Dear Bike Shops, Own Your Brand
It is a funny thing, this time of life that we are living in. That marketing and the “hype” can change someones thoughts and feelings so deeply. A great commercial can change your views of a product more than 10 reviews. The lure of a new bike, new brand, or different culture can be simply pulled from the color of a jersey.
One large goal I have right now is to empower and connect that of bike shops and bike minds across the Southeast. In my travels I hope to pull, piece and play match makers to make the area I love so much to be more bike friendly.
There is one very blatant thing I am seeing as I travel across my land.
We are Eating Each Other’s Dinner
Competition is healthy. I promote it, thrive on it and it drives me. Attempting to be competitive by playing in a ball game I don’t understand due to lack of confidence and self awareness is another thing completely.
How many people do you know that poke fun of someone simply because that person has what they want?
Too many shops are looking at their competition for direction on where they should be going with their own store.
Why? Why are you selling road bikes when you are never on a road and have no one in your shop that road bikes?
Why? Why did you start selling tri bikes when you secretly make fun of them, you’ve never gone from T2 to a run. You don’t know what it means to need to change your bike fit to make this better.
Why? Why are you still ordering 26″ full suspension bikes when you only recently sold the one you’ve been sitting on for the past 8 months?
WHY? Because they are.
You brought in road bikes because you saw Joe’s bike shop doing well with road bikes. You wanted a part of the 1% pie that is road cycling. You took valuable floor space from your thriving mountain sales and put road bikes among the showroom. You brought in more shoes, and higher end spandex. Maybe you started stocking aero bars because you thought that’s what would sell. You have to send someone to fit school because no one in your shop rides road, or has ever had a road fitten done.
You did all this because Joe’s bike shop is doing it.
What are you good at?
Do you only commute and tour? I can guarantee you can sell the crap out of it if you own it. Be proud that you are a commuter. Show off your bike, feature it, OWN IT.
Let Joe’s bike shop be a good road shop. If you aren’t a road shop, that’s okay. Be what you are good at. Send the roadies to Joe’s and work with Joe’s to send you the commuter and mountain bikers.
There is a Bigger Fight
Instead of competing with Joe’s bike shop for those 100 roadies you have in your town (and say you hate roadies), how about we figure out with Joe’s bike shop how to convert more people to bikes from golf, hiking, camping, kayaking, tennis & eating nacho’s at the local bar.
I don’t know about you, but I would love to OWN that 1% of the market if together we are all making the market bigger instead of splintering the market and making it weaker.
Hold on, wait a minute
Please don’t confuse this rant with saying every shop should specialize in one segment. I know many shops that cover the wide range of niche’s very well. They empower staff members, the buyers are educated, the owners are hands on. All very good…no GREAT things.
What I am saying is that looking at what the guy is doing across town to help you figure out what you should be doing, or allowing it to dictate what you sell or stock is wrong. Believing in what you do, marketing yourself, owning your brand and believing in bikes will get us all much further.
The bike shops in the same town should be fighting for the same rights and message.
We are all doing this because we love bikes and we want to make money. Now let’s get more people on a bike.