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  1. #1
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    Q & A

    Thinking about changing things up -- store front side of things are freaky right now with this crazy economy, l don't know what to make of it.

    Our website right now doesn't actually sell things: not like all those big Superdiscount.com's.

    want to branch out. don't mind me if l ask for some free feedback.
    taking everything with a grain of salt.

    so, what do you think is lacking in the on-line options out there?

    what would you like to see more of?

    do you actually like dealing with "order takers" or would you rather chat with someone who knows the in's and out's of products?
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  2. #2
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    What I see wrong with the big online dealers is that they are raping the local bike shop with their super-discounts and super low margin, and then also making exclusive deals with manufacturers to further screw the little guy.

    What I see wrong with the big online retailers is that they cannot help you through a purchase, cannot give you valuable advice from experiance and cannot install, repair, or service any of the things they sell.

    I would like to see more people supporting the local economy and bicycle community.

  3. #3
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    we see people coming into the shop, who bought stuff on-line incorrectly way too often.

    very frustrating for the consumer buying the new product only to send it back because it won't work with XYZ product also purchased at the same time.

    When stuff like that heppen, l'm very blunt about it. "had you bought that from from the get go, #1, l would have installed it for free (sometimes), and #2, all the stuff would be correct.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedal Shop
    we see people coming into the shop, who bought stuff on-line incorrectly way too often.

    very frustrating for the consumer buying the new product only to send it back because it won't work with XYZ product also purchased at the same time.

    When stuff like that heppen, l'm very blunt about it. "had you bought that from from the get go, #1, l would have installed it for free (sometimes), and #2, all the stuff would be correct.
    That is what we do as well. Believe it or not we also get a lot of people into the shop asking us what part they need to work with their setup, have us explain it to them etc, and then turn around and tell us that they found it $15 cheaper online and not buy it from us.

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    the flip side of the arguement

    I see your points on service before and after the sale. But there are tons of riders like me who know exactly what we want and how to install it ourselves. I do not need advice or service. I think I am part of a large demographic and to not cater to me is limiting your business. Look at Go-Ride. That seems like a pretty dang good business model as far as shops are concerned. Cater to both and have good market share in both. Just offer great service and the ability to 'ask a tech' before a purchase and I can't see any negative. It is happening out there right now and might as well get in on it instead of saying it hurts the small, local shops. Called evolution.

  6. #6
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    I like having actual bike shops (good ones) that also sell on line like an on line store. It is a computer society and a lot of the time it's easier shopping on line because that's where most of us would do the product research.
    I just wish there was a local one within driving distance of me that was like that. Then you have the best of both worlds - you can order something you need & get it posted to you so as to install yourself (or opt for store pickup) or you could call them up and say "hey I need an XYZ, can I bring my bike in on Tue to get it installed and how much will that be?".

    It's really good that here in Oz there are a couple of bike stores like that (none local to me though) where you can order on line, or you can just give them a call to order or get friendly advice. Yes for bigger items they are not quite as competitive as CRC - but on some things they do actually beat them. And their service is always friendly and great.

  7. #7
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    personally I would like to see more small parts. I can walk into an LBS and pick up a few miscellanous screws and what not for spare change because they are lying around the shop, small parts like that owuld be nice for online stores, but I am not sure how feasible it is.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by aenema
    I see your points on service before and after the sale. But there are tons of riders like me who know exactly what we want and how to install it ourselves. I do not need advice or service. I think I am part of a large demographic and to not cater to me is limiting your business. Look at Go-Ride. That seems like a pretty dang good business model as far as shops are concerned. Cater to both and have good market share in both. Just offer great service and the ability to 'ask a tech' before a purchase and I can't see any negative. It is happening out there right now and might as well get in on it instead of saying it hurts the small, local shops. Called evolution.
    +1

    I also do not like the elitist attitude that is shared by the local LBS's near me. It's like if you do not have a bike that cost $5k and is "Professionally" maintained then don't bother coming in.........OK I wont. It's like they are all roadies. I am willing to pay for good service, but to pay close to double for attitude, nope.

    End Rant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckiller
    +1

    I also do not like the elitist attitude that is shared by the local LBS's near me. It's like if you do not have a bike that cost $5k and is "Professionally" maintained then don't bother coming in.........OK I wont. It's like they are all roadies. I am willing to pay for good service, but to pay close to double for attitude, nope.

    End Rant

    that's something that l will never understand. l can understand it in the boating industry or maybe in the horse world but bikes? come on, please. There's a couple shops in our area with that reputation. They charge a good 10% to 15% more than other shops even though they don't have stuff like more expensive retail floor space (higher rent).

    Through the years, l have hired only people who had a passion for bikes. l never hired clock punchers. Of course, some of those people turned out to be nit-wits but that's just part of being an employer. They get weeded out pretty quick.

    as far as selling small parts, for the same prices you'll see at superdiscount.com's - that's a tough one. Those places often sell products below what the LBS pays at wholesale. l think that is pretty well known. really not sure how to get around that one without just buying in stupid large bulk, taking on some serious inventory.

    Another thing that happens far too often was - people buying complete bikes on line and having the built correctly at the shop. usually it's these brands like Motobecane (only available on line).

    On line purchases is no doubt a love hate relationship.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedal Shop
    that's something that l will never understand. l can understand it in the boating industry or maybe in the horse world but bikes? come on, please. There's a couple shops in our area with that reputation. They charge a good 10% to 15% more than other shops even though they don't have stuff like more expensive retail floor space (higher rent).
    Theres a shop like that in Davis. Its pretty well known as one of the more expensive shops (I think its actually the most expensive in CA). The service is no better, but I guess people are paying to feel better about themselves.

    as far as competing with the big online stores, location makes a pretty big difference. In davis, we sell mostly commuter and low/mid end road bikes, but its a slow day if we only sell two-three bikes.

  11. #11
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    For me its not really the prices, but the time it takes for me to get the stuff I need. I'm pretty tight with my LBS and I want to support them whenever possible but it seems like it takes so long to get stuff ordered. I understand that an LBS just can't really afford to have a huge inventory, but if I need something like a tire ordered it takes a week plus to actually get it, when I can hop online and get one ordered to my door in three days.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dowst
    That is what we do as well. Believe it or not we also get a lot of people into the shop asking us what part they need to work with their setup, have us explain it to them etc, and then turn around and tell us that they found it $15 cheaper online and not buy it from us.
    yep I hate things like that.....I couldn't get my headset off so I had the LBS take my headset off and put another one on....they did it for free but I tipped 20 bucks,.....then it was deep cups and I can only use shallow cups.....so I bought one full price at the shop.....time is more worth then the savings
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  13. #13
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    OP

    Here is what I would do...

    I would set up a ride club and give everyone 10% discounts(or more)...you could have a dh but most importantly a XC club (maybe a fast, med, and beginner if u get enough people).
    have at least bi weekly rides,....put up flyers at local trails and get a website up for it....

    this does 2 things
    keeps people riding more so they have to buy more stuff
    makes them feel more obligated to buy from you because they develop a friendship bond with you.
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  14. #14
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    SMT, we have a race team of +/- 40 people (XC type). They don't have to race a certain amount of races to be on the team but they do wear the shop duds when they do. They also wear the duds during most group rides they go on. The shop is pretty well known when it comes to that. Many riders have seen the podium right below their feet. Does that bring new people into the shop? yeah -- no doubt it does but we don't know for sure how many. We don't ask every single new face walking into the shop how they found out about Pedal Shop.

    l was thinking about putting together a true club: with an actual president and whatnot. It would be a thing where you pay a membership fee. In return, you would be able to buy anything you want at a certain discount - sort of like what the places like Costco's do.
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  15. #15
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    What I like about big online stores:
    -Lower price
    -Delivery to my door

    Problems with online stores
    -Warranty issues - shipping costs and time
    -Less Service (However a lot of websites have a chat/question feature)

    Online stores are perfect for me because I can do the research online before buying parts. I'm quite competent at bike work (wheel builds, fork rebuilds, gears etc), but will get the LBS to do harder jobs I don't have tools for (headsets installs, rear shock service). I like honesty from a bike shop too, some bike shops will try to sell you stuff that isn't needed (online has no pesky salesmen).

    Some observations of the most popular bike shop in my town.
    -They are strong where other bike shops are not, they have a good range of downhill bikes.
    -They import a lot of the stock rather than using a distributor.
    -Only shop in town for certain brands of bike.
    -They sponsor local races and sponsor a couple of riders.
    -Discount card for the local downhill club.
    -They are one of the shops nearer to the bike tracks.

    The bottom line is I want it cheap. If a part is twice as much at a local bike shop then I will order it online. The bike shop is really only handy if I can't fix my bike or need a part immediately replaced.

  16. #16
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    my advice - death of the LBS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Duckiller
    +1

    I also do not like the elitist attitude that is shared by the local LBS's near me. It's like if you do not have a bike that cost $5k and is "Professionally" maintained then don't bother coming in.........OK I wont. It's like they are all roadies. I am willing to pay for good service, but to pay close to double for attitude, nope.

    End Rant

    I agree...there are a handful of LBS' around here who cop serious attitudes. For example, I know of one that quoted me a price for labor that was equivalent to $100/hr.
    Team it up with a serious attitude "we're the best...blah blah..." and it makes riders like myself buy a set of tools, buy the parts online, and LEARN how do the work myself.

    I DO support one LBS (and have done so for close to 14 years). Like SMT, when I bring my bikes (DH, road, AM) in for service I throw a nice tip their way because they know I am loyal and I appreciate them fitting me into their immediate schedule (as opposed to waiting a week).

    If I had a shop:
    1. offer great customer service and sales experiences (face it...all these riders hit the SAME trails. Word of mouth can help or kill your LBS business).
    2. Be aware of what online retailers offer in terms of product and pricing. I hate going into an LBS for a tire and seeing a sticker for $55 when they have been on clearance for $15 for the last 12 months online.
    3. Don't cop an attitude! While I have very expensive bikes, the bread and butter of my LBS are hybrids, road and low end AM bikes. Don't expect everyone to have the cash for high end rides (especially in this economy).
    4. Have demo bikes available and on hand. Many manufacturers offer this "trial ride" but it usually takes weeks to get lined up. Be proactive and have a couple available for your next race, or large group ride.

    Lastly...You have to be crazy if you think an LBS can survive in this day and age if they are not in tune with the online biking sales environment.

    Sorry for all the nonsense....I'll stop now.

  17. #17
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    the biggest thing i hate about some of my shops is honesty. they honestly want me to believe that it will cost 150 bucks to make my coil fork a u-turn fork, or that my brakes are 40 bucks a side to bleed. what i want more of from my shops is knowledgable passionate staff, i dont need huge discounts but i would gladly pay full msrp for a bike if it meant i would get cheaper tires and drivetrain parts. online option to pick-up in store would be nice, or how bout an after hours service? my bike only seems to break at 4:59 pm on sundays. group rides, actual race support, message boards like this one with a q/and a or something like that. and go the extra goddam mile to retain my business. clean my chain and wipe down my stanchions while your letting the loctite on my new rotor bolts dry. take notes that are pertinent like weight for setups etc. when i buy something make a note of what it was if important and ask me how it worked or have a review page for me to voice my opinion. update your page often and price match as much as you can. teach me to do some of the things on my own so i get to be in your shop and be loyal long term.

    DRUG TEST OR SCREEN YOUR EMPLOYEES!!!

    im as laid back as the next guy but some pothead workong on my brakes is likely gonna forget what he was doing and leave a bolt lose.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by aenema
    I see your points on service before and after the sale. But there are tons of riders like me who know exactly what we want and how to install it ourselves. I do not need advice or service. I think I am part of a large demographic and to not cater to me is limiting your business. Look at Go-Ride. That seems like a pretty dang good business model as far as shops are concerned. Cater to both and have good market share in both. Just offer great service and the ability to 'ask a tech' before a purchase and I can't see any negative. It is happening out there right now and might as well get in on it instead of saying it hurts the small, local shops. Called evolution.

    Werd. The only thing I ever hear at local bike shops is "We can order it."



    Oh really? So can I, and it will cost less, and be there quicker. So from a purely online standpoint, there's not much you'll be able to offer that some other online distributor doesn't offer. Unless you're a huge corporation it seems the little guy is unable to compete. That's for guys like ME who are do it yourselfers. Generally we don't need your expertise, just parts. Perhaps you could cater to "average joe" better than you could cater to people like me/us.

  19. #19
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    Blah.
    People that don't work in an LBS don't understand that actually, labor is a losing venture - that mechanic's rate of $50.00 an hour is a LOSS for the majority of shops. That's right, I may only make 10 bucks an hour, but then the shop has to offset rent, the other mechanic who's not quite as fast, the parts, the tools, the supplies, etc. etc. etc.
    - Even when repair $$ is growing, we're still losing money - it just costs more to repair your bikes and to staff knowledgeable, enthusiastic people than you actually pay.
    And the reality is that providing a "shop" is a courtesy for most places - because it's the only way you can sell bikes, and it's a great way to retain customers. There's a reason that the markup is 2x wholesale when you buy from an LBS - because otherwise, we wouldn't make any money at all. The truth is that you might pay $75 for a tuneup, or about an hour and a half of a mechanic's labor - and it MIGHT on a good day take that mechanic an hour if your bike was in good shape, and he was working quickly (assuming you took it to a shop that actually performs the services they advertise they will) - and then maybe the shop will have made money, but otherwise - it's just breaking even. Tune up packages are a huge savings for customers. And the reality is the majority of tune ups (bearing adjustments, wheel truing, brake adjustments, shifting adjustments, test riding, fine tuning, check torques on your cranks so they don't fall off, minding all the little details and giving you thorough feedback so you know what you can do to keep it running better and what's coming up next time you're in the shop) - take way more than an hour and a half. 2 hours is a good average - and that means we're losing money beyond the already losing venture of staffing, keeping parts, paying rent, having lube and cleaners and zip ties and whatever other random parts we throw on for no cost.

    I lost myself in the rant - but the point is: LBS' do not make money off of their repair services - so if you appreciate having that, you should do the courtesy of buying your parts there too. There's nothing wrong with buying a complete bike online, or getting a used bike on ebay, or getting a great deal a la chainlove on some new stuff - but you have to understand that this switch will eventually lead to the point of no return for shops - if people don't buy the higher margin items (bikes, parts), they won't be able to have the low-margin services when the shop goes bankrupt. Seriously, labor is the only thing that's consistent but it wasn't a winning venture before the economy went to crap, and even if more people are riding their bikes, it's not enough to make any money off of it.

    Just a thought - next time you go in, remember the mechanic there might be getting paid (albeit way less than you, and way below a living wage), but them being there depends on people purchasing items, not services. I'm spoiled as a shop worker with paying just above wholesale, so I appreciate a good deal - but none of us will have that if we don't throw some support the way of dealers and mechanics.
    I love biking and love helping customers, from the 20 year old woman who hasn't ever ridden a bike to the 40 year old guy bringing in his 3rd ellsworth frame to get set up with the parts he has, but I can't be there to help everyone enjoy their rides and have good service if my employer can't pay me... it's important to show your appreciation for a show - go back there next time if they did a good job, stop in and look for parts if you need something, see what they have to say. We not only work on the bikes all day, we ride them when we're not at work - show some love, that's all I'm saying.
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  20. #20
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    The shop I go to when I'm not near the Pedal Shop has a whole club dealy, you have to pay for membership and you get their jersey and you get a 15% off discount or something. Makes all the people with money feel apart of something, and they feel obliged to only go to that shop. I feel like it gives them business.

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