We’ve had a wet summer, the sort where if you see the sun you call a policeman. This is a problem because at the bike shop we rely on a good summer to keep the accounts from becoming a nasty shade of red in winter. We aren’t there -yet- but it’d be nice to actually see a customer now and again and the boss has asked my if I have any ideas about how we could, perhaps, persuade people to wander over the threshold occasionally.

We’re a small bike shop (ie: we have no money) in a hilly town that does as little as possible for cyclists, and which has cold winters and the cycle lanes aren’t cleared of snow and ice. And they are steep in places. Oh, and we’re just up the (steep) hill from the Mercedes factory, so cars are big here. Despite that there’s massive potential for recreational and transport cycling because of the geography: for historical reasons those traffic free routes we do have are more direct in many cases than roads, when they aren’t on steep hills. The shop is on the edge of the town centre, but right next to the main bus stop, so we have a lot of foot traffic although it’s hidden from the road by parked cars. At the moment it’s a mess.

This means trying to get people to buy stuff. As I spend a lot of time not buying stuff, I’m putting a personal engine into reverse gear for a bit to come up with ideas, and I could do with some help here.

Right.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Any ideas and suggestions welcome:

Marketing:

Focus on cycling as convenient, fun, and a way to go on adventures to great places (see video above)

Advertising on the Bakfiets (I don’t mind carrying an advert if I can take it off again later)

Running tours? (Possibly english speaking)

Two adverts in the shop window so commuters and bus passengers see them, mostly about hopw much more fun it is to use a bike, and how much money you save over cars. Again: convenience and adventure.

Aim to be proficient in a range of maintenance tasks by next summer, so I can take a ‘mobile workshop’ (Bakfiets again) to local markets and fix bikes there.

Do checkups for schools and cycle courses.

Run repair classes.

Host evenings for environment groups and cycle groups.

Products:

Start selling clothes and bagy, not (just) for cyclists, more adventurewear, travelwear.

The Shop:

Change displays to show fun, convenience, adventure, not bike parts: move bike parts behind counter and more accesible things in front.

Move old used bikes away from the door (they look really tatty and they don’t sell very well). Maybe even ask their owners to take them back home.

We can’t afford a lot of bikes, so really allow a lot ofdisplay space for the ones we have so they look really good. Have four areas: Family, Transport, Travel and Fun, with one or two bikes in each, possibly even set up with bags and things so people get an idea, this also this means we are saving space.

For display signs, hand paint signs on wood to give a natural feel. (I knew that set painting in the theatre diploma would be handy one day)

Use the whole front area for this and clothes, not repaired bikes like we do now…

Have a clear area to store repaired bikes, with a (wooden) sign.

Get rid of the massive junk piles behind the counter and use the space for bikes awaiting repair.

Tidy up back room for storing dead/long term bikes

Use old canvasses left by previous shop and make road signs for exotic places (set painting again).

Basically, focus on convenience, adventure and travel.

Any other ideas from anyone?

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