Bike shops don’t think in years. They think in seasons. And winter is out of season. I was in my local bike shop (LBS) last night, chatting with the manager, and we were discussing all the little things that shops do in the wintertime to bring people through the door and keep cash flowing.
It was a Thursday night. Shop hours were extended, and it’s Christmas time, but during the hour-and-a-half I was there (I chat a lot), one customer came in and bought some tights and a jersey for her husband. Otherwise, it was crickets chirping.
Now, this is a nice shop with good selection in a prime location, not some hole in the wall, so I was actually surprised by how quiet it was. If there is a lot of bike-related holiday shopping going on, most of it would seem to be online.
This shop does all sorts of cycling community events. They host group rides, as most shops do. They sponsor a team. They have indoor cycling after shop hours, for anyone interested. They play race videos and invite customers in to hang out. In short, they are working hard to remain a part of the community.
After brainstorming a little, and frankly I didn’t come up with too many ideas they hadn’t already considered, I thought maybe this would make a good topic for our Friday Group Ride.
The questions are: What is the best event your LBS has put on? And, what sorts of things could your shop do to bring you through their doors in the off-season?
Bike shops are an important part of our community. I don’t think anyone believes that online retailers, as good as many of them are, can completely replace the LBS, so helping them find new ways to stay connected and relevant benefits us all.
Let’s hear your ideas.