Better Bike Industry

Pearl Izumi Driving Retail
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Driving Retail Success: Store Atmosphere Part 1: Take The Sniff Test

Presented by: Bruce Schofield, Retail Services Lead, Pearl iZUMi

Having unpleasant odors, is one of the quickest ways to get your customers to leave your store. So what can you do, and how do you know if your store smells?

Here are a  few things to consider to keep your store odors in check.

  • Check in with your some of your better customers ask them if your store smells, if you get a yes you need to address it now!
  • The ideal smell is a scent that is just under your perception, consider using a aroma service to get it right.
  • Rubber is part of the cycling industry, however the smell can overpower a stores atmosphere. Try keeping the bulk of your repair and replacement rubber out of the retail area.
  • If you sell wetsuits, try using an auto air-freshener hung right with the wetsuits.
  • Keep personal food items off the selling floor and put the waste in the trash outside as soon as possible.
  • Vacuum your floor and dust on regular basis, make sure the bag in the vacuum is changed regularly.
  • Take the sniff test on a regular basis, if you have a female staff member use her for the test. I have been told that women can detect smells better the men.

Sign up for these weekly tips by sending Bruce an email at: brsignup at pearlizumi.com for Pearl iZUMi’s DRS Tip of the week and receive merchandising tips to help you improve your retail presentation and sell more.

Pearl Izumi Driving Retail
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Driving Retail Success: Keeping your soft goods areas looking new

Presented by: Bruce Schofield, Retail Services Lead, Pearl iZUMi

Summer is the best selling time for most of the country, and the last thing you want to do is change things around. However if don’t keep your store looking new the customers who frequently visit won’t see your inventory, because they think it looks the same as always. Here are a few things you can do to keep your soft goods areas looking new.

• Rotate your floor fixtures 180 degrees.
• Flip your color stories around.
• Change your mannequins apparel.
• Add some variety to your anchor wall by adding shelves and hangrails.
• Switch out your props on the floor fixtures and anchor wall.
• If you double display some items rotate those displays.
• Change the foliage to reflect the season.

Example of basic anchor wall with variety added

Sign up for these weekly tips by sending Bruce an email at: brsignup at pearlizumi.com for Pearl iZUMi’s DRS Tip of the week and receive merchandising tips to help you improve your retail presentation and sell more.

Bike League Pedal Equality
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Bike League: Pedaling Towards Equality

The League of American Bicyclists sent out the blurb below about bicycle rider equality.

Bicycling has more than doubled from 1.7 billion trips in 2001 to more than four billion trips in 2009 — and youth, women, and communities of color are playing a key role in shifting transportation demand towards safe, accessible, and equitable bicycling for all. A new report from the League and the Sierra Club, “The New Majority: Pedaling Towards Equity,” showcases analysis and data on the changing face and new leadership in the bike movement nationwide, as well as key challenges and opportunities to advance equity moving forward.

Read more on the Bike League.

Infographic of Bike Commuting
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Infographic: Where is Bike Commuting Growing?

Reposted from BikeLeague.org

The past decade has seen dramatic growth in biking, with the total number of trips more than doubling from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009, according to the National Household Travel Survey.Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, Bike to Work Day will be celebrated in hundreds of communities nationwide on Friday, May 17, highlighting the health, economic and community benefits of bicycling with local commuter convoys, energizer stations, breakfast rallies and more.

Where has bike commuting grown the most? In Bicycle Friendly Communities(BFC) that have made smart, strategic investments to make biking better.From 2000 to 2011, the bicycle commuting rate has risen 80% in the largest Bicycle Friendly Communities — far above the average growth of 47% nationwide and more than double the rate of 32% in the cities not designated as bicycle-friendly.
In fact, in many Bicycle Friendly Communities, including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Denver and Lexington, Ky., the rate of bike commuting has more than doubled since 2000.

Click here to see the full infographics.

“I see the dramatic increase in ridership on my own daily bike commute,” said League President Andy Clarke. “And it’s definitely more pronounced in those communities — like Arlington County and the District of Columbia — that are proactively improving conditions for bicycling and following the Bicycle Friendly Community blueprint.”

Looking for bike commute data for your area?

  • Click here to download 2010 bicycle commuting data for all 375 cities included in the American Community Survey
  • Click here to download bicycle commute data from 1990 to 2011 for the 70 largest U.S. cities, including percentage of bicycle commuters and percent change
  • Click here for 2011 state commute rates, including bicycle commuting by gender
Bicycle Friendly State Colorado
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Colorado Ranked 2nd in Bike Friendly States

As the move to Denver, CO gets closer, Emily and I are researching more and more about biking and outdoor activities. Becoming familiar with bike routes, day trips and places to explore will allow us to feel quickly at home and adding various levels of excitement for our next chapter.

Everyone knows how Colorado is an outdoorsman dream, especially a cyclist. The latest rankings of bike friendly states from the Bike League only shows this more!

Landing in 2nd place only behind Washington state. My current home of North Carolina is down in 28th place! I’m excited to see what it will be like to be in a little more “forward thinking” bike state.

Suspension Experts
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Shop Branding Ideas from Suspension Experts

A few photos from one of the best branded shops in the Southeast, Suspension Experts.

Women And Bicycles
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WABA’s Women & Bicycles Program

WABA (Washington Area Bicycle Association) is putting together an education and outreach program to get more women on bikes! While the program is still in the infancy it seems they have obtainable goals and mission to begin with. I’m excited to follow along with what WABA is doing and how these efforts can be duplicated elsewhere.

From WABA….

Why is getting more women on bikes a critical cause?

  • In 2012, women represented just 22.7 percent of cyclists on the road in D.C. According to DDOT, that’s a slight drop since 2011.
  • In Women on Wheels, April Streeter writes, “New bike commuters are overwhelmingly male. Data reviewed by researchers John Pucher and Ralph Buehler show that almost all of the recent growth in cycling in the united states recently can be attributed to men between 25 and 64 years old. Pucher and Buehler found that cycling rates are just holding steady for women, and have fallen sharply for children.”
  • Our women’s bicycling forum identified three top barriers for getting women on bikes: safety (fear, safety concerns, inexperience/confidence, harassment), logistics (facilities, time commitment, weather, gear, money), and perception (misconceptions, double standards, and professionalism).
  • We aren’t the only group at work! Through Women Bike, the League of American Bicyclists is working at a National level to encourage women to facilitate solutions on the local level.

How is WABA going to fix these problems through the Women & Bicycles program?

  • Ten “Roll Models” will be selected to mentor women in their friend, family, church, and work groups
  • Roll Models and mentees will be invited to a series of bike meetups, group rides, and workshops that will mix practical advice and conversation about how to incorporate cycling into one’s lifestyle with socializing and low-key hanging out.
  • Non-participants will be kept abreast of the program, so they’ll learn more about the issues facing women on bikes and be inclined to encourage their friends and family to bike, regardless of gender.

We don’t want to sit around and talk about what’s discouraging women from biking, so we’ve created a program centered on peer-to-peer encouragement, information, and experience through events.

Want to learn more? Visit WABA.org

Fat tire wheelie courtesy of Chris
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Frostbike–A bicycle non-professional at a bicycle industry trade show

A guest post by Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA

So, I know my byline up there says that I represent Loose Nuts Cycles when I write.  The truth is that I am by no means a bicycle industry professional.  I ride my bike to work and around town, love a mountain bike ride, help out at the local velodrome and am marrying a bike shop owner, but I have never been paid to ride or work on bikes or to be knowledgeable about bicycle-related things.  I am a bicycle non-professional.

This weekend, my partner (owner of Loose Nuts Cycles) and I flew to Minneapolis so that he could attend Frostbike 2013–QBP’s annual conference and trade show.  I originally signed up because I have some family in the city and wanted to visit with them, but I was also curious about what went on at bicycle industry gatherings.  I’m in public health, so I’m used to peer-reviewed abstracts, break out sessions, suits, and networking events when I go to a conference.

Before we even left Atlanta for the frigid northern lands of Minnesota,  I knew I was in for something different than the expert-packed, abstract-ridden, brain-overwhelming days of public health conferences.  Chris forwarded an email to me with the subject line “2013 Frostbike Beer Hunt”, which described a scavenger hunt-type activity that you could complete at the vendor expo in order to earn “a 22oz. bottle of limited-edition Frostbike beer that was brewed and bottled by the QBP Vendor Sales Team”.  It’s not that we public health folks don’t have fun at our conferences, but we’ve certainly never hosted a Beer Hunt.  I could tell that Chris’s “professional” trip was going to be a very different kind of professional than I was used to.

Essentially, our schedule was this:

Friday–arrive in Minneapolis and find hotel.  Go to All City Bikes party (via a party bus called the Night Rider) and have beer- and bike-related fun.

Saturday–Go to QBP headquarters.  Check out the vendor expo for the morning.  Eat delicious lunch provided by Thompson and QBP.  Ride Surly fat bikes in the snow.  Back to expo.  Return to hotel for dinner.

Sunday–More expo. Take tour of QBP headquarters.  Eat more delicious lunch.  Ride more fat bikes (Salsa this time).  Win stuff at a raffle.  Back to hotel.

Monday–Sit on butt.  Fly back to Atlanta.

After4 bicycle packed days, these are the things that stuck with me:

  1. Fat tire bikes are awesome, especially when used for their intended purpose–snow.

    fat tires

    fat tires

  2. QBP likes girls.  My name tag said “Dealer” which probably helped, but all of the brands and bike professionals with whom I spoke treated me very equitably, like I knew as much as Chris did.  They made sure to look at both of us when talking about products.  I liked the feeling of not being talked down to and treated knowledgeably, even if I wasn’t actually knowledgeable.  I hope that Frostbike 2014 includes seminars for bike shop owners about how to make women cyclists feel like that in their shops.  It seems pretty rare in the bike world.
  3. The bicycle apparel industry apparently hates women–I’ll rant more about this in a later post, but women’s bicycle clothing continues to be made to look exactly like men’s cycling apparel but with an added flower or ruffle.  I saw not one piece of clothing at the entire show that I would be excited about wearing.
  4. POC Helmets look awesome–awesome enough to reduce how dorky I normally feel when wearing a helmet.
  5. Brooks still makes beautiful, drool-worthy leather products–I fell in love with this Brooks bag.  Oh yeah, and this bag is pretty amazing in the grape color.
  6. The Surly display.  They had obviously put a lot of thought and design into their space, even though it was just temporary.  Plus, the new Big Dummy cargo system premiered, which was exciting.
    Custom painted Moonlander just outside the Surly display area

    Custom painted Moonlander just outside the Surly display area

    New Surly Big Dummy bag and top plate

    New Surly Big Dummy bag and top plate

     

  7. There is a common sense of purpose between the Frostbike attendees.  Even though people didn’t know each other, they shared a priority and experience that connected them.  It sounds like hippy talk, but it made Frostbike feel welcoming and warm.  The feeling helped to re-energize a lot of attendees (including myself) about riding, even in the middle of winter.
  8. Kenda’s new tube vending machine–this is being tested in several pilot areas before it will be available to the mass market.  Pretty fun product.

    For all those times when you need a tube and your local bike shop isn't open to help you

    For all those times when you need a tube and your local bike shop isn’t open to help you

I was prepared to come back and report that professional bike trade shows are just an excuse to have a good party and talk about bikes all weekend.  While partying and talking about riding bikes and actually riding bikes was essentially all that we did for 3 days, I was surprised at how much actual business got done.  Vendors with whom I spoke were really excited and helpful when talking about their new products.  Bike shop owners were stoked that these new products met the needs of their customers (with the exception of women’s cycling clothing–ugh! Still unreasonably pissed about this).  Everyone wanted to ride bikes and generally the atmosphere at Frostbike fueled that fire.  It was fun to come home and be stoked to get on my bike and know that thousands of other people were doing the same thing as they returned home from Frostbike too.

Pinterest Retail Board
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For the Love of Retail Experiences

When you pair my love of design and retail you have a very, very, strong passion for the “retail experience.” What is a retail experience? A mix of great customer experience, accessorized displays and a well laid out “flow” of a store.

As I travel across the country, visit more bicycle shops and share stories of retail experiences with shops I am slowly watching a transformation. No more than 5 years ago most bike shops looked much like an auto parts dealers, aisles of bikes, slat wall, grid wall, and really anything that you could hang a bike or product on. While there still are many of these slat walled shops around you can watch the smarter shops transform into boutiques or speciality shop, REI’s and Ikeas. Less slat wall, more story telling and a beautiful EXPERIENCE.

Amazon and the online retailers of the world are changing what a bike shop has to do to be relevant. A good local bike shop will be three things: 1. A resource 2. Pillar in the local cycling community 3. Deliver a retail experience.

To encourage this retail experience I have started a Pinterest board to share others photos, my own from travels and hopefully encourage more shops to step up and create better experiences for their consumers.

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