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The Future of Bike Shops: Moving from Brick-and-Mortar to Online

Scott Waters

A row of bicycles at a bike shop.

One of the common things I hear from independent bike dealers  (IBDs), we are tired of going through this alone. My name is Scott Waters, a retail consultant with more than a decade of experience navigating the shifting landscapes of the retail industry. My goal in writing this article is to offer some low-cost solutions to grow your business. A lot of these methods will require a considerable effort but The Bike Collective will help you manage, just book a call with us.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the declining trend of traditional retail since 2000, the changing consumer behaviour towards online shopping, and the best practices for bike shops to adapt to these changes. We’ll also delve into how services like The Bike Collective can lighten your workload, allowing you to focus on the essential aspects of your business.

The Decline of Traditional Retail

Over the last two decades, the retail landscape has undergone dramatic changes. Data indicates a steady decline in brick-and-mortar retail since the turn of the millennium, a trend accelerated by recent global events. In a recent article, Wall Street experts predict that over 50,000 stores will close in the United States between now and 2027.

The rise of online shopping and e-commerce platforms has had a significant impact on traditional retail. Customers are no longer satisfied with just walking into a physical store – they want a seamless shopping experience that blends both the physical and digital worlds. Many retail store owners believe that simply being open and having a Google page is enough to keep the traffic busy. However, customers are losing interest in retail stores that have either no website or a website that does not offer e-commerce. 

To many in the industry, it makes no sense that major retailers are beating out independent bike shops. Unfortunately, they are able to do this with their huge network of tools and resources that enable their company to beat out the local shops.

A screenshot of a Google search for bike shops in newark nj.

When you search on Google for bike shops in most cities, you will find that the top two positions on Google are Yelp and Trek. This spot belongs to you.

The Online Shift: Customers Are Going Digital

Modern customers prefer to browse products online, even if they eventually buy from a local store. They expect more than a simple Squarespace website that serves merely as a landing page. They want a fully fleshed-out e-commerce site where they can review products in detail, compare prices, and place orders seamlessly.

This trend is not a fad but a fundamental shift in consumer behavior, driven by the convenience and efficiency of online shopping. Customers are getting smarter, and their expectations are higher than ever before.

If your shop does not currently have e-commerce or online repair request processes, it is time to make the shift. The Bike Collective helps stores make sure they have a strong local presence in their market. While steps can be taken on your own to make sure this happens, we strongly recommend signing up for a free discovery call with our Bike Shop Liaison so we can help create a more tailored plan for your growth.

Each market is different and our team will prepare a complete analysis of your market, consumer behaviors, and success metrics to ensure you see the growth in your company you hope to achieve.

Best Practices for Transitioning to an Online Model

As an independent bike shop owner, you might be wondering how to navigate this transition. It may seem daunting, but there are a few best practices you can follow to ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Build a robust e-commerce website: Rather than a simple landing page, invest in a comprehensive website that provides detailed product information, reviews, and easy checkout processes.

  2. Engage with customers online: Use social media to maintain a relationship with your customers. Be available to your customer’s questions and concerns.

  3. Offer in-store pickup: For customers who still prefer to visit physical stores, offer the option for online orders and in-store pickup. We strongly recommend making this change immediately. Allowing customers to place orders and pick them up online will immediately convert to more revenue for your shop. 

Making the shift to this new hybrid model of business can be a daunting task. At The Bike Collective, we are working with bike shops all over the country to help facilitate this task. This shift will put power back in the hands of Independent Bike Dealers and give you the growth you deserve.

Time Commitment and the Role of The Bike Collective

Transitioning to a digital business model requires a significant time investment. However, as a business owner, your time is better spent on what you do best – providing excellent bike services and repairs.

This is where The Bike Collective comes in. We take over the workload of digital transition and marketing operations, freeing you up to focus on your core business. Our team has the expertise and resources to help your business thrive in the online world.

Conclusion: Embrace the Future with The Bike Collective

In conclusion, the future of bike shops lies in a hybrid model that blends physical and digital retail. While the transition may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. The Bike Collective is here to guide you through this journey, managing your online presence and marketing so you can focus on what truly matters – your customers and your craft.

Adaptation is key to survival in the modern retail landscape. So, don’t let the digital world overwhelm you – let The Bike Collective take the reins and lead your business into a prosperous future.

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