To the warriors of wobbly wheels, leaky tires and kinky chains, we tip our helmets to you. Thank you for you dedication, service and commitment to those who still believe that the best way to buy a bike is to try a bike—at any age.
While the world is constantly adjusting is proverbial chain, and consumers are looking for cheaper deals online, you are still opening your doors each morning knowing that there will always be kids whos moms and dads prefer to bring them into their local shop to pick out their first set of wheels. In truth, mom knows that with the bicycle comes the need for a helmet (best left to the experts) and dad knows that every time he walks through the doors, the inner child will get to come out and play again—neither of which happens when they buy on line.
So how do we keep these precious experiences alive—and even more importantly, how do we encourage the new generation of parents to share these real-life moment with their kids?
For many of America's iconic brands, the transition to solidify a competitive space online has come at the cost of closing large numbers of physical locations carrying with them the burden of displacing thousands of employees.
In the wake of a new breed of online shoppers, lies the ruins of the once untouchable mega stores whose footprints are now only a distant memory -- left behind by the hollows of empty buildings.
For those of you who wish to remain dedicated to the face to face
consumer experience...we just might have a solution.
Act global, think local.
How does a small bicycle shop stand a chance
when some of the most recognizable retailers are
facing unthinkable losses? In 2017, JCPenny's announced its plans to close 138 stores, Macy's; 100 stores, Radio Shack; 200, Sears; 42, Kmart; 108, Abercrombie and Fitch; 60, and the list goes on. Infact, much of what we are see with online shopping trends has taken place in just a little over a decade. As consumers become more comfortable and savvy with internet purchases, it becomes even more essential for brick and mortar retailers to carve out their space online—no matter how small your store may be. In fact, believe it or not, the smaller you are, the better your odds for success are. Many of the largest brand retail chains have simply become to large to move swiftly. With online activity becoming part of our modern-day shopping reality, it's even more important that stores are able to maintain A+ customer service, while at the same time become incredibly agile -- and write this down "Lite". In the 80's the Japanese became a world powerhouse, literally overnight. Japan was ranked 1st in the world for GNP and yet, the county could fit inside the state of Montana. How? They slimmed down their product production to focus only on the top 3 sellers out of 10. That allowed them to cut their overhead cost on the supply and product lines and maintain greater quality control. It's a lot easier to manage 3 products than 10. So what did that mean for Japan, well, think about the top brands that come out of this tiny country during these times—they are the same brands that are still the strongest and the best in their categories today, 30 years later; Sony Mitsubishi, Nikon, Toyota, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and the list goes on. Think about that, and go back to the drawing board. Can you carve out your nitche in the cycling market today. Sure you can. Focus on your local market, provide key services (everybody needs parts for their bikes (be it a tire or a tune-up and most folks don't know how to do for themselves -- so where will they go? Let them know ONLINE that you are their to help them (and that you're the best), get them in the shop so they can get to know you EVEN IF THEY BOUGHT THEIR BIKE AT KMART! Win them over with your service or selling them a tube for their tire and their next bike with be from your shop. Think small, act big.
Here's why; People want to a reason to shop in their own community. If for no other reason, it's an added layer of security. No matter how convenient it might be to shop online from the comfort of your own home, if you can do so from a retailer in your own community, you're much more likely follow through. However, security, is one reason, for many it's about the home town experience, the face-to-face exchange of goodwill, knowledge, and even a continued relationship through follow-up services and add-on purchases.
Amazon has millions of products, your shop only carries a few hundred. Who cares. As long as you have what your local customer is looking for, you can offer much more than Amazon ever will be able to. On a local level, the small retailer isn't competing for sales online, but rather for an emotional connection with it's local community. A bike shop can act as a home for its customers—a handshake and a smile will go along way. It's about trust, friendliness, readiness, instant satisfaction, and much more. Amazon doesn't provide a "try before you buy" policy. It doesn't provide face to face knowledge. It doesn't provide repair services. It doesn't provide connections to other cyclist in your community. It doesn't provide the experience and advice that your local shop can. When you buy from a local shop, you leave knowing you made the right choice, when you buy from Amazon, not only is it a time drain returning a product and starting over from square one, but your dealing with a nameless, faceless impersonal entity.
Competing with the giants online, keep it simple and start by giving your local community good reason to buy from you —
And now lets talk about price matching with the competition online. What if we band together to strengthen our online presence, to generate greater group buying power, collective marketing tools and event planning. Further more, if ProNet Cycling were to act as your fulfillment center all things related to online orders and sales will be virtually hands off -- so you can focus on what matters most, keeping the customers that come into your store happy.
The strength in numbers will play a large role in generating success online for everyone, but even more importantly, bike shop owners can help one another by sharing experiences and stories. What works for one shop in one town will likely work for another.
Yup, kind of like an Amazon for bicycle dealers, but even better; with the bonus of local town service and personalities still attached to the online experience.
Products ordered online would be delivered to the local shop free of charge to the customer for pickup - which gets the customer in the shop. If it's a pair of tires, the customer could put in their order a request to mount the tires
coop Marketing support (ads plus...)
Pilot product prog., recommend a product and if we carry it, you get a percentage of every sell.
Brand representation on dealer map & contact
Want us to carry certain products (one stop shop)?
We'll test market your products
get your shop featured on our website
and email campaigns
submit articles or customer stories,
share bulk product discounts
get first priority on special mechandise / product sales
be pART OF THE CHAIN GANG TOUR AND BICYCLE GROUP RIDES
BE PART OF THE RACE ACROSS AMERICA RALLY
BE PART OUR NATIONAL "GET OUT AND RIDE" CAMPAIGNS
coming to a town near you...
DESIGNED EXPRESSLY FOR BICYCLE RETAILERS
~ BROUGHT TO YOU BY PRONET CYCLING ~
(Early bird membership opportunities available)
make it yours
What if you were given the opportunity to promote your products, online, with a marketing program and the support of other retail shops across the country and lead by a well recognized distributor with over 20 years of business building success?
Wait no longer—ProNet Cycling is gearing up to do something that has never been done in our industry before and want you to be part of this ground breaking opportunity. We realize that our most cherished customers are the bicycle retailers across the country—the heart and soul of this industries success. Yet over the past decade there has been a painful shift away from brick and mortar and into the digital space. Online powerhouses have turned the experience of visiting the shop and taking a test ride into a pricing war with no regard fo(r building a reputation behind all that once was sacred.
So what can we do? The answer isn't easy, the reality is, the way people are doing business is changing. There's no getting away from the fact that people will choose convenience and price savings 9 times out of 10 when given the opportunity—and now, with the simplicity and satisfaction measures in place with giants like Amazon, the only answer is to join together and beat them at their own game.
BIKES & BICYCLE GEAR WE LOVE
Use the links above to take you to different categories —and be sure to share your bicycle stories and bike news with the world. We love seeing new bicycle products, or improved cycling gear, and of course, stories about cycling adventures Checkin on the latest reviews and products from Trek, Cannondale, Giant, Scott or many of the custom builders, such as Seven, Independent Fabrication and Moots! Also check in on our product reviews and stories from bicycle accessory and gear manufactures like, Shimano, Kinetic IncToolz—and much more. Send your stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org