Bicycle Centre Bendigo, Vic makes the most of having a café right next door when it comes to their local bunch ride.
How do you create a welcoming space where cyclists, including bicycle tourists, will visit more frequently, stay longer and spend more?
With more and more retailing being done online, there’s one thing that local bike stores can own, where the digital can’t compete – that’s creating welcoming spaces where cyclists, including bicycle tourists, want to linger and hang out.
Many bike stores are already hosting regular rides from their store, be they mountain bike, road and/or gravel rides. This is a great way to build a community and a loyal following. But there are other ways that you can get people to your store, including family members and friends.
This can be particularly relevant not only for your local cyclists, but also for visiting cyclists. They’re often wanting to find a quiet, inviting and welcoming space, where they simply stop, chill, feel part of a community, and can just take some time out from their tiring travels.
Consider devoting a small section of your store as a relaxing place to sit and read the latest bicycle magazines and destination tourism information. The reader might be inspired by a product they see and want to purchase through you.
Friends and family of non-cyclists will also appreciate a place they can rest up while waiting for their cycling enthusiast to do their business. Next time the family wants to visit a local bike store, they’re likely to come back to your shop, where the family/friend knows they can take some time out and chill; rather than standing, hanging around and waiting impatiently.
You can also leverage the advantages of our increasingly digital and tech world at the same time. Why not provide a small workspace and free wi-fi access? Many digital nomads are keen cyclists and often seek a comfortable space where they can relax and work for an hour or more. Often, this is a café where they’ll grab a coffee to ‘purchase’ some desk-space for a few hours. Odds are, while they’re occupying some desk-space in your store, they’ll be more than prepared to pay a small (or even large!) price for the privilege.
Rochester Cycles in the USA makes visitors feel right at home.
Is there a café nearby? Have you considered what sort of collaborations or partnerships might be possible? Coffee, catering, meeting spaces and venue hire; including for local clubs could be an option.
Here are some examples of other initiatives local bike stores around the globe are implementing to create welcoming spaces to lure more riders:
• A meeting place or club house that offers beer, coffee and snacks.
• A bar venue and board games.
• Vintage memorabilia.
• TV screenings and couch space during major cycling events.
• Yoga/stretching space.
• A map table to plan and explore (on paper).
• Invest (it doesn’t need to be vast) in your store’s aesthetics.
Create an inviting space that people – not just cyclists – want to visit, stay, linger… and shop!
And, ask your customers what they’d like to see!