Tower Systems works closely with bike retailers, to help them compete with online bike retailers. Through our Bike Shop Software we help in a range of practical ways.
Here are five ways local bike shops can compete with online
- Track every contact. Treat every contact as a customer. Know who they are. Explain that it’s part of your service – to offer advice and keep in touch. This will qualify them as a customer from their very first question. While it may scare some off, better that you do it early before you give away your expert advice.
- Give them a gift for listening to you. Every customer who spends time taking in your advice should be given a voucher for them to spend in-store in a purchase above a certain value. This shows that you value their attention. Presented well it can better connect them with you for the longer term.
- Subtly share stories about the risks of online shopping. There are documented stories you can find about people being ripped off – what they ordered is not what they received, credit card fraud and the like. Arm your team with these stories … maybe a story about a customer who bought from you following an expensive rip off online.
- Reward loyalty with a front-end approach. Ensure that every purchase over, say, $10, comes with a voucher offering a discount off the next purchase. Factor this into your mark-up model. Cash rewards showing on a receipt can be a powerful lure to bringing a shopper back.
- Personalise your service. Arm all sales staff with personal business cards. Place follow up calls or emails to shoppers spending over, say, $100. Host networking events in-store. Connect with and support local clubs. Add value through personal contact at every possible opportunity. Structure regular, value-adding, contact with your customer base.
The difference between a bricks and mortar bike shop and an website selling bikes is that your business, the bricks and mortar business, is real, it can be visited, it’s personal. Everything you say and do needs to reinforce this and build trust based on this.
Be open about price
Don’t be afraid to say that online businesses can sell for less. That’s because they do less and care less. You could do this too but that’s probably not the business you want to run.
Competing on price really comes down to changing the game. This is where a properly structured and consistently run loyalty program offering an amount of cash off the next purchase based on the current purchase can make a difference for you.
Online businesses through the software behind their websites are consistent if nothing else. This is where good bike shop software can help a bike shop compete. It can drive consistency in the bricks and mortar business on pricing, loyalty rewards, customer marketing, buying, pricing and employee performance tracking and motivation.
Good bike shop software is designed specifically for bike shops to leverage the difference bike shops offer over online retailers. When used to the fullest, it can drive sales and bring customers back more often. It can play a key role on competing with online.