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Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:10 am
by Ross
https://www.bikebiz.com/features/bike-shop-week

There are some UK specific things here (ie Brexit) but most of the discussion can be applied to Australia as well.

I have to say most of my dealings with LBS has been rather poor. I spent 4 hours visiting 7 different shops the other week looking to buy a chain keeper and had to explain to most of them what a chain keeper was (one shop still didn't understand after me explaining it and tried to sell me a chain whip and a cassette removal tool instead! :roll: ). Finally got one at, ironcally, the closest shop to home. I wanted it that day or I would of saved myself a lot of time (and money) and bought it online.

Another shop sold me totally the wrong size of bike and would allow me to ride more than a few metres around their sealed carpark (was buying a MTB).

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:33 am
by bychosis
For starters, I propose Bike Shop Week, seven days of working to rule by Britain’s independent bicycle dealers.

During this week we refuse, en masse, to touch internet-sourced products and bikes. No servicing of them, no passing on advice about them, no nothing. Blank them. It may even mean that people are discouraged from turning up on online-only bikes during shop-organised rides. Tough love.

What a great idea :roll:

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:08 am
by Neddysmith
I find generally it is always the over priced poor customer service stores which are complaining about online shops etc etc.

As far i can see there will always be a requirement for a LBS, sure maybe the overall number of stores maybe not, but in general there are always people who have no clue about bikes and looking to purchase new, or upgrade or buy bikes for kids or get bikes serviced etc etc, the percentage who actually know what they are doing and can purchase online and fix or service their own bikes i would think is pretty low.

So if these stores evolved and adapted and provided some decent advice and support they will be around for some time and survive

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:15 am
by RonK
This article is addressing the industry and in particular independent bike shops, not the public. The headline comment is actually addressed at suppliers/manufacturers.

It proposing more restrictive supplier arrangements to reduce online sales, and a boycott by independent bike shops against servicing customers who bought online.

I can think of no better way of further alienating the cycling consumer.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:18 am
by Kronos
As with everything, if you're not good at business then get out of business. The internet is here as is YouTube. You can't magically put the genie back in the bottle once its out. Of course as with everything just like car dealers, there will be a portion who don't want to, or can't be bothered with servicing their own bike. Then there will be a lot of people who don't want to order from the internet and find out what they ordered is defective/wrong.

Local bike stores have a place, the good ones will survive, the bad ones will fold, that's just natural attrition. I had an incident where I was out riding without my toolkit and suffered a popped inner tube. I walked down to the nearest local bike shop they were friendly and non-judgmental and sold me an inner tube for $10. Off I went on my next bike journey, but they established the fact that if I am in need I will probably come back.

Good service by knowledgeable mechanics means they have a future customer. This is what I would hope to expect from any decent bike shop. While its maligned to see the death of great American brands (Schwinn, GT, etc) and the push towards North East Asian manufacturing continues (Specialized, Cannondale, etc) It's pushing on the laws of inevitably where the Giants of this world can manufacture at lower costs and in many cases do it better than in America. I miss cycling in the 90s, but we can't change those inevitable factors we can only get with the times.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:21 am
by g-boaf
Ross wrote:https://www.bikebiz.com/features/bike-shop-week

There are some UK specific things here (ie Brexit) but most of the discussion can be applied to Australia as well.

I have to say most of my dealings with LBS has been rather poor. I spent 4 hours visiting 7 different shops the other week looking to buy a chain keeper and had to explain to most of them what a chain keeper was (one shop still didn't understand after me explaining it and tried to sell me a chain whip and a cassette removal tool instead! :roll: ). Finally got one at, ironcally, the closest shop to home. I wanted it that day or I would of saved myself a lot of time (and money) and bought it online.

Another shop sold me totally the wrong size of bike and would allow me to ride more than a few metres around their sealed carpark (was buying a MTB).


I must be lucky, my local bike shops are all staffed by people who are very experienced with bikes and know what customer service is about. Some of them are extremely good riders too and/or very good at coaching as well.

I'm happy to go to my local bike shop, they are reliable. They don't generally get to touch my bikes as I service/build my own bikes, but for consumables or parts they have what I want or get it quickly enough at okay price.Not the cheapest, but not most expensive either.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:23 am
by Aushiker
Neddysmith wrote:I find generally it is always the over priced poor customer service stores which are complaining about online shops etc etc.


Locally, it seems to be the Council's fault ... basically blame anyone and everyone except taking a look in the mirror seems to the mode of operandi by these business operators.

One local store which I had frequented daily for years early in the morning, never once got a hello, good morning etc and then I read in the local paper of her whining about the Council killing her business. Decided then to never go back. She just does not get it.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:32 am
by Kronos
Aushiker wrote:
Neddysmith wrote:I find generally it is always the over priced poor customer service stores which are complaining about online shops etc etc.


Locally, it seems to be the Council's fault ... basically blame anyone and everyone except taking a look in the mirror seems to the mode of operandi by these business operators.

One local store which I had frequented daily for years early in the morning, never once got a hello, good morning etc and then I read in the local paper of her whining about the Council killing her business. Decided then to never go back. She just does not get it.


It depends on where you live, here on the Sunshine Coast and small pockets within with an independent council such as Noosa, the council is quite restrictive down to what sized sign your shop can have down to "advertising pollution" and how many customers you are actually allowed to serve at one time (in the hospitality industry) councils can and often be restrictive. That does not however account for unfriendly behavior or an inability to offer customers the cordiality they deserve, that's just a lack of business sense and acumen

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:29 am
by Defy The Odds
Some bike shops get it, others are just plain rude.

Regardless of internet or not, a smile and some honesty goes a long way and this is not rocket science

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:03 am
by OnTrackZeD
When I got into cycling I went to a few bike shops looking for bike tools[set] and no one sold much at all. Found what I was looking for online and never looked back.

Change is inevitable just look at IBM if they where still selling typewriters what there business would be like.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:49 am
by outnabike
I had a few experiences I could do with out. Just because you look like a candidate for a land cruiser (which I have); Or a white falcon ute (which I have), some bike shops think it is ok to a lot of stories.

One wanted to sell me a ladies 3 speed internal hub bike when I wanted an Nexus 8 speed. (for my wife). He didn't know that I had a Sturmy archer bike as a kids bike for 8 years.

Bought that bike of a large shop in Melbourne, had the first service done and when I got home the gears had been adjusted badly and were all over the place. I looked at the manual and fixed them myself.

One sold me a new seat for that bike that he guaranteed would be great. Bought it back the next day as she hated it and no refund or exchange. Would not order the seat I originally wanted saying not available. (It was elsewhere and was great.)

I bought a fancy U lock that should be fitted to a frame for easy carrying, free fitting. Bike mech said it wouldn't fit my bike. I fitted the thing myself.

But.... There is a nice bike shop in Frankston that does great work and has a member on the forum......So all :D

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:10 pm
by MichaelB
For those with that attitude, happy to lose them. Simple really.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:18 pm
by 10speedsemiracer
Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges


Then stop with the 150% mark-ups.
I understand the issue with the distributor/warehouse/sales rep model, and the associated costs of doing business this way, but it still doesn't mean that $14 brake cable set should be on the shelf at $39.95....

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:58 pm
by bychosis
10speedsemiracer wrote:
Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges


Then stop with the 150% mark-ups.
I understand the issue with the distributor/warehouse/sales rep model, and the associated costs of doing business this way, but it still doesn't mean that $14 brake cable set should be on the shelf at $39.95....


Wouldn’t Getting people in for items like tubes and cables at (very close to) online prices make good business sense?

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:54 pm
by Kronos
bychosis wrote:
10speedsemiracer wrote:
Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges


Then stop with the 150% mark-ups.
I understand the issue with the distributor/warehouse/sales rep model, and the associated costs of doing business this way, but it still doesn't mean that $14 brake cable set should be on the shelf at $39.95....


Wouldn’t Getting people in for items like tubes and cables at (very close to) online prices make good business sense?


Any decent bike shop that is still left out there focuses on the mechanical and servicing departments. In fact on various occasions where for whatever reason that I have used a bike shop, such as being stuck without a spare inner tube on a short ride most recently, it has been the service department, and whether they have provided good service, that has determined whether I would return to that shop.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:12 am
by 10speedsemiracer
bychosis wrote:
10speedsemiracer wrote:
Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges


Then stop with the 150% mark-ups.
I understand the issue with the distributor/warehouse/sales rep model, and the associated costs of doing business this way, but it still doesn't mean that $14 brake cable set should be on the shelf at $39.95....


Wouldn’t Getting people in for items like tubes and cables at (very close to) online prices make good business sense?


Is exactly my thoughts. Surely a regular flow of income from consumables (cables/tyres/tubes/pads/bb's) would at least take the edge off shop running expenses, and generate some regular customers who may then buy something bigger off you later..

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:31 pm
by twowheels
I recently bought a mini velo in Japan (& brought it back to Oz). The shop set it up in the shop area. A service point of difference to online. Actually all workshop service is done in view of customers, good way to promote service and develop customer confidence.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:49 pm
by queequeg
The local shops that I go to are thriving. My main shop is also our major club sponsor. They are a small shop but are very hands on. They charge a fair price for their labour, and don't expect that customers will get parts from them in order to keep their labour costs low.
That is, you pay the mechanic for his actual time spent on the task at hand. He is not expecting to make extra bucks from you by buying an overpriced chain or cassette.
They will supply these parts if you want, and often at a quite competitive price. However, equally they will tell you to just go buy the parts off the internet and bring them in and they will fit them.

Other stores that whinge, then go sticks signs in the window saying "we don't fit parts you bought on the internet - go away" will just die (and yes, I have seen a sign like that, and I just turned around and walked away)

I will be getting my local shop to build my new bike, which is coming from the UK. all the parts are bought on the internet. I have done this before and had no issues, and any half decent bike shop will not turn away a customer doing this.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:55 pm
by AUbicycles
Not sure what that the pricing strategy suggested is workable. Attitude of staff however has always been my biggest issue and I am surprised that too many shops feel that they can run a healthy business like that.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:50 am
by OnTrackZeD
queequeg wrote:
Other stores that whinge, then go sticks signs in the window saying "we don't fit parts you bought on the internet - go away" will just die



Well if it works for them good luck.
I think with today's online shopping trends LBS should concentrate on repairs and fitting parts as anyone can sell parts and accessories, even Kmart does.

Businesses open and close every day, if there is a need even if one closes another will open that's supply and demand.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:50 am
by queequeg
OnTrackZeD wrote:
queequeg wrote:
Other stores that whinge, then go sticks signs in the window saying "we don't fit parts you bought on the internet - go away" will just die



Well if it works for them good luck.
I think with today's online shopping trends LBS should concentrate on repairs and fitting parts as anyone can sell parts and accessories, even Kmart does.

Businesses open and close every day, if there is a need even if one closes another will open that's supply and demand.


It's their right to refuse to fit parts bought elsewhere, so good luck to them if this business model works for them, even if the parts you want fitted can't be supplied by the lbs.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:48 pm
by Jmuzz
bychosis wrote:Wouldn’t Getting people in for items like tubes and cables at (very close to) online prices make good business sense?


I guess shops have weighed up their business model, if they are surviving in the tough market then their model is a good one.
If they are going bust, then perhaps they should try something else.

Some businesses certainly do make dumb choices, restaurants being stingy with low cost ingredients such as rice and chips for example. Busy place in my town gives bottomless rice with a meal, next door wants $3 a little bowl. Guess which one is lucky to have 2 tables occupied and which one has people waiting for a seat.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:13 pm
by CaffeineAU
My experiences from local bike shops has also been quite variable. Shopping recently for my first road bike, very few shops had anything my size, or were willing to order it in. One shop told me that I didn't want the bike I was looking for and that I really needed another model entirely. They actively refused to even entertain ordering in the one i wanted. :shock:

Another shop didn't have any entry level road bikes in my size, so suggested a custom titanium framed one instead (errr entry level?)

Another worker yelled at me for touching the bikes.

The one I ended up buying the bike from had very helpful staff. They put some flat pedals on the bike and said 'there's some great hills behind the shop, go and try it out'

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:17 pm
by AUbicycles
queequeg wrote:It's their right to refuse to fit parts bought elsewhere, so good luck to them if this business model works for them, even if the parts you want fitted can't be supplied by the lbs.


There is a clever was of dealing with this. An issue with repairs or changes using customer supplied parts is compatibility and extra work-time. I get it that a job may take longer or be harder to complete compared with simply using the gear they have always worked with and that are in stock or are easy to order.


Firstly the mechanic and workshop pricing should not be reliant on margins. It needs to be explicitly uncoupled which essentially makes them independent however means that the workshop independently profitable.

Secondly shop needs to be upfront and completely transparent towards the customer - for example, an item purchased by the customer may have an effect on the warranty / guarantees and it could take longer to install or fix - and the shop can be friendly but upfront. If the client accepts, then the shop still gets the job and is paid for it.

Whether the bike shop will then do discounts if a customer buys something and it is then installed can be dealt with a few ways.

Re: Use us or lose us, bike shop owner urges

Posted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:43 pm
by bychosis
It does seem a strange business model to refuse to do work for someone. I don’t understand it really, but I think if I was a business owner I’d want to do anything and everything within the scope of he business to keep it going.

It seems to be biting the hand that feeds you to turn away work.