Bike Shop Branding, And The Changing World Of Cycling Retail

by up.bike

The local bike shop does a lot for the community. From emergency fixes, group rides, supporting local events and races, shops contribute a lot to the spirit of the sport at the most grassroots level.

They’re up against a lot of competition online these days, and building a brand is one of the most important ways they can retain their customers against the likes of Amazon and Competitive Cyclist. Online retail might be a big part of the future, but having brick and mortar spaces for people to see, touch, and experience cycling products matters an awful lot, too. But how does a local shop go up against Jeff Bezos?

The industry has seen tremendous change in the past three years, let alone the last decade. Perhaps the biggest shift we’ve seen in the world of cycling retail is the move to direct to consumer bike sales, as well as the ability to order your bike online and have it shipped and assembled at a local shop. That’s a big change with a lot of interesting dynamics. On the plus side, it allows shops to reduce their preseason orders, stock fewer bikes on the sales floor, and avoiding having to store a dozen or more of the same popular model. Funneling online sales to shops kept them in the loop and allowed them a chance to meet and earn future business from customers.

But even that is shifting. With Specialized and other big brands allowing customers to order direct, shops are getting left out in the cold. It’s more than bikes sales, too. With consumers doing their shopping online, shops lose foot traffic and the sales of accessories, food, and small ticket items that really help pay the bills.

Many shops are adapting by offering more and more online sales, including putting their inventory online and selling over the internet as well. Many have greatly reduced their physical inventory, opting instead to take online orders and immediately ordering the bike from their distributor, retaining their role as a sort of middleman and stay a vital part in the sales process.

Of course, you can't blame riders for looking to save money, especially when discounts can be pretty substantial. There is also a big convenience factor. When you're trying to squeeze in ride time to a busy schedule, waiting for a shop to order a part you can have the next day doesn't make a lot of sense. It's an odd spot for even a loyal customer to be in when shop's can't price or order as competitively as online retailers, and it's an issue shops have to battle by deciding to stock more parts to get on-the-spot repairs and needs, or dial back and be even more efficient with their shipping and receiving. 

Having a strong relationship with customers and a valuable brand is going to be key for any shop. Working to build that brand loyalty and offering your tribe a way to display their love of the shop can make a huge difference, and that’s why we offer a big line-up of mounts and tools that can be fully customized to put your shop’s look and feel not just on the product, but in their pockets and garages. From the Scout Tool to the Display Stand, we’ve helped shops, clubs, and other cycling groups put their mark on products their customers are proud to show off.

Do you order parts, apparel, even complete bikes online? From price to convenience, what are the main factors in going online?

Contact us for a quote and we’ll put together quantity pricing for anything in our line-up of custom goods.