Local bike shop day

opik_bidin
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Local bike shop day

Postby opik_bidin » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:35 pm

as the LBS are dying, can we have this idea of bike shop day?

https://www.bikebiz.com/features/now-is ... t-together

As the list of independent brick and mortar bike shop closures grows at an exponential rate, we’re also seeing speculation surrounding the roots of the closures grow. It’s no secret that ultimately, this period of instability stems from a number of core factors, the centre of which seems to be the progression of the online price-slashing trend. It doesn’t help that many of the biggest companies contributing to this trend have spent the past decade consolidating into industry giants, and in terms of runaway pricing, there is simply no room for dealers to compete with the consistent – and frankly short-sighted – de-valuation of its core assets.

Some have stated that the recent cull was inevitable given the ebb and flow of retail and bicycle popularity. The stores going under, they say, are the ones not moving fast enough to present themselves as a progressive hub of activity. Although this may be the case for some, it feels like an oversimplification given some of the surprising names making the list in recent months.

Are we honestly supposed to believe that respected pillars of local cycling communities – with carefully curated ranges, trusted mechanics and popular group rideouts – are simply not doing enough to stick around? Of course, even those who are working hard to combat the looming threat of online retail are also having to battle rising property rent, an unstable economy and import/export fallout from Brexit. For many, staying afloat truly is a war on many fronts.


When discussed at trade shows, meetings and industry events, the question frequently arising is what, specifically, can a company be doing to support the IBD? Ultimately, there isn’t one simple answer. Improved communication between dealer and distributor would go a long way for many – particularly those who feel their historic partnerships have been diluted in recent years. IBD-only products and impressive POS can provide a much-needed boost, and significant efforts are being made in this regard to ensure brick and mortar shops don’t simply become showrooms. We’ve also seen a rise in the number of start-ups looking to reach out to the IBD community with suggestions of mutually beneficial marketplaces, EPOS and marketing tools. It’s a complex issue, but at its core, it simply comes down to support.

In mid-April, the United Nations put the greater cycling community into the spotlight and declared 3rd June as World Bicycle Day. The idea was floated at the 72nd regular session of the UN General Assembly, and was championed by a collective of no less than 193 member states.

The event, according to the UN, will celebrate the “uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit, sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health”.

The UN also recognised that “the bicycle and the user fosters creativity and social engagement and gives the user an immediate awareness of the local environment” and that “the bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, healthcare and sport”.

The concept of a unified world cycling day has been floated multiple times by a whole host of activists, cycling bodies and the general public. Finally, the movement will have a definitive singular day to focus their efforts on. This means far more than simple acknowledgement; the creation of World Bicycle Day cultivates momentum. I’m sure we can all agree that a day in which advocacy for cycling is championed is a very positive move. One key element of the equation is not being talked about, and that is where the shops at the heart of the industry – the ones struggling more than any other single area of the cycling community – will fit into the plans. Yes, the creation of the day is a positive, but what’s the point if it doesn’t lead to any quantifiable change for those on the front line?

For a model of how such a movement can positively influence those at the core of an industry, we need only look at the humble LP. The music industry has faced its own ongoing transition in the last 20 years. Pirating digital music, giant streaming services and the death of the CD format as a key influencer have all prompted monumental shifts in the way consumers regard the music sector. Even the very device that sparked the digital revolution, the MP3 player, has itself been rendered essentially redundant by the progression of smart mobile devices. Who would have guessed that in an age where the majority of music is now streamed, the 12in record would make such an unprecedented comeback? The movement demonstrates the continued appeal of a physical product – one that any evolution of digitalisation may never replace.

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 14.42.17
The record, along with the record player, is a loved object, just like a bicycle. It is an object that people delight in owning not as a necessity, but as a statement about their lifestyle. Once again, the record industry has adapted to this shift in consumer values, and thousands of independent record labels, record shops and record cafés have sprung up around the world to meet the increased demand. From this renewed interest also came a small campaign to celebrate the industry.


Founded in 2007, when the industry was still in the midst of a crisis, the idea was a simple one; on a singular day, record labels would release limited edition vinyls, and consumers would head to their local retailer to purchase them – hopefully along with a selection of other products. The movement quickly swelled and in 2018, over 500 limited releases were available to purchase in over 200 UK stores from over 100 record labels. On the day, thousands of customers queued for hours, some overnight, for the chance to pick up limited edition releases and to support their local establishment.

In the week leading up to and following Record Store Day, the #RSD hashtag was trending on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. With the aide of the movement, record sales have seen a massive upturn, with a trade increase of 34 per cent since the start of 2017 to £88 million – the highest rate since the early 1990s.

With such obvious verticals between the two industries, isn’t it time cycling embraced a similar movement? The ball is already rolling, to a certain extent. Canada’s Bike Store Day, which took direct influence from its music industry sister, takes place annually on 24th March and is starting to gain a reasonable amount of traction. In March of this year, Walton-based bike shop Gravity Cycles wised up to the potential of mirroring the event in the UK, earmarking 6th October as the ‘official’ date on our side of the pond. Retailers immediately confirmed their support, as did members of the general public, but ultimately the campaign has so far struggled to generate the attention needed to launch a comparable and sustainable annual event.

IBDs need the support of the cycling community, their partners, peers and the media, so what needs to happen for such an event to truly take root and blossom into an event comparable to Record Store Day?

The investment from dealers is absolutely essential. “One of the main reasons Record Store Day is now a huge success is because it was the retailers themselves who took control and made the day what they wanted it to be,” the ACT told BikeBiz. “To make Local Bike Shop Day a success, we need every single retailer to get behind it and rally together to spread the word! Random Adventure’s Daniel Jones has done a great job getting retailers signed up to say they want to be involved in the day, and we are promoting these shops on the LBS day directory, but retailers need to make sure there is something going on in-store to drive customers there on the day.”

Whether this be simply circulating news of the event via social media channels and tweeting the #supportyourlocalbikeshop hashtag – or even hosting special in-store events to attract customers – remains to be seen. Ultimately, without the universal support of the dealer network, the idea is doomed to fail. Jones suggested: “This is the chance for your local bike shops to show why you should shop there. This is your day to show your support for the backbone of the cycling world; go for a demo ride, buy a bargain, see a talk.” These simple acts resonate far beyond a simple day’s event. If properly invested in, the day could present a chance to invite your local community into your retail environment, potentially for the first time. By supporting the effort, you may be opening up your business to a whole new clientele. This could mean a demo day, it could mean a barbecue for your customers, or it could even mean hosting a series of talks in-store. Not every ‘in-store event’ has to be a sale.

Distributors take note: it is equally important that investment in the medium comes from the other side of the industry. Every distributor on the planet extolls the importance of the local IBD to its local community; a National Bike Shop Day presents an ideal chance for them to put their money where their mouths are. In the music industry, this meant creating limited edition records.


Why shouldn’t this work for the cycle trade? Creating a limited edition downhill bike is a tall task, but corresponding with brands to create limited edition colourways of helmets, saddles and cleaning products? That is easily achievable. It’s also a chance to spend a little on some limited POS aides for your valued dealers. If your customer buys a new wheel, why not send them home with a branded #supportyourlocalbikeshop branded water bottle or tote bag or some cool stickers to shove on their laptops? It’s a relatively inexpensive move, but the customer leaves feeling like they’ve taken part in a fun event, and the dealer gets a sale that they wouldn’t have got on a normal day.

Ultimately it’s a concept that will either capture the imagination of the industry, or it won’t – in which case, it’s an opportunity wasted. As we ponder the significance of advocacy, another shop is losing the battle with retail’s modern demons; online retail isn’t going away any time soon and realistically, price slashing isn’t something that’s going to stop overnight, but with the embrace of wide-scale advocacy, we as a community can put the bike shop right back alongside the record shop at the heart of our towns and cities. Record Store Day has proven that people will make an effort for the things that they care about, and taking steps now could ensure that there’s a healthy and celebrated brick and mortar cycling industry for decades to come.

Eug1
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby Eug1 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:31 pm

A Local Bike Shop Day would be a great initiative to get behind. As long as it means I don't have to go back into those shops with terrible customer service, bad attitudes towards a supposed "non-cyclist", or who try and pressure you into purchasing whatever s**t is left over on the show room floor when you just want a decent bike service.
Give me a record store any day of the week

Tamiya
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby Tamiya » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:35 pm

Hah... what am I supposed to do on LBS-day? :roll:

LBS is a business not a charity. I go there when I need urgent supplies, parts or advice. I mainly return to the ones that look after me with good service... and most of those have been around decades.

There's probably increased competition from all the chain stores & 1-marque boutiques these days; the sheeple that HardlyNormal prey on might blame Internet/mailorder but c'mon, Australia has been mailordering since the early 80s if not earlier - it just used to be called "catalogue" sales!


IMHO if bike shops wanted to pump more biz, they should tie-in with pre existing promos like Ride2Work or Ride2School days... setup a popup bike repair on commuter route, mobile workshop on a bakfiet etc. Get your name out there & promote actively!

But nay... most of LBS don't bother. :? They must've too much business imho... everyone is "booked out" for 2-3wks at least, little chance of any walk-in same-day servicing. Guess if it works well enough for them, we needn't butt in to tell them how to suck eggs?


Record day huh. Anybody repopping 78s yet?

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DavidS
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby DavidS » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:41 pm

I agree, I go to my local record shop once a fortnight. I hardly ever go to local bike shops.

They need to do something if they want to survive.

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Thoglette
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby Thoglette » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:53 pm

Tamiya wrote:LBS is a business not a charity. I go there when I need urgent supplies, parts or advice.


I have two "LBSs", thousands of kilometers apart. I use each for specific reasons where they out-compete the "big box" retailers (who, for example, pretend that ETRO 630 tyres, loose ball bearings and reasonably priced freehubs no longer exist.)

I have another local shop who's doors I won't walk into. If it's not carbon and under five years old or under $5,000 they don't want to know you. Like the local XXXX brand car dealers who want $198 to book you in to listen to a body rattle, they've lost me forever.

The LBS I ride past most days, is not the cheapest place to buy stuff. But they've scratched my back so they're my go-to when I need to get something from SCV Imports or need something "normal" now. The coffee's pretty good too.

(Oh, my really, really, really Local BS is the vending machine in the end-of-trip facility downstairs at teh office. Tubes, lube and snickers - at only slightly inflated prices)
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1Rowdy1
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby 1Rowdy1 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:34 pm

My LBS is expanding ( Giant Frankston), doubling it's size, I could probably get stuff cheaper online, but they have a great workshop / mechanic, and offer sound advice, so to me it is worth paying a little extra on a few products, and I guess I'm not the only one otherwise I doubt they would be expanding the shop.

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MichaelB
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby MichaelB » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:20 am

(AT) opik-bidin - you do like to write some long and sometimes interesting posts :D

I like the idea of a support a 'local' (and I do for some things), and honestly, most of my latest purchases over the net have been either Bike Bug or Pushys.

Some of the other things you suggest are just not financially viable (limited edition bikes etc).

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AUbicycles
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:15 pm

A common theme by the industry is 'support your bike shop or they will disappear'. This is half of the story, as mentioned, bike shops are a business and for a number of them they simply haven't adapted to the changing market and rise of internet sales.

The options are:
1. Embrace the internet and use this as a sales channel
2. Compete against the internet
3. Do nothing


1. Embrace Internet Sales

This is playing the game and is not easy but a pitfall was that some bike shops thought they could 'do internet' for $3,000. They would set up a mediocre website and not look after it, not do swift processing and not follow up. This is a failure and waste of money that should have better been spent in a 1 page website (address / phone) and otherwise in offline activity.

Some shops really warmed to online sales and it is a continuing journey.


2. Compete against the internet

For some shops, they already looked after customers and their community while others need to adapt more. It can men changing the inventory, getting ride of products that are in a price-war online and going for other brands, focus on service and building the customer based with, for example, local community engagement.

Also staff training - looking after customers rather than been condescending, rude and unreliable. There are a lot of successful shops, maybe it is not such an easy ride and the work is still hard but if you hear riders rave about certain shops and mechanics, it is a good sign that they are doing something right. Even mobile mechanics services are an example of adjusting the business model.


3. Do Nothing

When it is business as usual and managers ignore the changing market, it is an easy path to failure. No longer can a bike shop survive by being the local shop. Within the industry, (from the defunct 'Bicycling Trade' and as services from various groups) - there has been a a number of initiatives to support bikes shops, particularly the independents and family style shops - from best practices to services. Unfortunately there were also a few rubbish services which burnt some shops and still are - but generally there have been avenues out their for shops who have been willing to improve their business and their sales.


--

I support my local bike shop (who are incredibly successful) when I can but not because I 'owe them', but because it is a fair service.

For a support to LBS day - it is a nice idea but still needs to be a give-and-take scenario where it is not just a charity exercise by generous bike riders to temporarily prop up bike shops who are not interested being better businesses, but rather bike shops would use this as an opportunity.

Tamiya
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby Tamiya » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:25 pm

AUbicycles wrote:A common theme by the industry is 'support your bike shop or they will disappear'. This is half of the story, as mentioned, bike shops are a business and for a number of them they simply haven't adapted to the changing market and rise of internet sales.

The options are:
1. Embrace the internet and use this as a sales channel
2. Compete against the internet
3. Do nothing


incorrect, there is a 4th option

4. Maximise LBS's competitive advantage of being a B&M

Bicycling is not my only hobby where the retailing has been significantly changed by Internet/online stores. In short, if you're only trying to compete on price & variety... it'll be commercial suicide trying to go against Amazon/FleaBay when you're only a sole trader high street shop. You'll never win just shoving boxes of product, especially when it's a commodity product made overseas & internationally widely distributed.

By staying LOCAL and B&M... stick to servicing & repairs, specialise in certain niches (hipster, BMX, etc) and only stock product required for routine servicing/repairs.

Right now it's still too-hard to get your bike fixed thru the mail, although there's some mobile mechanics that come to you with mobile workshop theseadays. LBS still got that cornered for all the residents within walking distance.

Biggest flaw in LBS business model for servicing is that bikes are inherently amazingly robust & they don't breakdown too often. Few customers will be regular, you'd be lucky to see them once every other year. Main "competition" is new bikes... both bigK and decent bikes... as both types are cheap enough to simply repurchase brandnew every few years rather than fix your wornout 3-5yo bike.


Maybe it's more a US or UK issue... our LBSes in Melb look like they're travelling ok. Must be good dough if 99bikes keep opening new stores everywhere here, new one pops up every month!

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AUbicycles
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Re: Local bike shop day

Postby AUbicycles » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:21 am

B&M as in a chain store like 99 Bikes or the Avanti shops I assume.

I guess that becomes an option as well particularly when the market becomes harder and this provides financial relief. An effect is usually centralisation in many aspects (e.g. branding/marketing or inventory management) which reduces the load.

There is a lot of flux with chain stores as the 'brand' and management and their decisions and finances have an impact.

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