Ask the trade: How are you adapting your bike retail business?

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For the first issue of the CyclingIndustry.News Trade Journal we opened with one heck of a question; What might bike retail look like in just a few years from now and how can store owners adapt their businesses to meet some of the unprecedented challenges facing the traditional retailer.

For part two of this series we gather the thoughts of four very different bike shop owners, focusing on adaptation in the face industry of change. To read part one, click here.

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How have you adapted your business to market conditions in the last three years and how do you plan to going forwards?

Mick Murphy, Mickey Cranks

We intend to be flexible. Every year we write a new strategy and marketing plan. We’ll work with the distributors and brands that support us and ditch the deadwood that clear their leftover stock to the big online chains.

Kevin Moreland, Bainton Bikes
We’ve increased the range of hire bikes we offer and are now focusing on extending the hire range out into a wider national range. Some exciting news to come here!

Anonymous retailer, Leeds

We have set up a second workshop so we can increase our throughput. I know this is about the future of the independents but I can’t help but mention this; I think the manufacturers are finally cottoning on to the fact that letting a few outlets sell your product at knock down prices is bad for your product. We won’t do buy-ins, ever. If a manufacturer wants a commitment from me then as far as I’m concerned they have no faith in their product.

Jon Askham, Kinetic Cycles
We know our market now and cater to it. Typically that means stocking more high-end product and a varied array of clothing, parts and accessories.  Listen to your customers, if you see a trend of asking for a product, stock it. Obviously be careful and don’t load yourselves up, but do give the people what they want. Also, electric bikes; like them or loath them, sales are on the up and it’s a bandwagon well worth jumping on.

How big a part will mobile play and do mobileyou foresee it to be financially viable for the long-run?

Mick Murphy, Mickey Cranks
Mobile currently is no threat to IBDs. CyclingIndustry.News recently ran an article on Beeline Bikes’ mobile franchise in the USA, which has a fleet of 31 vans. On the face of it, this sounds impressive, but when you consider you could fit the UK in the USA 40 times over, then 31 vans is like have one in the UK, so us IBDs are not quaking in our boots just yet.

Anonymous retailer, Leeds
I’ve looked at this and the prices that the trade currently charge for work performed, well I can’t get it to add up. A van on the road, staff, insurance; I just can’t see the UK cycling community willing to pay what mobile will need to charge to be profitable. That Velofix thing makes me laugh. In my opinion, the only folk making any money out of that will be head office. A local mobile mechanic here has just gone bricks and mortar because “all I got was the Tesco shit heaps that bike shops priced out of the door…”

Jon Askham, Kinetic Cycles
Tricky to say, but it’s not something we see ourselves getting involved with at this time.

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To read part one of this series, asking; Can the traditional bike shop survive industry evolution?, click here. 

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