I've had this idea about what I think IBD's (Independent Bicycle Dealers) will have to do to change or adapt to the changes that we've seen in retail. This is sort of an evolution forced on by many things, the internet being one of them, but not the only one. This model pertains more to shops selling upper end products rather than $399.99 hybrids and recreational mountain bikes. I've wanted to write this for quite some time, so here goes...
This "shop" will be located in an office condo complex of some type. Really, anyplace that's not in a retail strip. There's no need to pay retail space prices. Walk-by traffic is not important and not really an issue.
Business hours will be 12-8pm with an emphasis on appointments and one-on one focused service.
Frames and complete bikes will be displayed on the distributors/importers/manufactures own dime. That is, no more "preseason guessing".... I mean ordering. Less front loading and more vendor based inventory. This is a win-win situation for all involved. More on this later...
Networking and coordinating with other businesses that are the best in their own specialty. For example, bike fitting, coaches, mechanic, bike vacation travel agent, etc. Not being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
A strong backroom internet presence in the form of an online store that has a narrow focus of products offered that targets specifically their market. Convenience is the key.
Finally, a professional and polished appearance and approach. As much as shops don't think that image is important, the bottom line is that it is. "Alternative" appearances just don't cut it and quite frankly doesn't exude a level of professionalism to the buyer of a Seven, Moots, or a Colnago.
That's for now. It's just a taste. I will expound on this in future posts. And as always, I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.