my friends.

    The other important thing is that assistants are knowledgable and can clearly and patiently answer questions and give sound advice, particularly on women-specific issues. There's no such thing as a silly question!

    On the matter of housekeeping: I'm not going to be attracted into a shop that is dingey and dirty, so it needs to be clean, with items easily accessible, and adequate, clean fitting rooms (not full of junk!)

    In short, add to CalicoCat's list:
    5. Respect and attentiveness.
    6. Knowledge.
    7. Cleanliness.
     
  4. nuliajuk

    nuliajuk New Member

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    I'm put off by employees who automatically treat me as if I'm a beginner. I'm over 50 and have been riding - including a few years of racing - for longer than many of the young employees in the local bike shops have been alive. So don't assume that I don't know anything about bikes just because I'm female.
    Oh, and how about some women's apparel in sizes other than "extra tiny"? Not every female cyclist is a little 5'-1" 100 lb. sprite. Mens clothing comes up to size xxl, so how about a few larger female items for us amazons?
     
  5. campncamp

    campncamp New Member

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    I agree w/the previous posters remarks. The one right before mine is right on: "I've been riding since before these guys were born!" Amen.
    The problem of rude, condescending 20-something male bike shop employees is so pervasive it seems endemic to bike culture. Nevertheless it never fails to infuriate me & make me vow to never return to any perpetrating shop. Unfortunately, there are only so many bike shops in any given city, and when all the dudes act like this, you run out of choices! So here's my suggestion: if you want a bike shop to be inviting to women, why not hire women to work there? I've never actually seen a female bike shop employee, but surely they must exist. I don't doubt there's discrimination in hiring by the (likely) overwhelmingly male owners. Can't otherwise explain it. Plenty of women know plenty about bikes and cycling. Get them in your shop! Also, it should be common sense (& common courtesy) to treat others as you'd like to be treated, but apparently it's not, so you may need to train employees on this concept! Finally, to ensure you keep a welcoming environment, have a feedback mechanism--something as simple as a suggestion box, so you can be informed if anyone -- male or female -- has a negative encounter w/one of your employees.
    On a more positive note, I'd think bike maintenance & other basic classes would lure me to a bike store if the class was taught by a woman. You've probably already thought of this, but you could sponsor local women's racing teams or provide jerseys to youth groups -- kids have mothers & mothers may shop at some point! Best wishes on your new endeavor!
     
  6. VadarStrikesBack

    VadarStrikesBack Well-Known Member

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    Its not going to happen because men like me advise other men about what other men like and dislike. Men dislike being told how to make/build/construct or maintain anything technical or practical in nature by a female. They dont like it.

    I do not understand the biological chemistry behind this. I just know what I know. Having said that there are plenty of women working bike shops (at least in Australia). Mostly they are banished to behind the counter duties. Men like having a female smile at them at the point of sale because their little minds wander to juvenile after thoughts. This is good for business goodwill.

    I am tired of women complaining about this issue. If you have been riding bikes since before 'dudes' were born then my advice is simple - here is your opening line:

    "Hi my name is (insert name here) and I have been riding and racing bikes for nearly 25 years. I am specifically interested in product category 'x' or 'y'. Can you offer any informed advice on any of this?"

    What you will find is that when you take away the obligation of the shop assistant to make 'assumptions' about your life and experience their responses drastically improve. Its not about being arrogant its about making them aware of the level you are on.

    The other good trick is to enter the store and just walk straight past the shop floor area to the work shop. Even if the gun shop mechanic is working on a bike just say hi and ask an informed specific question. They will tell it to you like it is. If they try to fob you off to a shop assistant just stand your ground and say 'no I asked you cos I respect your opinion'. Men eat that sh1t up.

    Good luck.
     
  7. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    Doesn't bother me a bit to have a woman give me information or advice. I have known some men that does bother though, I've even had some work for me over the years.

    I've found most of the men who have a problem with women being in a technical position fall into 2 categories: They are either are old enough to be from the era when "a woman's place was in the home" and everything else was "men's work", and they just can't get past that. Or, they are still young enough to be unsure of themselves and a woman telling them something makes them feel inferior.

    I'm sure there are different cultures in other countries where religious beliefs and local customs would also have an impact male and female roles, fortunately I haven't had to deal with that.
     
  8. bilalamjad3

    bilalamjad3 New Member

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    i agree with you that is a great idea.
     
  9. shipkin89

    shipkin89 New Member

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    Hi all im new to this whole world of cycling!

    I was wondering if anyone could give me tips on what type of bike to buy?

    x
     
  10. drissel

    drissel New Member

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    I too work in a bikeshop and found that having Women Specific Design, help alot, not just the PINK it and SHRINK it stuff. I attempt to engage each customer about where they ride and attempt to help them find new places and treat each person as a person, not just a form of income...Just be a people person and actually interacting with people, either men or women, if you treat the customers right they will be back and word of mouth...if you treat them as beneath you forget it unless you are the only shop around. As people get older they tend to go to places where service is prized over cheap price... I will pay more for something if I get treated decent.
     
  11. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    Good for you. That's called good customer service!
     
  12. bilalamjad3

    bilalamjad3 New Member

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    i bike shop
    i looking a good bike.
     
  13. waldowales

    waldowales New Member

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    I bike shop I sometimes visit, (when my first choice doesn't have something I need), has a couple of female employees. One is so-so, the other is an arrogant, clueless, biatch, with an attitude problem. Probably hired because she is female and works cheap.
    I think the key is competent, friendly people regardless of sex.
     
  14. ItsikH

    ItsikH New Member

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    Trust - which requires loyalty. I work with the same shop - privately owned - for 12 years. It's a family business - now owned and operated by the son, a person I know and trust.
     
  15. hsg

    hsg New Member

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    Give out free Coffee- the rest will fall into place ;-)
     
  16. crumejack

    crumejack New Member

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    First of all I need Good and friendly customer service and product selection are typically most important. Knowledgeable staff that is approachable and open to experienced and non-experienced riders. Quality selection. Honest recommendations from sales staff.
     
  17. jock.c

    jock.c New Member

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    What do I look for in a bike shop? ... Bikes
     
  18. dangerousbiker

    dangerousbiker New Member

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    New Products...

    A bike shop should have friendly and knowledgeable staff. Newbies will love that
     
  19. bcandy

    bcandy New Member

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    As woman who is new to biking, I think providing a knowledgeable caring staff is key. I want to buy a bike so badly, but every time I go to a bike shop near me and they simply ask what are you looking for and I say I'm not really sure, the assistants walk away and say call me if you need. But I feel like simply training the employees to ask: "what kind of riding are you planning to do?" would eliminate many of concerns. Since both experienced riders and novice riders can respond without feeling like they are being talked down to or simply ignored.

    Convenient hours also help. Maintenance programs and generous return policies are other things I consider.
     
  20. masi rider

    masi rider New Member

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    Sponsor a Ladies Night Ride ( C ability) once a week. 20 - 30 miles with experianced riders who can keep the group together and know the route. Give out free water bottles with your logo on it to all first time riders in that group.
    Make it a shop where riders can come and fill there bottles in the middle of a ride or hang out and catch their breathe with out being hassled to buy something or leave.
    Have a membership, $25 dollars a year and get 10% off any accesories for the year plus a fall party at the shop where you give a discount to members on stuff that you got to get off the floor and new stuff that is coming in.
    Not only fix/maintain the womens bikes for them, but also show them how to do it if they want to learn, but offer it, like ( your tube has a hole in it, i will change it for you, would you like to watch, that way if it happens on the road you will know what to do) (plus you just sold 2 tubes, a tire lever, co2 catridge and a seat pack.)don't just take it in the back and wahlah its fixed.
    And what all the women above said!
    Good Luck!
     
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