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What you want from a shop

mac1985mac1985 Posts: 238
edited November 2016 in Road general
I wasn't too sure where to put this, so apologies if i have placed it in the wrong forum

I was wondering what peoples views and opinions were so far as what you want from your local bike store, as in whats important, parking etc, what you want to see in store, not so much specific brands but more products, variety, price points, would you want a cafe area of some sort, indoor bike storage while you browse etc?

any input would be greatly appreciated

thanks in advance
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Posts

  • Parking, Indoor bike park, No cafe area, Product variety, Prices that are similar to on-line store prices, Staff that know what they are talking about, Good mechanics, Bike fit service, Saddle loan before you buy service, Possibility of road testing bikes before you buy. That would be a good start, nothing like that around here.
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  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    Top of the list has to be staff that are knowledgeable enough to interpret my requirements.

    The rest is peripheral as it makes no odds if they've got all the range of product and prices in the world if they can't tell me what's appropriate and why.
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  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    Not only bike parking, but make it patently obvious that bikes not only are allowed in store, they are positively welcomed! There should be clear signage and facilities to match.

    The amount of times I've had to poke my head around a bike shop door to ask if it's ok (mostly it is, sometimes, surprisingly it isn't).
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    definitely a café area, nothing beats starting a group ride and ending a group ride somewhere with coffee and cake and bike spares and a mechanic !

    bike pump chained up outside the shop.

    Somewhere to lock your bike "inside" the shop

    parking is useful when bringing in a bike with a snapped something you cant get off yourself and it needs transport

    an area around the back with a hose that if you have just done a MTB ride you can hose it off

    an online presence with up to date stock info and ordering

    as for products - obviously bike stuff and clothing - also bike related stuff and clothing that is cycling related, ie, a Bianchi regular t-shirt.

    Open at 6am and closed at 10pm

    Dancing girls

    a dog to pet (not a smelly one)

    Pictures of old Tours from the yesteryears on the walls in the Road section

    videos of extreme DH in the MTB section

    a comfortable seat for my missus if I pass by with her

    a box of tissues for myself

    Free wifi so I can check the back accounts
  • First and foremost: stock. If I've come to the shop, I've come to buy something - yes you can order it in, but news just in - so can I and have it delivered to my house so I don't have to make another trip to get it. Now this time I might only have been buying a pair of cleats - next time it could be a whole new bike....
  • mac1985mac1985 Posts: 238
    and these are exactly the responses i wanted,thank you very mutely. Car parking is something that may well not be able to be offered,which is a bit of a concern, but thats one thing that is kinda out of our control, a collection and delivery will be available for repairs and new bikes, but may put some people off.

    Agreed on the staff points. All staff, or proposed staff are cytech trained to a minimum of level 2, regardless of proposed position in the shop, everyone should be able to answer any possible question presented. Nothing worse than asking about a spec of a bike and the staff member having to go and look at the bike/item to tell you.

    Pretty much everything thats been suggested is on the table to be catered for, although dancing girls may cause a problem, and we maybe won't advertise we have boxes of tissues, but everything available if you ask :lol:
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,824
    If you don't have dancing girls, then you probably won't need to stock the tissues.
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  • mac1985mac1985 Posts: 238
    drlodge wrote:
    If you don't have dancing girls, then you probably won't need to stock the tissues.

    depends how much you like shiny bikes........
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    mac1985 wrote:
    and these are exactly the responses i wanted,thank you very mutely. Car parking is something that may well not be able to be offered,which is a bit of a concern, but thats one thing that is kinda out of our control, a collection and delivery will be available for repairs and new bikes, but may put some people off.

    In my opinion, a bike shop without parking is a potential disaster.

    If the bike cant be ridden and needs a mechanic, then they will need to drive it to the shop by car.

    Even if it is rideable, then unless you can fix stuff while people wait then they will need transport home when dropping off and back to pick up.

    People dont want collection & delivery for bikes, I just dont think they would use it. If they would then the likes of wiggle do that now too. And customers coming into the shop for mechanical work gives you two times to sell them something else while in the shop. Besides, they want to show it to someone and get an idea of how much it will cost before deciding if they want you to do the work. Otherwise you will give out lots of estimates for work that people decide not to have done and either be out of pocket and stuck with hassle or have to charge the customer just for having a look to do the estimate - which they wont want to commit to until they know how much its likely to cost.

    I realise that some shops in London etc have to survive without parking but they do so out of necessity and have to work twice as hard at everything else and take advantage of a large, captive market on the doorstep in order to do so.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 11,378
    Two things only: Be at the end of my road, and know what you're doing.
  • Thigh_burnThigh_burn Posts: 489
    Two things only: Be at the end of my road, and know what you're doing.

    I've got a pretty well regarded LBS at the end of my road and they know what they're doing. Unfortunately, they also tend to be quite grumpy unless you're a keen rider and their stock is limited, because the shop isn't massive. Which means, I'm constantly thinking, with this grumpy customer service I could just go to Wiggle.

    Then again, and returning to OP's question, what Wiggle can't do, but they can, is all the mechanical stuff. And the community stuff.

    I think this remains the big / only area where LBS's can beat the online stores. A computer can't fix that annoying juddering from your front brake, or even change a tyre, or put on a new groupset.

    Similarly, you still need somewhere to physically meet up before and after a ride, and even between rides, on your way home from work.

    So to the OP, I'd say think about how to get people to come back to your shop and what sets your apart from the web. It's unlikely to be stock and it's unlikely to be prices.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Two things only: Be at the end of my road, and know what you're doing.

    I had the first of these. Sadly not the second, so they went out of business :(
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,471
    apreading wrote:
    mac1985 wrote:
    and these are exactly the responses i wanted,thank you very mutely. Car parking is something that may well not be able to be offered,which is a bit of a concern, but thats one thing that is kinda out of our control, a collection and delivery will be available for repairs and new bikes, but may put some people off.

    In my opinion, a bike shop without parking is a potential disaster.

    If the bike cant be ridden and needs a mechanic, then they will need to drive it to the shop by car.

    Even if it is rideable, then unless you can fix stuff while people wait then they will need transport home when dropping off and back to pick up.

    People dont want collection & delivery for bikes, I just dont think they would use it. If they would then the likes of wiggle do that now too. And customers coming into the shop for mechanical work gives you two times to sell them something else while in the shop. Besides, they want to show it to someone and get an idea of how much it will cost before deciding if they want you to do the work. Otherwise you will give out lots of estimates for work that people decide not to have done and either be out of pocket and stuck with hassle or have to charge the customer just for having a look to do the estimate - which they wont want to commit to until they know how much its likely to cost.

    I disagree, local collection and delivery is great. I had a guy come around to fix my bike, and he realised he could do it on the spot, as he had the tools in his van. He also took three bikes away for servicing one time before me and two of my kids did a sponsored ride. A lot of hassle off my hands, worth paying for.
  • jimwalshjimwalsh Posts: 113
    competent mechanics.

    not just wrench monkeys.

    i have had so many frustrations with bike shops with sub par mechanics. often underpaid and over worked the decent ones move on quickly.

    a decent mechanic makes a bike shop.
  • SecteurSecteur Posts: 1,971
    jimwalsh wrote:
    competent mechanics.

    not just wrench monkeys.

    i have had so many frustrations with bike shops with sub par mechanics. often underpaid and over worked the decent ones move on quickly.

    a decent mechanic makes a bike shop.


    Yes, yes and yes!

    This x 1000.

    Sub par mechanics seem to be the norm, and relly good high quality ones who really do things right are the exception.

    My own observations & experiences are that for a lot of mechanics, they seem to be just kids who are into bikes and end up working in a shop doing mechanics stuff but it's usually without either formal education/qualification, a great natural aptitude or the time/money to sort issues out properly as if it were their own bike.
  • Less of the attitude and more of an attempt to be anything other than a miserable buzzard.

    I continue to be astounded that the small LBSs and their equivalents in other fields don't realise that a patronising attitude and an inability to be even remotely cheerful will push me towards the huge internet giants I am desperately trying to avoid. I appreciate it must be galling to have people come in, try stuff on and then buy it online but if you crack a smile now and then and get people onside they may just stick with you.

    Also don't treat people who've tried to fix stuff, muffed it up and come in for help as if they have violated your mother. At least they've tried. Being able to index gears and remove a stripped bolt makes you handy, not Jesus.

    There, got that off my chest. :shock:
  • PS Other major religious prophets available.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Depends on the location, no? If your shop is on a popular Sunday route, be open and have a decent cafe with safe bike parking.

    Location aside, a strong sock collection.
  • taon24taon24 Posts: 185
    1) The shop to be open enough before I have to be in work to drop stuff off in the morning and more importantly open enough after work to collect items in the evening.

    2) Mechanics who don't leave me thinking I could do a better job.

    I rarely bother to use a bike shop for mechanical work because i find something done OK, that I would want done well and don't use them again. I do still order stuff to the local Evans store, because the opening hours are convenient for picking stuff up.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,996
    Knowledgebase, friendly and non-judgemental staff. Seriously I have two pet hates with bike shop staff. First the ones who check you out and make a judgement on you as to whether you're good enough to shop there. Edge cycleworks I'm thinking of you.

    The second type decides that something you're doing isn't right and let you know about it. Classic example was the salesman who flounced off with a hissy fit. All I said was a.helmet light wasn't suitable because I don't always wear a helmet.

    Apart from that some nice but cheap bits that you can tempt affordable chunks of money out of me with. I can't afford bikes each visit but £40 or below each visit is realistic. PS I visit bike shops rather too much for my own good. I just don't buy that much.because things are too expensive.
  • I have a feeling that sometimes it's not the owners so much who have the elitist attitude, more the sales staff who don't have a personal stake but who fancy themselves because they once had a racing licence and would have gone pro but had to stop "because of the knees."
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,027
    If no shop parking then is there easy and free on street parking close to the shop ? That''s a big one for me - I'm not interested in collection and delivery as there are several bike shops I'm happy with within 5 minutes drive of my house - it's easier to drop off and collect myself than arrange a specific time for the shop to do it.

    Other than that I'm interested in price, stock and competent staff - I don't expect everyone to be an expert but if they aren't then it's nice if they don't pretend they are.
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  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,996
    I have a feeling that sometimes it's not the owners so much who have the elitist attitude, more the sales staff who don't have a personal stake but who fancy themselves because they once had a racing licence and would have gone pro but had to stop "because of the knees."
    It's probably true but when the branch has an almost universal elitist attitude I start to think the bosses recruit with that in mind. It's a small regional chain based Cheshire but with Lancashire stores too I believe. The Chester store, head office, claims boutique status and I believe that's why there's an elitist element there. This isn't a top end store like the new roadie shop in Ambleside, if you know it that's what I call jaw droppingly boutique, it's a local store supplying hybrids, road and mountain bikes. A small step up from Halfords!
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    mac1985 wrote:
    I wasn't too sure where to put this, so apologies if i have placed it in the wrong forum

    I was wondering what peoples views and opinions were so far as what you want from your local bike store, as in whats important, parking etc, what you want to see in store, not so much specific brands but more products, variety, price points, would you want a cafe area of some sort, indoor bike storage while you browse etc?

    any input would be greatly appreciated

    thanks in advance

    I don't use either of my two local bike shops, ever. Reasons:

    - One of them is staffed by the most insulting compulsive bullsh*t merchants I have ever come across (will tell you something is carbon fibre, even though it is welded!)
    - When I've used one of them for some mechanical servicing, they've replaced parts without asking me saying that they are worn, but the old part is now not around any more?!?
    - the other one, high cost, poor range and unwillingness to order things in (shoes, clothes) to try for size.

    So, any shop that fixes these problems might have a chance of my hard earned £££. My last major purchase from a physical bike shop was for shoes. It wasn't a local and I travelled there specifically because the carried a wide range and I bought them there and then paying a little over the online prices.
  • mac1985mac1985 Posts: 238
    great responses,thanks so much

    with regards to parking, the locations available just don't have their own dedicated shop owned parking, just doesn't exist where we are. there is however some free parking seconds walk from the location,swell as drop off and loading points, and some feedback i have had from some local cyclists was that if the shop/staff etc were right, worst case scenario they would happily pay the £2 odd carpark fee, which is also seconds from the location, and to be fair theres nothing stopping us taking the parking cost off the purchase bill,or something like that if need be.

    staff wise, there will be 3 to begin with, myself and business partner, both long time cyclists both on and off road, both cytech 2 trained, the 3rd has been organising coast to coast and other long distance charity rides for the last 10 years, swell as solos in norway etc. At the top of every point we make to each other, we have always put that customer service has to come first, wether they've come to open £10 or £3000, same high level of service and knowledge to everyone.

    The store itself will be visually attractive but will not be labelled elitist or anything like that,and will house 5 cycle brands, 2 premium brands, a dedicated road and mountain, a 3rd premium brand but one which covers everything from childrens up to high end road and mountain and everything in-between, and the other 2 are kind of a niche mtb brand and a fixie/vintage brand, which we choose because we met the brand owners at a launch show and he was an absolute legend. And all other products in the store will have a range of price points to suit everyone, as i said we don't want to label ourselves as anything, we just wanted to offer the most we can and cater for everyone.

    I guess what we want is our service to be such that customers might just stop in for a chat in passing because they've enjoyed their experience in the shop so much.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    In terms of selecting cycle brands, make sure you check with the distributors before comitting, although it sounds like you already have this covered. I was talking to the owner of a recently opened shop who said that he couldnt stock several of the brands he wanted because they had a deal with another shop which precluded supplying him as he was within a certain distance of them. He said that this was quite common.
  • Why I continue to use my local bike shop is for the following reasons.

    1. Free servicing for life (they give this for bikes over a certain value approx. £1000), free servicing for a year on other bikes. I have used this many times even for minor things. I am sure at times they think I am an idiot, but they never let on. I spend a lot of money in the shop, and always give them the opportunity to price match stuff I can get elsewhere.

    2. They loan out bike boxes (Bike Box Alan) for customer at no charge.

    3. They will loan out wheels etc if one of yours is broken

    4. They are genuinely nice people. They focus on good service and working round people. If you need something done in a genuine hurry, they will get it done and have good opening hours. They are situated next to a good park for test rides.

    Since my first visit I have bought 7 bikes (3 for me, 1 for wife, 3 for son) plus numerous accessories including a Turbo trainer they dont normally distribute but would get me one. I would rather they have the money.

    Focus on the service experience.......
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    Less of the attitude and more of an attempt to be anything other than a miserable buzzard.

    I continue to be astounded that the small LBSs and their equivalents in other fields don't realise that a patronising attitude and an inability to be even remotely cheerful will push me towards the huge internet giants I am desperately trying to avoid. I appreciate it must be galling to have people come in, try stuff on and then buy it online but if you crack a smile now and then and get people onside they may just stick with you.

    Also don't treat people who've tried to fix stuff, muffed it up and come in for help as if they have violated your mother. At least they've tried. Being able to index gears and remove a stripped bolt makes you handy, not Jesus.

    There, got that off my chest. :shock:

    this totally agree with it all, Im always astounded for small businesses whose key unique selling point over an internet shoppy thing, is they can provide that extra customer focussed friendly service, and yet Ive never been to an LBS where the staff,including the owners in some cases, havent treated me with anything other than their complete disdain or taken me for a complete fool.

    so point no 1 would be always treat your customers well, because I might only buying a measly spare tube, but I maybe seeing if I trust you before I hand over alot more money for a bike purchase.
  • chippykchippyk Posts: 529
    On the basis of my LBS being able to get out without having had a 30 minute lecture on the differences between different bearing types or bottom brackets. Look, Neil, I only popped in for some brake blocks....

    The LBS near work usually starts with aaah, I've been waiting for you, I've the perfect TT, hybrid, BMX etc for you, lovely discount.....

    Seriously good stock, reasonable prices, can fix my bike and a chat on about anything and that's it.

    I'll also name check Bridport Cycles for going above and beyond to true my Kysrium whilst I was on holiday, that's the sort of service you want.
  • One thing I want to see in any LBS indeed any bike shop whether small, large or part of a chain. That one thing I NEED more than anything else is a responsive repair shop. I give the example of a Scottish bike shop I walked into on holiday with a snapped chain, brake issues and a few other issues. It was mid holiday and we were on our way to the second part of our cycle tour. They asked if we could drop the bike off and give them.a couple of hours. We hadn't mentioned we were on holiday and they sounded apologetic for needing 2 hours to get it done, "because we've got something to do that we promised".

    Hour and half later we got a text to come and collect.

    Seriously any independent needs to find a way to react quickly to customers. Not sure how easy. For example I need my only roadworthy bike to be fettled. A few issues that would take a trained bike mechanic very little time but me an afternoon or longer. Brakes, gears, alignment check and hub(s). Since I commute by bike I really need to be able to drop it off and pick it up the next day. At the moment my local shops won't touch anything for several weeks and even a basic service would take a week or two. I can't believe how they can operate like that.
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