Bike Shop Girl | 3 Reasons Bicycle Retailing is Failing Consumers
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3 Reasons Bicycle Retailing is Failing Consumers

Change the Game

3 Reasons Bicycle Retailing is Failing Consumers

This spring and summer has brought a lot of great conversation around the bicycle industry and how we can possibly grow instead of shrink. I kicked off this summer with an article on how The Bicycle Industry is Sick, Rick Vosper has written several great (lengthy) articles on Red Kite Prayer, and people keep chiming in on how women can save the industry. As I said in my original article, women won’t save the bike industry but rethinking the game and how we are doing business could.

Why is the Industry Shrinking?

The bike industry has been flat for several years, and if you pay attention to inflation that means the bike industry has been DOWN for several years. The market segments that are growing seem to be attracting current riders, not new ones, and the over arching distribution model that we are all working on is simply plugging holes and not pushing us forward. As a whole, our industry has put the blinders on simply focusing on the ways we have been doing business instead of how the consumer is interacting, researching, and buying in 2015. We are failing our customers and as a veteran of this bike world for over 15 years I see 3 major flaws in the current work plan. These start from the manufacturer, through vendors, and down to bicycle dealers.

We Aren’t Meeting Consumer Demand

More and more local bike shops are trying to pigeon hole their brands to only sell to brick and mortar stores. Bike dealers believe that the internet is one large reason their business and the bike business is shrinking and that forcing consumers to buy those brands from a physical store is the answer. Wake up call, if your business plan doesn’t include selling to customers through the channels they want to buy than your business plan is short sited and flawed. Consumers want to buy today, they want two day shipping and they want to do it all from the comfort of their home, work, or cell phone. We are LIMITING consumers buying power by telling them, actually forcing them, to drive down to visit their local bike dealer. We are GAMBLING sales numbers and money in the bank that the local bike dealer will provide an amazing customer experience. A customer experience that needs to surpass that of the internet because remember we asked that person to take time out of their day to go visit an actual store so the experience needs to beat that of the internet.

In 2015 consumers are consuming, researching, and buying online. We are keeping consumers from large ticket items because we are not allowing them to be bought online and shipped to their house. There is a lot of grey area in this topic, but I believe Trek is giving their dealers a huge advantage by allowing consumers to buy their bikes online. The dealers that harness this advantage, do their homework on why a consumer didn’t want to walk in their store, and then provide an amazing experience based on the findings of their homework could knock this out of the park. This move from Trek has actually tickled my interest in opening a Trek dealer, any potential partners out there?

We Aren’t Good at Marketing and Communications

Manufacturers, distributors, and bicycle dealers aren’t the best at marketing, telling compelling stories, and communicating. We must connect with consumers, and give them reasons that punch them in the gut to experience the joy and passion of bicycling. While I believe we need athletes and superheroes to look up to stop giving 80% of your available marketing dollars to racing. Look outside of the bike world, do market research (the real kind with surveys, user groups, and a lot of analytics), and help break down the barriers that are keeping people from buying $500+ bikes. Stop idolizing the spandex and $8k bikes without giving the commuters, recreational riders, and adventures enough time in the spotlight. Make a plan for your brand and then communicate it out to your reps, your stores, and help the end business (bike shops) convey your message better.

A few of my favorite brands for marketing include GoPro, Patagonia, and Rapha. All of these brands have a decent price tag attached to their brand, and while their product will last it is their marketing machine that is making the sales for them. When I say any 3 of these brands names to people they attach it with an emotion, and not an actual technical feature. They talk about a video they watched of a dog running to the beach and how happy it made them feel, or the latest challenge they went against to earn a Strava badge of Rapha honor. How can we take these strategies and apply them to our brands, or stores? How can we create a community out of storytelling?

We Stink at the Business Side of Bicycles

This is the largest flaw of them all and the one that will require the most work. Selling to consumers in 2015 it means upping our technology, hiring a web-designer or online sales manager. Marketing better we need to hire from outside of the industry. Teaching basic business sense means that we need to rewrite the playbook that the industry has been resting on for 40+ years.

By my estimate, in the next 10 years the number of bicycle dealers will shrink by 2/3rds. The amount of good bike dealers in a town will compare to that of a good camera shop. I can count on one hand how many camera shops we have in Denver currently, but I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the bike shops. The dealers that will be left are the ones that have a solid business plan and run their shop to make money. By doing this they can afford the best staff, training and benefits. The standards for working in a shop will be higher, and your business knowledge will need to outweigh the number of years you have spent in the industry. Owners and managers will need to understand the foundational building blocks of any great business, sales, marketing, operations and human resources. They will also need to have experts on their staff, or as hired consultants, for each of these areas to continue to push the business forward.

I am willing to bet that 70% of industry employees reading this feel intimidated, or perhaps put off. You’ve been in the industry working your ass off and feel that your company or shop should provide you the training you need to succeed or perhaps you have found success and you think your shop or brand is safe in today’s market. Our industry is failing, it is shrinking, and great shops are closing their doors because they can’t hire people to help them be successful in 2015. If you really love this industry and want it to last then do it and yourself a favor by continuing to learn. Do this by understanding the basics of accounting, management, sales, process improvement, buying strategies, and any other business term that sounds exciting to you. Don’t stop pushing yourself, and whatever company you are working with.

Introducing Shift Up Strategies

One of the largest reasons bicycle retailers are failing is the lack of business knowledge, business experience (not just bicycle industry experience), and the passion for continuous learning. This fall I am launching an affordable online learning platform for retailers to brush up on the basics and to push themselves to make the bicycle industry better. The training will include 1 part education, and 1 part homework that can all be completed within an hour of time. What we have been doing for the past 40 years is no longer working and we can’t keep expecting consumers to walk in our doors, or guilt them into buying from us because we are a local bicycle shop. We need to be more, and Shift Up Strategies is going to change the game of bicycle retail to do so.

If you want to know when Shift Up launches, sign up to receive an email.

  • Jeff Koenig (2nd VP, NBDA)
    Posted at 13:49h, 08 September Reply

    Arleigh, I appreciate your passion for the business but I won’t be taking your course. As a student of economics, you have just outlined the path to large-brand oligopoly and the end of the LBS. I’m not saying that this is not *a* strategy, but if you want to appeal to bike shops, it is not *the* strategy and there are others already established in this space that you want to be a consultant in who are far ahead of you trying to make this the strategy — and failing.

    Ask yourself one question: if eCommerce is the way and LBS can grow their local market, where are the examples? I travel a lot in this industry and everywhere I go I ask dealers if they have started up eCommerce yet. I’ve talked to dozens who have. None of them report anything other than incremental sales (which may have come to the shop anyway), the gross profit from which have been far outweighed by the costs of operating the site.

    eCommerce is a one-trick pony — a game of price, period. Unless you are willing to be a discounter, you will fail competing with 4000 other eCommerce outlets. I’m available to you if you want to walk through the math and the concepts, and I can’t promise a one-hour course to master it. I’ve been studying specialty retail economics for a long time.

    • Arleigh
      Posted at 16:29h, 08 September


      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Our industry will continue to shrink if we don’t meet consumers where they are shopping. If you would like to talk about the economics of it, look at how much B2C is done via omnichannel outlets and how many of those outlets are available to current merchants. In order to grow and sell more bicycles the traditional model of selling only through brick and mortar stores will need to change. Forcing consumers to change their buying habits won’t be the answer.

      Thank you again for the comments. I love the open dialogue and respect your point of view.

  • G.E.
    Posted at 15:27h, 08 September Reply

    I agree that these are all very probable causes of retail success or lack thereof.

    As a consumer, to be perfectly honest, most of my cycling-related purchases over the last several years have been completed online, through avenues that are not local (or even close to local). Even the few local purchases for cycling-related items tend to be stores that have a heavy online presence. I love strolling through bicycle retail establishments, and I appreciate having an expert to offer advice in critical moments of need (plus I’ve highly tactile, so I like to be able to see and touch with my own hands), but I have not had the greatest luck with finding 1) knowledgeable folks working in retail stores; and 2) the stores having the parts, accessories, clothing, or bicycles/frames I am seeking. These are my two biggest frustrations.

    I know that many don’t want to pay the prices found in brick-and-mortar stores as well, and sometimes the price differences are huge (or add up to big numbers if buying multiple parts and pieces). Just as an example of a small item, I recently needed cables (not the housing, but just the cables) for a build and decided to drop by my local bike shop as my impatience was growing and I wanted to get the bike completed. The total cost for the cables was $22. Just a few weeks prior, I picked up the same cables WITH the housing and the cost, including shipping, was $13.

    Personally, I have developed stronger/better relationships with bike shops across the country that have online stores and an array of choices. They have been great about emailing/calling when there are minor mishaps, and they don’t mind talking me through dilemmas or problems I’ve encountered when they come up. I would absolutely prefer to give my money to local stores because it would be a part of reinvesting in my community, but I also will not support a store simply because it is local if the employees are rude, lazy, unhelpful, and/or lacking in knowledge, skill, or expertise. Additionally, it’s challenging to give money to a local store when they do not have in stock the item(s) I am seeking (which seems to happen too frequently).

  • Jen Charrette (@pedaladventures)
    Posted at 17:14h, 08 September Reply

    Hi Arleigh, For the past 18 months I have been developing elearning and other micro learning in Category Management and Sales for suppliers and buyers at the top CPG companies (Walmart, Whole Foods, White Wave, Red Bull, Nestle, Clorox to name a few). What you’re saying is ‘mostly’ true. For those companies the focus is on omni-channel marketing (how they can market and sell via multiple channels and formats). I’m sure most of the bicycle industry does not even know what omni-channel is. On that note we should talk offline as I may have some research for you to leverage etc… And also as someone that writes a fairly popular family cycling blog I have a hard time getting any bicycle companies on board while other very large non-cycling retailers and suppliers often approach me to work together. It just seems weird. That said as a former LBS owner I don’t really want to see them go away and I don’t think they have to if they focus on what works and what leading retailers are doing. You don’t see a lack of Apple stores although you can buy iPhones online. And Target isn’t going away. Omni-channel is here to stay and it’s not only about sales,promotions or eCommerce. It’s an integrated approach.

  • Scott McIntyre
    Posted at 17:16h, 08 September Reply

    Wow, many comments I have.
    Do patronized one particular shop of only three in my entire county. It was built from the ground up. It has expanded slowly. It’s the one that I took the best bike I’ve bought so far and they did extra and didn’t charge me because they didn’t mention it when I brought the bike to them. They lost money up front. I’ve been back about 5 times already. The last time I took a friends kid’s bikes because I didn’t have the parts needed. They had them done within my requested time for about what I was quoted. Why? I think because they are smart enough to look back over my customer history.

    Have I ever bought a new bike? Nope. Craigslist lets me not eat the depreciation. Sorry I know these shops are trying to make a living. I am trying to put three kids through college. Thank you very much.

    Live in one of the most popular counties in the USA. Top schools. But it’s suburbia. USA Suburbia does NOT embrace this activity. Have commuted to work for almost a full three years ( not counting that collarbone recovery time. ) Everyone knows I commute by bike. But I constantly get “AREONE OF THOSE I SEE ON THE WEEKEND ARE YOU? WITH THE SHINY PANTS?” Hell No! Sorry but my other thing is I HATE THE GROUP RIDERS IN MY AREA. They mess it up for everybody. They don’t ride smart. Three abreast. Head phone in their ears. No acceptance to roadway laws.

    Hey folks, this is not the Tour. My last group ride was a charity century. Several shocking comments. “You rode 100 miles on that? OMG, you don’t have clip-ons ( LOVE my Power-Grips ). You really aren’t that far behind everyone but still…….” Yep. And figured it out. Where did all those people go that I passed “on that”? They pealed off for the 32 and 67. Most did NOT ride the 100. But they still got the same shirt I did. Whatever.

    You are so right. Things are changing. Hey, they are changing for most businesses.

    Let me drop back to my chosen LBS. What is another bit draw? They have young people working that are passionate about bikes. They WANT to share their passion with the customer. The guy that owns the place see me every time. Many times I barely get a hello. My analogy…HE is the GPS for the shop. He knows the routes, leads the rides for the people already very hooked. Many of those spend the money. But my friend who’s kids bikes got worked on….if she had taken them to the two other shops 50% chance they would have laughed and recommended that they buy new bikes instead of sinking money into “those Wal-Mart bikes”. Well she wouldn’t have and in the end I have two young boys participating, with their “Wal-Mart bikes”, in an upcoming event. I’m predicting podiums for both.

    There is another thing. What is one of the fastest growing sports across several ages groups? Many adults itching to prove “they still got it”. Adults with MONEY. I KNOW you know this one. Triathlons. The LBS cannot let all that business walk over to the triple sport shop. Hell THEY mark product up. Way up. Carry some additional products.

    Anyway. I am with you. Have continued to follow you. But most would say. This guys has not earned his spokes. He doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    OK. Well. Here is my resume’ so to speak. Husband, Father, Cyclist. 3 year commuter (year round…not CO but my record was 22 degrees and it was still fun!) with a current tally of over 5K miles, best stable count was eight bikes at once, have worked two jobs and still went and “trained” 9pm – 11pm cause I’m crazy about biking, mult-sprint-triathlon competitor ( have podium-ed and give full credit to the bike on that one….people got ran down!), have coached “triletes” from super-sprints to half Ironman, done the century, done multiple 50+ rides, ride with cars/traffic in the Atlanta suburbs, done some mountain biking, done all the paths I can get to, had stuff break and walked miles back home and the one everyone knows me for…. mile 33 of a 70 mile “training ride” before coaching another sport all day…had the bad dog “interaction” busted it good. Shattered collar bone. Left phone in vehicle. Oh well. Got back on bike and rode another 5 miles to the next town. Then rode another 2 to the fire-station who finally got me off the bike. It’s a great story.

    I LOVE BIKING…. but it’s something needs to change for growth to happen.

    KickStarter is not going to save this one.

  • David Carrozza
    Posted at 22:30h, 08 September Reply

    Good thoughts but it strikes me that the discussion is just about new channels, business models and customer experiences. That may help you survive in a competitive LBS environment, but it doesn’t increase the number of riders or the size of the market.
    The industry needs to focus on how to make the “pie” bigger not how to steal a bigger slice.

    I think often about the automobile industry. Everybody drives because the car is: Easy, Safe and Comfortable. How do we transfer Easy, Safe and Comfortable to the bike? That will grow the size of the pie.

    • Andrew Johnston
      Posted at 01:34h, 15 September

      I like your approach …. make the pie bigger. The headwind we have though is the lack of suitable infrastructure which is not controlled by the cycling industry. For cycling to be a “Easy, safe and comfortable” attention needs to be spent on cycling infrastructure. From an equipment point, E-bikes are already a step in the right direction. There is decent growth in the MTB segment where infrastructure is simpler and bike parks and trails are cropping up at a rapid rate. This is where the focus should be to create this “bigger pie” …. demanding cycling infrastructure from our municipalities and governments.

    • Dean Henthorn
      Posted at 21:20h, 05 October


      I have been preaching what you said for the last eight years in the industry to def ears. While Lauren’s article is good, it doesn’t cover the point of stagnation of the industry. All of the skill sets she wants to teach only sell to people who ride. As Laura stated, the industry is severely lacking marketing talent. I know because I have called on most every bike manufacturer to give them what I believe is the answer to increased growth. I was shocked at the lack of knowledge most marketing executives had but I was dumbfounded to find out that they would not move off their butts because of fear. They didn’t know about anything but print advertising. Even when i presented all of the growth numbers generated over the 10 year period of the Armstrong, Landis, Hincapie, Hamilton era.

      If you look historically at the growth of cycling it exploded when we had tour de france riders. LA just happen to be the rider by which the industry benefited from for a major rebirth, but it could have been anyone with success. The difference was the mass media coverage that introduced the sport to so many. The consumer says, “if he can do it after cancer, I can at least try” and the story begins. Consumer goes to local bike shop and finds out there are many options, road, mountain, hybrid etc.

      Look again at the numbers inside the growth and it was predominantly road bikes that really blew up. Mass media covered road racing. Nothing more.

      In 2007 I created a TV show that aired on FOX Sports called Bicycle World TV. The show aired and was so successful in the Southwest Region that it was often the highest ranking show on the channel apart from the professional stick and ball sports. The network just kept scratching their heads and airing the show as reruns.

      I have attended seminars and watched the industry talk about growth in all their summits. They sell better POS terminals and web sites and tell you to get more involved in local events. Its like hearing a broken record.

      Show cycling in its full glory, whether that is the Tour de France, a World Cup Downhill or a beach cruiser ride to your favorite coffee shop and show the masses how to do it and you will see the water level rise. For everyone.

    • David Carrozza
      Posted at 22:46h, 11 October

      “Preach away…brother!” After returning from Interbike this September I heard some cool ideas and steps being taken to get more people on bikes. One thought I threw out there, which I admit is “BIG and CRAZY” but it’s BIG and CRAZY like JFK’s vision to “put a man on the moon and return him safely before the end of the decade.” What if the entire bike industry, public and private collaborators could get behind the first TRANSCONTINENTAL BIKE ROAD. Not ROUTE but ROAD. Just for bikes. Imagine that epic image of the GOLDEN SPIKE being driven at Promontory Point UT but now it’s the GOLDEN SPOKE, connecting East and West by bicycle.
      Crazy, maybe but what a statement to the commitment this country has to bicycling. A lot of very cool things could emerge from this real and symbolic step.

  • Scott McIntyre
    Posted at 11:45h, 09 September Reply

    WOW… David Carrozza has really, in a nutshell, hit the mark. After reading the other comments I completely agree with David.

    Why his over the others… well one just misses the mark. Hello I buy from Amazon because I get Customer Service and price. It’s also why I got to Publix over Kroger. Consider my consumer buying economics refresher free. One is very close…better than my crazy jumble but centers on again Customer Service and flexibility…One just wants to sell you something. As an I.T. person I am sick of hearing technology theories and promises about using DATA ( that people already have at their finger-tips) and calling it something “special”. And of course, my own crazy consumer based… rant.

    I’ll end and prepare for the flaming with this…What is the one area of bikes that always sells…over and over but never leads to very little afterwards? This is easy. No other business would could cut off the customer and get away with it either but this one might hurt a little so be prepared.

    Kids bikes.

    Who sells all of those. Big box stores. Santa ain’t running to the LBS.

    Why? Why no major brands really in the game? Why no growth? Why no customer for life?

    Remember your first car? Your second? The ones after that?

    Where did you go back to? Why did you continue to buy there? Or Not?

    That’s how “some” companies do it. Your college commuter. Your first married car. Then the bigger one.
    Then the mini van. Then the SUV. You can trade up.

    See the recent Mazda commercial.

    And you went back or someplace else because of the customer service. Either the sales side or the service side.

    Yeah, I could be that smart or that crazy. Time will tell. Does YOUR industry have the time?

  • Marc
    Posted at 17:10h, 10 September Reply

    I agree with David Carrozza, how do you make the pie bigger? I for one would like to see more industry dollars and marketing go to toward mountain bike access, trail maintenance, and construction of new trails. It’s amazing to see what happened to the number of mountain bikes here in Whitefish, Mt when the local, fairly easy “flow” trail system was put in right on the edge of town a few years back. All sorts of people are buying and riding mountain bikes now.

  • Steve Dalbey
    Posted at 19:11h, 10 September Reply

    I am 60. When I was 16 I worked in a bike shop and the owner (my boss) told me that if people don’t patronize their LBS, someday there won’t be one. Over the intervening years, with a few exceptions, I have chosen to do business with my LBS (or at least someone’s LBS). Over the years I purchased 13 or more bikes and incalculable parts and accessories for me and for my growing family from the LBS, just one over the internet, and have loved owning every one of them. More importantly, I have encouraged (successfully) my children to work with our LBS as well for their growing families. Maybe that’s one of the keys to success for the local shops – promotion of multigenerational loyalty.

  • Gary
    Posted at 05:08h, 11 September Reply

    Spelling could be better!!!

  • Leo Horishny
    Posted at 05:21h, 13 September Reply

    It’s tough. I agree with some of what you say,but as a 9 year now, year round commuter, I feel commuting, utility and transportation cycling is the direction to go for cycling in the US, HOWEVER, I don’t see how the industry can get people to want to make that paradigm shift,here in America. I hate to sound that way, but from my interactions over the years from non-commuters, not even non-cyclists, I’m stumped. I sometimes wonder if there’s something about the personality of people drawn to cycling that is attractive only to narrowly focused personalities or obsessives. The fact that I am considered “odd” because I ride recumbents has fascinated me all this time. There seems to be a typically focused “way” cyclists tend to be with not much acceptance for models outside the one view. I say that knowing I perceive the recumbent as “the” platform that should be the standard utility bicycle. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  • Leo Horishny
    Posted at 05:43h, 13 September Reply

    Dave Carozza is close to the mark, I just think the LBS owner of today isn’t able,for more than one reason, to be an equally capable sales person in more than one cycling niche, hence the fragmented cycling cliques we see in American cycling. Also, there needs to be more acknowledgment and mitigation strategies to answer Americans’ fears about cycling in traffic. Depending on your part of the country, this may or may not be a valid concern; I wouldn’t begin to tell someone they have no worries to face, not knowing their local drivers’ habits. As for spelling matters, I’m as spelling Nazi as they come, but missing that one word is not worth a comment, that’s just being an ass to make that comment.

    • Arleigh
      Posted at 18:52h, 13 September

      Leo – Thank you so much for the comment. I agree with you fully, dealers aren’t positioned or set up for success in multiple areas.

      Also, what word did I miss?!?

    • David Carrozza
      Posted at 19:10h, 14 September


      I agree with you that it’s hard to play in a lot of different sandboxes. You have way too many other things on your “to do” list, just running the shop.

      But, here’s a thought experiment. You might recall the iconic picture of the “Golden spike” being driven that connected the east and west rails for the first Intercontinental Railroad. Imagine over 170 years later the first “Transcontinental Bike Road”. What infrastructures would / could “emerge” from regular cyclist riding this TBR. bike shops, restaurants, camp grounds, hotels, bill boards, bed & breakfast’s, Local grocery chains with “bike only” check out lanes, a Triple A service for bikes, states forming a Highway Patrol for bikes California Bike Patrol. Self serve air, water and minor DIY repair stops along the way. Local bike shops could buy AD space on the bike road, offer emergency SAG and repair,

      Think how the impact of interstate highway system had on rural towns and cities. That many people suddenly driving through and by. How would your shop benefit it the TBR came through town? How might you support or get involved in promoting, developing and imagining opportunities?

      Sure this is a “big” challenge but it also underscores the potential to make a bigger pie. This same idea can [and in many cases is] be driven down to states, counties and cities. Keep thinking how can we make biking as EASY, SAFE and COMFORTABLE as driving a car?

      The bike industry, local shops, manufacturers, brands, etc can, are and should be the drivers of a major paradigm shift for this great form of transportation. I see this as being so much more fun, exciting and unifying than constantly fretting over channels, margins, show rooming, etc.

      I was involved in this same type of “bigger” picture in the Medical Lab field a few years ago and you see a lot of the changes in current direct to patient advertising now.

  • Sebastian
    Posted at 03:04h, 14 September Reply

    Hi, excellent read, sadly I was nodding along in agreement with all of the 3 main points.

    I am new to road cycling and have had a great summer getting to grips with riding. I sold my Scott Mountain bike and turned to magazines for help to buy a new bike, I think it was cycling plus. What a mistake, 1 hour later the magazine was on the floor. As it was just all 8k bikes, epic route reviews and lycra lycra. I did not know what to look for, my budget was not 8k not even£800 so it was useless to me. Thankfully I have a few brain cells and I am eBay savvy so picked up a Trek for under £500 with an aim to see if iI really do like riding in the rain in the winter. I understand that a magazine have to appeal to multiple audiences, but the barriers to entry are industry created!

    As a Product Manager by day, the voice of the customer is key to success and adapting to a changing market. Dictating from above is over!!

    Keep you the great work and reach out if you need any help!

  • Bike Tourings
    Posted at 05:53h, 14 September Reply

    I like what the folks at Fitwell Bikes are doing to not only sell their bikes via online purchasing but they offer a rebate to have the bike assembled at an LBS of the customer’s choice. The tech. who does the work signs off on it and the rebate is mailed in by the customer. Information is available at their site.

  • Lucy
    Posted at 09:19h, 19 September Reply

    As a consumer and a successful business person, who happens to be female, I find the biggest mistake the industry is making is marketing that fails to show me why I should buy a $2000 or higher price bike. I am not drawn to buy a $4000+ fat bike because a 25 year old guy can jump off a cliff on it or race some gnarly line. That has nothing to do with me and can be off putting if that is the only message I am gettting from the vendor. On the other hand, I do know that I need, want and have a $4000+ fat bike AND that it offers a lot of advantages to me as an older (50+) female biker. I have been showing my awesome fat bike to friends and strangers in my demographic and telling them why it is a bike they should add to their collections. So far, without being a bike vendor, I know of 10 people who have bought $2000+ fat bikes because I “sold” them on the idea. Who knows how many other folks who have ridden my bike and talked to me went out and bought a bike.
    This isn’t rocket science. The more a consumer sees themself making use of the product, the more likely it is that they will buy it. Many of us don’t see ourselves doing mid-air stunts, but we still have money to spend and an interest in better quality road, mountain and fat bikes; the industry needs to tell us why we need those bikes.

  • Eugene
    Posted at 21:14h, 19 September Reply

    All my childhood bikes were bought at Talbot’s Cyclery in San Mateo, CA. They’ve been attached to a very popular local toy/hobby shop for over 40 years. When I walk into that store, I see families, but when I walk into other bike shops I see mostly adults.

    It seems like a no brainier to me. Kids these days have a lot more recreational options to choose from. The bike industry needs to work harder than ever to keep young riders interested rather than hope they develop passion for cycling later in life. It’s the only segment where riders physically outgrow their bikes, making it potentially great for sales volume and foot traffic. There’s many different marketing opportunities here such as the perfect sized bike for certain age groups, heavily adjustable fit bikes for families who don’t want to buy a new bike for their child every 2 years, pre-teen bikes that with better components than traditionally equipped.

    When everyone is trying to sell $1500+ bikes, why not carve out a niche and get good at it instead? I imagine the reality of bike retail is that most profit comes from value-adds like accessories and services rather than bike sales.

  • christopher2016
    Posted at 19:27h, 03 October Reply

    A website can not Shake your hand, give you a kind word, inspect your bike, diagnose issues, talk with a cyclist about personal cycling problems that need solutions to improve the cyclist ride experience, Oh and and repair a bike,
    If you can not explain if and how a quick release changes the adjustment of a hub, how can you test for the changes, and make a correct adjustment? Why is facing a bearing surface important to a cyclist ride experience? How can a rider give you money for a process that is not clearly defined as a benefit to them?
    Can you only true a wheel in a reasonable time, how can you sell rounding, tension balancing, dishing without going broke?
    In these examples, how is building a better web presence going to improve customer service in your store? After all your store is what makes your website worth visiting.

    Digital presence is needed, it is important, really important, as is increasing customer service, and knowledge base. A web site will not improve customer service or make your business glow in the eyes of the cyclist customers.

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