Bike shops are a time-honored business that can thrive in most local markets. Most cycling enthusiasts invest in their own bike shops, inevitably seeing it as the best way to monetise their passion. Here is a 2021 list of the best bike brands as chosen by Bikes Reviewed.
However, being enthusiastic about cycling and bikes won’t turn your bike shop into a success story. While knowing about cycling and bike models is crucial to running a bike shop, it’s equally important to understand the know-how of running a business. Not just any business, a bike business in the age of ecommerce retailing.
So we have put together a few factors which will address many issues and turning your bike shop into the great business you always wanted it to be.
Some Facts about Bike Shop Business in General
Biking has become popular once more and is actually quite hip as commuters seek more eco-friendly and less costly ways to travel. Cities, in particular, are investing in getting people to cycle to work to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions. This, of course, means more business for bike shops, right?
Well, don’t conflate the profit potential of bike business in general with the profit potential of your independent bike shop. People are buying and renting bicycles with renewed interest for sure.
However, this demand has not translated well as big business for independent bike shops. Smaller bike shops are facing major challenges mainly because of online shopping.
Consumers can order just about anything and have it delivered to the home. Independent bike shops reached a new high in 2001, but since then the number of shops has nearly halved, according to statistics provided by the National Bicycle Dealers Association.
On the plus side, bike shops are not closing like retail stores in North America. In smaller cities, mostly, small, independent bike shops tend to thrive. SwifytERMon
Ways to Make Your Bike Shop Business Great
It’s important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all package that can fix a money-losing shop. However, there are certain steps all bike shops and aspiring shop owners can take to minimize the risk of failing and increase the profit margin. Here are several suggestions that are highly likely to achieve exactly that:
Learn about Digital Marketing
Even if your bike shop is brick and mortar, your clients will be mainly online. Most modern shoppers research their purchases online using laptops and smartphones before actually showing up at a store.
Potential clients would also look up bike stores in the area when shopping for a model. If your bike shop does not have a digital presence, it might as well be invincible.
You will have to design an excellent, mobile responsive website and then also market it using various digital marketing techniques like SEO, CRO, and content marketing.
If you are a lifelong cycling enthusiast, marketing terms like “evergreen content” may seem quite alien. Doing a Google search for a topic and looking up the Wikipedia page is not the best option to educate yourself on serious matters like your business.
Specialise in one aspect
People don’t buy a bike just because it’s a bike. They will consider things like brand, type, and model in advance. Likewise, people may not show up at your bike shop because it’s just a bike shop.
Your store must have a distinguishing feature that makes people want to show up. For example, the distinguishing feature could be that your bike shop is the only one in the state. Since that is unlikely, your bike shop will have to find its specialness in other ways.
The best way to get people to come to your store is to specialize in something. For example, yours could be a mountain bike shop, a women’s bike model store, kids’ store, or a European brands-only bike store.
In any case, find a niche and cater to a specific clientele. This is how online retailers find their audience. Do your research and find out about the people most likely to show up at your store. Then, cater to that group to build a loyal following so you can thrive in the years to come.
Decide whether to Sell Budget or Luxury Models
This is another aspect of making your bike shop distinguishable. There are two very specific markets out there for luxury versions of things and budget version of things. Bikes are no different. Your shop can be an all-in-one store where people can find both budget and luxury models.
However, being either a “budget” store or a “luxury” store will attract a particular kind of customer, one that is most likely to stick with your shop come hell or high water.
What your bike store needs the most is a loyal customer base. So choose which end of the income spectrum you want your customer base to be.
Sort Out Business Finances
One common reason many small businesses like independent bike shops fail is due to the owner’s inability to separate business finances from personal finances. When you are your own boss, it’s easy to give yourself personal treats without feeling like you are taking resources away from the business fund.
Figuring out finances and making sure all business expenses are accounted for is one of the best things you can do as an owner to make sure that your store is functioning as it should.
Consider Investing in an App
When was the last time you searched online looking for a restaurant? You probably do it using your smartphone or handheld device. The same logic applies to your bike shop. People will be looking it up online, particularly using smartphones, and a lot.
Therefore, it can be worthwhile investing in an app that makes your brand more visible to the target audience. Developing an app can be an expensive venture. Do it only if there are calculable benefits from the investment.
Get Listed on Google Business Directory and Increase Web Presence
Get your bike shop business listed in the Google business directory. There’s a massive advantage here. The Google algorithm favors shops listed on Google business. That is to say, if your shop’s contact information is listed, then it will easily show up in Google search results.
Increase your business’s web presence to encourage word-of-mouth marketing. As mentioned earlier, if your shop is not attracting attention online, it will just die a slow death.
Start & Sell via your Social Media Profile
There’s no better place right now to advertise online than on social media. Get your bike shop social media profiles on multiple platforms that resonate with the target audience. For example, if your target audience is made up of people in their thirties, then Facebook is a great place to pay for targeted ads on sites they frequent.
If you really want people streaming into your bike shop, then there should be a great online campaign involving social media. Social media is an aspect of digital marketing. Expect to learn it as you go, just like with digital marketing overall. Take a look at these details for advertising on Strava.
Offer Something an Online Shop Cannot
E-retailers are definitely taking business away from local-owned shops. But there is always a way to beat an online shop at its game. Your small bike shop could offer something the e-retailer cannot, such as free physical inspections and sample rides, to attract local customers.
Additionally, small bike shops can also partner with online stores to drive real-life and digital traffic both. The point is to get on with the connected marketplace and start incorporating digital aspects into your bike shop to keep pushing sales and not lose out to a solely online store.
Engage with the Local Community
Local engagement is crucial for small bike shops, even in big cities. Engage with the local community, which in turn can buy from your shop or promote it around town. Get your shop involved in community activities and events like donating free bikes. It will help promote your shop’s brand and attract new clients.
Local customers are the most loyal and reliable customers all around. And the best way to make them part of your shop’s target demographic is to engage with them.
You can try the above suggestions to improve your bike shop one aspect at a time. Not everything is fully guaranteed to work and some suggestions may not even be applicable to your bike businesses. Nonetheless, as the shop owner or manager, you will have to start somewhere to improve sales and meet profit goals.
Personalise what you offer to each consumer
We are all in the peloton at some point, and at the front if we train hard-enough and are dedicated. But it’s always the individual people remember. The winner usually. That’s how we all like to be thought of, and it is no different in the relationship between you and your race, and you as a retailer when speaking to each one of your customers. You are just one, but all customers remember the retailer who goes the extra mile for us, get’s us exactly what we want, and remember’s us when something specific becomes available. So should your marketing.
Predictive personalisation software (PPS), to auto select products for each individual consumer based on their own unique buying an viewing habits, remembers all the purchases and impressions each and every customer makes when coming to your site. from which it perpetually calculates which products are most likely to be bought next by each individual consumer. Without needing you to do anything, it is 100% automatic, it sends a couple of emails every month, offering those products unique to that individual.
It runs alongside any email campaigns you have might do on mailchimp etc, but saves a fortune in time, delivering 20x the response, keeping you always in front of your customer, letting them know you’re still there, which helps keep them loyal to you. An average 1500% ROI, delivers a typical 10.5% additional online t/o. At £300 pm for a 30k database, it is highly recommended.
The amazing returns are available to experience without commitment, on a month’s free trial from SwiftERM, with help installing it on your platform, should you wish.