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What you want from a shop

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  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,479
    I now live 300 miles from my preferred LBS, but I still phone them for advice and order from them online, as the advice I get at local LBSs is terrible. I use a mobile servicing guy for repairs and maintenance, as the local LBS failed to fix the specific problem I told them about when I got a service from them. They also put the wrong size cassette on the back when replacing it.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 3,393
    Carbonator wrote:
    mac1985 wrote:
    Will we have friendly knowledgeable staff, yes without a shadow of a doubt, all 3 of the current staff members are cyclists, both road and mtb, as said all are cytech 2 or above qualified so far as the technical side of things go, the customers needs will always be put first.

    What retail experience do you and your staff have?

    If I were you I would put you and your staff first and do your best with customers.
    You cannot help any customers if you are out of business in 6 months or have staffing issues.

    All sounds a bit fluffy to me.
    Remember why you go to work (money) unless you enjoy giving people great service for free.

    Make sure you value your staff with more than just words.
    Never do anything for a customer that you would not do for staff.

    Customers are not nice people a lot of the time.
    Like children, have fair rules and stick to them (for customers and staff) if you don't want to lose control.
    Give an inch and they will take a mile.
    Give a mile and they will never settle for an inch.

    Never ever over promise/under deliver.

    Never drop your pants.

    No need to do too much too soon.
    Do whatever you do well and let people know what future plans are.

    Good luck :wink:
    I tried to allude to some more commercial considerations earlier but they don't seem to be high on the list of concerns. I hope there's a realistic expectation of what retail involves. It's far more selling bits and pieces and un closed big ticket sales than selling complete bikes. Also lots of looking at stuff that simply doesn't sell. Dealing with that issue is more important than some of the desirable but fringe issues on this thread.
    Good luck.
  • mac1985mac1985 Posts: 238
    morstar wrote:
    As a more commercial word of advice. Customer service is a given and you've clearly identified this as important. You've just got to go and execute now.
    However, nuts and bolts retail stuff. You need to have a good balance of vision and responsiveness. You need to know what you want the shop to be as you can't be all things to all people and this does mean some hard decisions. Focus your cash on things you can do well, don't dabble in anything and everything. Conversely, if your customer base consistently identify the same gap in your offering, listen to what they're telling you! You might be missing a trick. They won't say directly that you're missing something. But when you get the same enquiries consistently, they're telling you something. It may even be that a service or product you do offer isn't as obviously available to your customers as you think it is.
    Learn about stock management. Don't tie up all your cash in old stock. Exit weak stock quickly. If something doesn't sell, try everything you can to move it at a profit and if it still doesn't sell, forget any emotional attachment and get rid at any return.
    Learn to walk the store. Clear your head and enter the store with the mind of a customer, where are the staff, how does the shop look, does it look welcoming, is it obvious that you sell brand x or product b? Do you want customers to serve themselves or do you want everybody to need serving? How do you achieve this. Do you have test products. Are you prepared for things to be unpacked so people can get tactile, have you factored in the cost?
    Retail is easy if you continually balance a clear vision and responsiveness. Too visionary and you may be out of touch with reality but too responsive and you can waste time and money chasing sales that simply aren't there.

    Sorry mortar, all points raised in here are important and of a concern, jumping on and reading/replying as i get a chance while balancing everything else planning wise, ordering,choices,constant phone calls and emails with suppliers etc.
    we know what we don't want to be,thats for sure, we don't want to be driven solely to sell you a bike/product and get rid of you and move on to the next, we don't want to have the shop full of everything under the sun just because we can, even though half of it may not even be what customers want. We had the option of having Factor in the store, but realistically will we sell one, highly unlikely, a massive outlay for what essentially would end up being an expensive display, so we chose against it.

    most of our local shops do the same thing, flashy in your face displays, pushy sales staff, young un trained kids in the workshop and rely on the brands to get their sales, not their reputation. We have chosen more premium brands, simply because we felt if we stock everything for everyone, we are no different to anyone else locally, although Lapierre pretty much covers all price points and models. All the models in the store will be 2017 models, and demo models will also be available.

    We have decided to have the shop fully open plan, workshop etc so everyone is on hand and approachable at all times, which hopefully will make customers feel more relaxed about asking questions etc and mean they don't have to look around for staff.
    We know we will never be able to please everybody or have everything for everyone at any given time, which is why we have chosen out brands accordingly, and the fact is that this model may not work and we have to adjust it to fit
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Just had a thought...

    Really good wheel builders seem to be few and far between; I'm talking about the ones who can help you decide which components you should use, explain the tradeoffs, relate your requirements to the sort of riding you'll be doing, and then build you a wheel that'll last, and do the right thing if there are any issues. The good ones' reputation spreads far and wide by word of mouth. I don't know whether there's already such a builder in your area; if not, and if one of your mechanics builds good wheels and has the right attitude, it could be an opportunity.

    What I'm thinking is that your mechanics are presumably being paid all day every day, but the flow of repair/servicing jobs may fluctuate. People getting their bikes fixed/serviced will expect a quick turnaround, but customers having a new wheel set built won't expect/need the same turnaround. Therefore there's flexibility to fit wheel building around the other jobs, and keep the workshop busy.

    I'm not so much thinking that there's a huge amount of money in wheel building, more that it gives you a way to make money out of spare workshop capacity. It should also increase footfall, and provide an opportunity to sell hubs/rims/spokes.

    A few potential downsides:
    - You'll need to stock a decent range of spokes and nipples. Good news is that they don't take up much space; you'll have to do the maths on how much capital they take up. It might make sense to hold a very modest stock of hubs and rims, so long as you have access to a much wider range that can be supplied at short notice.
    - You'll inevitably be presented with all sorts of whacky wheels to repair, so you need to make sure you know where to get hold of the bespoke spokes and nipples that some manufacturers use, ideally quickly and in small quantities.
    - Your wheel builder(s) need to be good, and knowledgeable. Lots of bike shops have mediocre wheelbuilders, I could tell you a few horror stories.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • A mechanic who knows what he's doing and is happy to talk you through what he's going to do for you.
    A mechanic who'll treat your bike with respect (or is that just my ocd).

    Indoor (and safe) bike parking.

    Tea.

    Stock worth buying.
    Condor Super Acciaio, Record, Deda, Pacentis.
    Curtis 853 Handbuilt MTB, XTR, DT Swiss and lots of Hope.
    Genesis Datum Gravel Bike, Pacentis (again).
    Genesis Equilibrium Disc, 105 & H-Plus-Son.

    Mostly Steel.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Hows the shop coming along?
  • 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....

    There is a major problem with stock, it costs money especially if stocking on an overdraft or manufacturer stocking plan.There may also be manufacturer "minimum standards" of what to stock (in my experience in the motor trade the manufacturers stock requirements are usually not what you can sell but what they want to rid themselves of but if you want to keep the name above the door you have to comply, this again takes money. Obviously I do not have experience of the cycle trade but I would imagine if you want the Trek / Specialised etc sign above the door to entice people in that will come at a cost.

    Then there is obsolescence to be accounted for. There is absolutely no point whatsoever in stocking everything when we live in a "just in time" world especially for an item that is for most of us a leisure persuit whereby waiting a couple of days for a replacement part isn't the end of the world.

    Unless you have written off hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock (as motor dealers have historically done, I feel sure that cycle shops will similarly write off redundant stock, maybe not to the same scale) then I know stocking policy is very hard for the lay man to get his / her head around.
  • 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.

    1. honest
    2. polite

    I stopped using one LBS because I didn't trust him when he would said x needed replacing on my bike and I had my doubts. He also had anger management issues and even people who walked into his store wanting to spend money were treated like an inconvenience.
    Recently I too my bike to another shop ( and it will be the last) they made some glaringly obvious errors... They replaced the cable for the front derailleur but did not snip the end of. So it had 15 cm of fricken cable sticking into my right leg. Even to look at, you know its wrong.
    Another pet hate of mine is when I ask a question about a product and the shop staff start reading the packaging in front of me, sometimes out loud word-for-word. They simply don't know. I can (and probably have) read the packaging for myself.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • ZMC888ZMC888 Posts: 292
    1. Two mechanic-ing areas. One where the head mechanic (well paid and extremely capable) does all the work needed for customers without being distracted. The other where customers can do their own work sometimes assisted by mechanically competent and qualified sales staff (with tools attached to long cables or chains and other things bolted down to prevent theft).

    Possibly do mechanical teaching/training and a tie in with a tool company. Reason: because people can buy all the cheap parts they want online, but if they don't have the tools or competence to install them they need help. It's a big reason why people would go to a LBS. For example I can do nearly everything myself, but I'd still want someone to hold my hand when installing a PF BB into a CF frame for the first time, and pay for the privilege. So I'd buy the BB from the shop and the tool and correct Loctite and maybe do it myself next time.

    2. Not the most wide range of parts but stock 5 star bomb proof items and keep the prices competitive with online. Eg Maxxis or Schwlabe MTB tires and Conti road bike tyres, Park tools, Campy wheels etc.

    3. Open and passionate staff, no grumpy idiots or arrogant retards. Brainwash the team with the idea that bikes are here to save the world, all political, religious stuff and other negative censored banned.

    4. Ban local radio and those tired old songs. Instead have old grand tour vids, cycling documentaries, DH mountain biking videos and the very best YT videos on constant play.

    5. Sell everything your could want post-ride including coffee, low alcohol beer (to avoid licensing issues), snack food and a cheap or free coin-op bike-wash.

    6. Cheap bike rentals, courtesy bikes and bike demos. Hefty credit card deposit, but reasonable daily rates.

    7. Maybe 2nd hand bike sales and even trade in service?

    8 . Ideally near a good cycling area or both MTB and road. But you'd need to be in an out of town area to have enough space to have a big enough shop.

    In short: Have multiple revenue streams concentrating on all the things an online retailer can't do.
  • ZMC888 wrote:
    1. Two mechanic-ing areas. One where the head mechanic (well paid and extremely capable) does all the work needed for customers without being distracted. The other where customers can do their own work sometimes assisted by mechanically competent and qualified sales staff (with tools attached to long cables or chains and other things bolted down to prevent theft).

    Possibly do mechanical teaching/training and a tie in with a tool company. Reason: because people can buy all the cheap parts they want online, but if they don't have the tools or competence to install them they need help. It's a big reason why people would go to a LBS. For example I can do nearly everything myself, but I'd still want someone to hold my hand when installing a PF BB into a CF frame for the first time, and pay for the privilege. So I'd buy the BB from the shop and the tool and correct Loctite and maybe do it myself next time.

    2. Not the most wide range of parts but stock 5 star bomb proof items and keep the prices competitive with online. Eg Maxxis or Schwlabe MTB tires and Conti road bike tyres, Park tools, Campy wheels etc.

    3. Open and passionate staff, no grumpy idiots or arrogant retards. Brainwash the team with the idea that bikes are here to save the world, all political, religious stuff and other negative censored banned.

    4. Ban local radio and those tired old songs. Instead have old grand tour vids, cycling documentaries, DH mountain biking videos and the very best YT videos on constant play.

    5. Sell everything your could want post-ride including coffee, low alcohol beer (to avoid licensing issues), snack food and a cheap or free coin-op bike-wash.

    6. Cheap bike rentals, courtesy bikes and bike demos. Hefty credit card deposit, but reasonable daily rates.

    7. Maybe 2nd hand bike sales and even trade in service?

    8 . Ideally near a good cycling area or both MTB and road. But you'd need to be in an out of town area to have enough space to have a big enough shop.

    In short: Have multiple revenue streams concentrating on all the things an online retailer can't do.

    All very good points, but all of this requires a big space, and lots of space is hard to come by in desirable parts of towns, where footfall and passing traffic is higher than in sticks. Which is expensive and hard to come by. Which is why LBSs find life so tough vs the internet
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Another pet hate of mine is when I ask a question about a product and the shop staff start reading the packaging in front of me, sometimes out loud word-for-word. They simply don't know. I can (and probably have) read the packaging for myself.

    So do you expect staff to know everything about every product, or just prefer they said "sorry, I don't know"?

    Would you be offended if they asked "have you read the packaging?" prior to reading the packaging?
  • Man Of LardMan Of Lard Posts: 903
    edited November 2016

    There is a major problem with stock, it costs money especially if stocking on an overdraft or manufacturer stocking plan.

    Ok, but I'm talking about boring consumable stuff - like a brake pad for a common disc calliper; a disc for the same; even a bottom bracket for nothing more esoteric than a road frame Hollowtech crank. Not even a choice of tyres...

    Can you guess why I eschew my LBS and just hold my own stock now? (Yes, I live in a rural area - but when I've needed a LBS in a city I've yet to find one that has everything (consumable) I need in a one stop with one exception - in Wrexham where Tweeks happens to be - not only did they have it all, but they stayed open an extra 10 minutes whilst I got there from Chester!)

    edit: Tweeks not Tweets - predictive text ffs
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Carbonator wrote:
    Another pet hate of mine is when I ask a question about a product and the shop staff start reading the packaging in front of me, sometimes out loud word-for-word. They simply don't know. I can (and probably have) read the packaging for myself.

    So do you expect staff to know everything about every product, or just prefer they said "sorry, I don't know"?

    Would you be offended if they asked "have you read the packaging?" prior to reading the packaging?

    They cant know everything but when they dont, they could ask someone else in the branch. On occasion, staff have offered to phone the manufacturer/distributor and ask for me.

    "sorry, I don't know" is not acceptable. "I dont know, but will try and find out" is the answer you should get. The former is the poor attitude of many shop staff today (not just talking bike shops here).
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    apreading wrote:
    Carbonator wrote:
    Another pet hate of mine is when I ask a question about a product and the shop staff start reading the packaging in front of me, sometimes out loud word-for-word. They simply don't know. I can (and probably have) read the packaging for myself.

    So do you expect staff to know everything about every product, or just prefer they said "sorry, I don't know"?

    Would you be offended if they asked "have you read the packaging?" prior to reading the packaging?

    They cant know everything but when they dont, they could ask someone else in the branch. On occasion, staff have offered to phone the manufacturer/distributor and ask for me.

    "sorry, I don't know" is not acceptable. "I dont know, but will try and find out" is the answer you should get. The former is the poor attitude of many shop staff today (not just talking bike shops here).

    Surely they would read the info before going to ask someone else etc. though?
    Thats part of 'trying to find out' isn't it?

    I don't think you should expect too much from people on minimum wage.
    Blame the organ grinder, not the monkey.

    Lots of the organ grinders decisions will be customer led, so ultimately, blame the customer.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Oh, I do blame the organ grinder - totally the wrong culture in many places. I always had part time jobs in shops etc when in school/uni and was taught the right way. Culture/Attitude has to start at the top.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Way of the world now unfortunately.

    Generation easyjet ........... I want it now, and at the best price.

    That democratic vote did not go how I wanted ....... lets protest!
  • 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:

    You must go to the same LBS I (used to) go to!

    There's a bloke in there that is so utterly unhelpful, sneering and miserable that I will not go there again. I've tried two or three times thinking maybe he's moved on or been on a customer service course...nope, same superior attitude. Looking down his nose at me because I'm trying to fix a problem rather than replace my whole groupset with the latest fancy pants offering. Telling me flatly that it's impossible to fix or repair which is clearly untrue. Not even with a rueful smile and some sympathy, no...just the dead eyes of someone who doesn't care.

    I come out of the shop seething and feeling like someone has tried to rip me off.
  • The one and only thing an LBS needs for me is a large repository of standard nuts and bolts etc for various fettling projects. I recently tried to buy a wave washer and spacer set for BB30 at my local LBS in Clapham and they looked at me like I was weird.
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