Mobile Bikes: A Conversation Continued

For years we’ve touted the simple anecdote that by helping our whole industry, we help ourselves, and that our strength lies in community and connection. It’s a concept we whole-heartedly support and last month we received hearty affirmation. An article in our newsletter fostered the kind of connection and conversation that gives us purpose.
You might remember our discussion with Ian Christie of Summit Bicycles about the new endeavor he’d incorporated into his preexisting retail model, Beeline Bikes. This mobile repair service, he pointed out, had opened a whole new realm of customers to his already booming bike business across northern California.
Knowing that other retailers read Ian’s story and were inspired to try something new in their own store would make our hearts glow, but knowing that it fostered new conversation about how to improve our industry? We had to share.
Chad Pickard of Sioux Falls’ Spoke-N-Sport read the article in our April issue and left with a question. He didn’t just let it sit—he pursued it. Chad reached out to us and posed the question, which we in turn posed to Ian.
Chad’s question was a simple one: “Mobile bike repair is ‘taking the world by storm,’ but is anyone talking about what to do once the service is done? Ultimately there is going to be a need for other gear and or bikes.” In other words—what’s next? He offered a scenario to drive the question home: “Mechanic: Well, the headset is broken, derailleur is broken… what you really should be doing is getting a new bike. Customer: [crickets].”
It’s not just a valid question, but a necessary one. If mobile bikes fail—not due to the system, but the product—what net is there to catch the customer? How does the retailer capitalize on the failure of one of their own systems?

In true support of our favorite word—community—we connected Chad with Ian, and Ian had just the answer we were all now looking for.
“There have been a number of situations, like the one you mentioned, that became apparent that the tie to a brick and mortar store really optimized the mobile approach,” Ian began. And really, the whole answer is there: you can’t have one without the other. The reason Beeline Bikes is doing so well when partnered with Summit Bicycles is exactly that: the partnership. Better together.
Ian continued: “It was obvious that a mobile operator would be uniquely positioned to capture an interested customer for trading in their bike or bikes. Whether it be a situation like the one you mentioned, or even possibly seeing multiple old bikes in a garage and merely communicating the opportunities for trading in their bikes at that time. Prior to the brick and mortar relationship approach from Beeline, the customer would merely receive a credit towards Beeline’s mobile bicycle repair—which obviously would create most customers not following through with the trade-in. Whereas now they get an in-store credit to one of our fivestores, creating a much better experience for the customer and ultimately capitalizing on all the opportunities available to us at that time.”

Without the partnership, both Beeline and Summit were successful, but they had gaping holes through which customers could fall. But together, they provide safety nets for each other. Similarly, with a community that asks questions of each other, just as Chad did of Ian, we serve as each other’s safety nets in order to grow our customers and our industries.

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