We're opening a new shop – tell us about the services and products you want?

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  • We're opening a new shop – tell us about the services and products you want?
  • SigmaF

    So, we've managed to find a great location for our new shop concept and we're starting to go through the stock/brand/line/services process. Everything has happily (so far!!) fallen into place and we're hoping to open our doors sometime mid-late Feb (factoring in the 4x unknown, I suspect it will be more like March!!).

    We'd like to hear from the riders//customers what they want from a local shop….it's a bit of a cliche' but both of us are riders and have worked in some of the larger shops (and how shocking they are too…..but, thanks for the inspiration to do it right Mr profit-centric!!)….and we are aiming for a rider owned/inspired outfit…..but, we're only 2 riders, who ride with others that have similar interests.

    To ensure that we're offering the products and services that others want……we'd really like to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I'd guess that it's almost impossible to provide an everyman shop, but we're going to do our best to get there!!

    Thanks all,

    'something cycles' – name tbd!!

    Premier Icon i_am_JC

    Make sure you can offer a good fitting service. General sizing is all well and good but being able to swap over stems etc (and know why) would be really useful.
    And decent test rides are a must. I'm always surprised by the number of places that can't (won't) offer a good test ride yet expect you to pay a fortune on a bike.

    Premier Icon ton

    get in a good line of clydesdale specific clothing and i will spend a small fortune with you……… 8)


    Which area will the shop be in?

    Premier Icon Hooter

    Friendly approachable knowledgeable staff with a good customer centric attitude, much more important that whatever brands of bike you stock…

    Premier Icon oldfart

    Yeah where are you for a start ?


    Should open up a specific Freeride section…..


    Helicopter tape !

    Premier Icon allyharp

    Along the same lines as i_am, it'd be good to show that you're happy to change parts on new bikes you sell to tailor the fit ie swapping the stem, saddle etc. Or taking it even further and allowing upgrades of brakes etc on stock models.


    Get a good coffee machine.

    Sweets on the counter.

    Try and remember customers who frequent your shop.

    Don't try and compete with Wiggle and CRC but dont take the pi$$ with prices.


    Should open up a specific Freeride section…..

    That wont work but a jey core gnarly XC is a must

    Sorry IGMC


    Please have an inept member of staff who can mess up on a regular basis. It will keep you in free publicity on this forum for years.

    Good coffee.

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Make the 25th phone call of the day as courteous as the 1st call of the day, & be as nice to the 25th walk-in customer of the day as the 1st.
    Take a number / email address & take a couple of mins to email / text the customer to check their new bike is ok.

    While coffee bars & cakes etc, can be all very nice, they can make places a little bit clique'y.
    (Mammoth Cycles in Milford should take note. :?)

    Can understand that having a fleet of test bikes is a big outlay for the shop, but what about some rollers, so that any bike in stock can at least be sized up, sat on & pedalled (in private – not in a busy shop) for a while.

    I was very impressed with Islabikes when we visited recently. Within 5 mins our little ones were on their purpose built test track trying the bikes out. They offered a lot of good advice & we came away very happy with the service we received. They had an appointment system that meant we had the staff member's full attention for a good 15-20 mins.


    Judging by the previous comments of the stwistas:

    You need to let people bring in parts they've bought cheap off the web, fit them FOC & give them a free coffee (none of your intsant muc mind you, only fresh burr ground premiere beans) while they wait,
    keep every possible part in all styles/colours/fittings and let people try them out for few days for nowt,
    have a massive selection of tools for customer use,
    and of course, don't forget to massage their egos and stoke their niches.

    Premier Icon bereavementmonkey

    Just think of all the things you would want from a shop! Remember you cannot be ALL things to ALL STW Forum contributers!

    Good quality stock that you would use! If a customer asks what do you ride/use/wear you need to be able to back it up.

    Good stock levels…. If you stock it have have it IN stock.

    Some choice but not over the top… So in bikes I would have 2-3 key brands and maybe 1 or 2 niche ones.

    Good opening hours…. People like to drop their bikes before work for a service and pick them up after (sorry the joy of retail).

    Good layout…. Dont try and cram in as much as you can!

    And remember good service! And just because a 16 year old kid pestered you for weeks for info on that 3k bike doesnt mean that he might not one day walk in with his dad (who buys and sells Ferarris for a living) and buy not only the bike but ALL the kit to go with it…. True story that all the other guys in the shop told me I was wasting my time.

    Premier Icon bereavementmonkey

    Yea Hilldodger just made a good point.

    Let the customers use your tools!!! Unless they are in use of course.

    b r

    Not sure where you are, but if you have a local club/riding area have a 'membership' club with them (say 10%).

    You can't compete with CRC etc on price, but you have to on service – if they can deliver within 24/48 hours, then you need to – obviously where required.

    Plus don't scare the 'no-bikers', be prepared to put in a new tube for £5-£10 on any wheel, and fix Apollo's…

    As for specialist stuff, concentrate on a couple of manufacturers, and carry their range, e.g.
    Hope for brakes/wheels/headsets/BB/lights
    Easton for bars/stems/seatposts
    SDG for seats/seatposts

    But you also need to sell basic items for those that just need something for their BSO's.

    Have you workshop area behind the sales counter, so they can see you fixing, and you can see them browsing plus can talk without stopping the 'job'.

    Sell Singletrack?

    Somewhere safe for people to park their bikes when/if they come to you?

    Premier Icon bereavementmonkey

    oh and Bloody Good luck!!!

    Where are you going to be?

    Premier Icon kimbers

    how quickly can you change the bearings on a kona??


    hilldodger +1


    Loads of good ideas above
    also – Your service and repair pricing – put it on a list and on display – Keep away from the 'step's back / rubs chin and inhales' approach to giving a customer a quote for the work they want.

    Also – take care in capturing details, phone, e-mail etc – make sure your forms state it may be used for contact other than ref the job in hand, and be sure there is an 'opt out' option.
    Database the info and e-mail when appropriate – anniversary of bike purchase 'is your due a service', discount vouchers around crimbo, birthdays (if you capture that), offers on the anniversaries of your shop opening etc… little things make the difference

    Premier Icon Onzadog

    I'm guessing you'll not be able to compete with the big boys so whey not stock something different? Everyone has Giro and Specialized lids. Maybe stock stuff from Bell and MET.

    Lake shoes instead of the two big S brands.

    Can you tell I'm struggling to get a new lid and some new winter shoes.


    1. EASY cycle parking…
    I know its not always practical, but so many cycles shops have no/poor parking for bikes.

    2. EASY cycle access…
    If at all posbile make it really easy to wheel the bike in to the shop. Getting a bike through a swing door into a crapmed shop would/has put me off using a shop.

    3. Dont make me feel like I'm shop lifting…
    I understand this is difficult to achieve, but if I feel comfortable in a shop then I'm likely to stay longer and buy more. I like to browse for a long time, maybe an hour say. If I feel like everyone thinks I'm a shop lifter I'll leave, browse on the internet and buy from wiggle instead.

    Good luck in the new venture, where is the shop going to be based?

    b r

    And if you sell something, understand how it works plus pros/cons.

    Stans kits come to mind here…


    If you decide to offer a club discount, don't make the members of that club feel awkward by having to ask for the discount each time they pop in. At the other end of the scale, we have another shop that will give the discount as a matter of course without being prompted.

    If a customer has left something for repair, and are waiting for parts, keep them updated. It may be Shimano causing the hold up, but its still nice to be told each time the delivery estimate gets pushed out, rather than ringing for five weeks in a row, only each time to be told that actually the bits still haven't turned up 👿

    Premier Icon lowey

    Friendly approachable staff who are KNOWLEDGEABLE.

    I went in my LBS the other weekend, to be confronted by a surly mechanic. All I wanted was some sintered hope mono mini pads. They didnt stock Hope, but had EBC. I had to go behind the counter and pick the ones I needed as he could not work out which were sintered or organic.

    Premier Icon lunge

    I just don't get the coffee in a bike shop thing, I want bike shop not a coffee shop.

    I want clothes and shoes to try on (I am tall with strange feet so I like to buy these things from my LBS), I want a good range of spares that I will need last minute (tubes, brake pads, chains, tyres, etc.), I want good, impartial advice on stuff (knowledgeable staff) and I want enough bling to keep me coming back and possibly make me make the odd snap purchase. A good workshop is a must, ideally with a mechanic who will show you how something is done if he is quiet enough to give you the time.

    Finally, I want it to be open late on at least 1 week night and on Sundays, a lot of people work days during the week so being open until 8pm some nights will mean I will pop in and spend my money there rather than Halfords. Sundays mean I will go there instead of being dragged around Tesco by my girlfriend. This could be tied in with regular group rides as well, that would seem like a good way to get people associated to the shop.

    Sell stuff that is easy to store, doesn't go out of date and has a nice high profit margin. That way, you'll be a profitable and succesful shop.

    Tyre levers
    Inner tubes
    Puncture repair kits


    DO NOT MAKE EMPTY PROMISES (or threats even), and remember we your customers are always always always always right!! Bet ya thinking I've had some rubbish treatment from LBSs in my time? I have and I' sure plenty here have too. Hope that's a start for you guys…


    Add value. A bike shop could just be a shop that sells bikes, or it could be everything everyone up there has said. You find your place between those two points and be comfortable with it. What do you two do well? Work on your own strengths – you'll do best at your own strengths. Perhaps work out local rides from the shop and lead them? Give people a reason to come to you. Good parking always helps too.


    Thanks all, keep the ideas rolling!!

    It's really interesting to hear the comments….some great, fundamental customer needs that we've been trying to address in the shop(s) that we work in p/t……but, how can you suggest to a sailor how to run his bike shop?!!?!?

    Don't really want to give too much away location wise until we've confirmed the location with all suppliers, but will update when we know more.

    Kona bearings, hmmm


    hilldodger – Premier Member

    and stoke their niches.

    I think you'll find you need a different shop usage licence for that type of thing 😯

    I like my LBS because i can walk in and pick their brains without feeling they are trying to sell to me all the time and the staff there really know their stuff (even the part timers). The only gripes are that, even after being a regular customer of theirs for 2+ years (since i started riding again) including riding all the time with the club they have a link with i still have to ask for a 10% discount where as the other bike shop in town which i go in to from time to time give it automatically 🙄 .

    Also if you have to order a part in know before you quote a timescale when its likely to be in. Otherwise your creating a false expectation which leaves the customer feeling let down when it hasn't arrived when you say it will. If its going to take 2 weeks to arrive then tell me, don't say it will be a couple of days and then act surprised when I'm annoyed its not in after 5 days 🙁


    Oh and Ton what do you mean by Clydesdale specific clothes 😕


    A good range of women specific clothes and not just Altura/Endura. You'll have the ladies flocking from miles around as the usual selection at most shops is pish!


    my expectations of shop staff:
    – if you don't know about something say so or ask someone else, don't make it up or try and sell me something I don't want, I won't come back
    – have an intelligent and convincing armoury of responses to all those – 'I can get it on CRC for £10 less' questions

    things I buy in bike shops (stuff I need in a hurry or stuff I need to try before I buy)
    – tyres – I hate buying tyres online as you don't get a good impression of volume, the profile of the tyre, and opinion is subjective
    – inner tubes – you may be able to get a job-lot of 10,000 specialized tubes for 50p a pop, but provide an alternative that doesn't cost a tenner
    – clothes, particularly gloves and tops, lots of choice of tops, Fox ones (!)
    – contact points = grips and saddles in particular – stuff that people want to touch and feel rather than just buying blind


    Under promise/over deliver. There's nothing worse than a shop that tries to please the customer by telling them it'll be done by tomorrow when it won't be ready.


    He means cycle clothing for real sized men – not the 'malnourished Italian waif' that most shops carry. Twin 6 in XXL might be a start.

    If you pay peanuts you get monkeys is very true. If you are going to employ staff pay them a good wage so that you can then expect top quality service from them. Paying minimum wages, or just above, will get you the surly "can't be arsed" type. Not good for your reputation.

    My LBS uses YTS types. I went in for some XT chainrings, and despite there being over 100 bikes on display they didn't know what I was on about. After some time they offered to order some for me. "2 weeks wait – give us a ring to see if they've arrived". CRC had them to me next day.

    Don't do things on the cheap – it shows.

    Premier Icon bereavementmonkey

    scruzer said "and remember we your customers are always always always always right!!"

    Not True….. you must remember that the customer is only right when they are right.

    Offering Honest good service is key…. and eating humble pie if you need to.

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