Comment

Great Trends For Revitalizing Your Retail Bike Shop Design

When it comes to remodeling, bike shops around the world are pushing the envelope and bringing great design ideas to retail shop design. If you want your bike shop to look cutting edge and updated, here are 3 major bike shop retail design trends.

  1. Mix of natural with the industrial. When it comes to shop remodeling trends, stores are mixing natural woods with clean lines from concrete floors and brick walls with metal fixtures. With bikes standing out against warm wood tones while blending with industrial metal accents, sellers are able to present the dual nature of bikes as mechanical yet connected to the outdoors. Handsome Cyclesis a good example of this blend of natural colors with an industrial twist.
  1. Feature bikes on walls.  In addition to the necessary racks of bike inventory, the trend is to pull unique bikes out and feature them in a highlighted display on the wall. This is a great way to break up a group of bike racks and also a good way to engage your customer with a clearer presentation of the features on the highlighted bike. The Factory Five Boutiqueexercises this trend in a great way, showcasing the fixed gear frames for visitors on their walls and hanging from the ceilings. Not only does it draw color to the walls, but visitors can get a good look at every part of the frame without moving the bike. And given its position on the wall, the frame looks as light as it is, making riders more susceptible to seeing the advantage of the frame.
  1. Bright and bold colors for visibility. As more and more people want bikes for commuting, bike shops are displaying their wares with a mix of bright and bold accents that bring bikes and accessories to the forefront. Displaying bright products--such as reflective materials, neon-colored clothing, and colorful helmets or handlebars--gives consumers a sense of safety, visibility, and forward-thinking when looking at bikes in shop. Playing with these bold colors can add great interest to your shop.

For more design ideas and inspiration as well as versatile fixtures for displaying your product be sure to check out our website.

BCSSouth Image.jpg

Comment

Comment

3 Reasons Why Using Mannequins in Retail Increases Sales Between 10-35 Percent

Mannequins in Marketing: Major Money-Makers for Merchandisers

In the world of fashion merchandising, the number one rule is: The better it is displayed, the better it will sell.

Nowhere is this more obvious than with the use of mannequins in your retail store. Research indicates that apparel sales increase with the use of mannequins by anywhere from 10 to 35 percent, making mannequins one of the best investments you can make for your store.

But why do mannequins work so well? The answers are many, but consider just a few:

1) Mannequins offer your customers a three-dimensional view.

Many customers may have trouble visualizing how an article of clothing will look in real life if it is simply displayed on a hanger. This is particularly true in the case of clothing for women. For instance, mannequins offer an easily relatable view of the positioning of necklines and hemlines.

2) Mannequins create eye appeal and visual interest.

Because clothing displayed on a mannequin stands out from a rack of similarly fashioned apparel, it triggers an emotional purchase response. Some fashion merchandising experts believe this response occurs in as little as seven seconds. At its best, merchandising aims to evoke such an emotional response. When customers engage on an emotional level, sales increase exponentially.

3) Mannequins promote easy upselling opportunities.

Mannequins make it easy to demonstrate entire outfits rather than simply single items of clothing. Adding accessories like jewelry, belts, shoes, and handbags encourages shoppers to make additional purchases. If you’re in the sportswear world, adding things such as gloves, hats, reflective pieces or water bottles would be a great way to increase your add on sales. Combining multiple store items in this way allows a customer to envision more clearly a completed outfit. Even mannequins included on wall displays can work for this purpose if apparel is layered or accessorized properly.

The Bottom Line

Mannequins are unique in their ability to engage customers. They provide strong visual appeal, and trigger an emotional purchase response. Increasing sales by as much as 35 percent, they are an investment worth every penny.

IMG_5140.JPG
IMG_6035.jpg

Comment

Comment

Good Merchandising Will Help You Sell More Product

The Impact Good Merchandising Has On Your Sales May Surprise You

Have you ever walked into a hardware store or an auto parts store and stood scratching your head, wondering which direction to go to find that one tiny part or piece you need? Maybe you have found yourself in a retail or sporting goods store, trying to figure out where on earth to find golf balls or spikes & poles to set up a volleyball net for your July 4th bash. We have all probably found ourselves in situations similar to the ones listed above or other equally daunting tasks at one time or another.

What is the one thing in all the above circumstances that could make finding that 'needle in a haystack', so to speak, a little less frustrating? The answer is MERCHANDISING! When you walk into a large store, finding something you need or finding a salesman to help you out are difficult tasks. However, with effective usage of signage throughout an establishment, store navigation and satisfied consumers could be as simple as color coding or placement.

Another effective way to merchandise products in a way that may encourage customer purchases is through proper presentation of apparel, household items, sporting goods, etc. on well-designed, merchandise-friendly racks and fixtures. A well-placed wall fixture or specialized product rack, coupled with colorful, eye-catching signage promoting price points and other pertinent information could be the difference between a buyer and a browser!

With so many retail options and different product types being thrown at us through media representation, whether in commercial form, print ads, or internet sales & promotions, sales establishments need to present their best face through well-thought-out merchandising and advertising techniques and budgets. The impact good merchandising has on your sales will not only surprise you, it will make your customers happier, therefore increasing the likelihood of high sales retention and customer loyalty.

IMG_0327.jpg

Comment

Comment

Mobile Repair Shop Opens Brick-and-Mortar Store

IMG_2511.JPG

Published February 24, 2017

by Val Vanderpool

CARY, N.C. (BRAIN) — Retailer Matt Lodder operated a small home-based shop offering mobile repair services for eight years, and as his business grew he realized he needed a larger space. Lodder recently moved his repair and bike fit operation into a 1,400-square-foot space here.

The Cycle Surgeon stocks bikes from Yeti and Argon18 and continues to offer mobile repair services.

“The customer’s needs are important to me, so I will always do my best to meet them. If they are too busy or unable to come to the shop, I can bring my services to them,” Lodder said. “I offer on-site repairs as well as a pickup and delivery service. If someone needs emergency service, I can offer expedited turnaround.”

Lodder also said his shop’s small size lets him be nimble. “Being small allows me the flexibility to personalize your repair or fitting experience,” he said.

Lodder also stocks clothing, components and accessories. He worked with Holly Wiese and Andy Davis of 3 Dots Design on the store design. 

IMG_2514.JPG

Comment

3 Pro Tips That Show Why Your Retail Space Needs An Effective Signage Package

Comment

3 Pro Tips That Show Why Your Retail Space Needs An Effective Signage Package

Why Your Retail Space Needs an Effective Signage Package

The importance of an effective signage package cannot be overstated. According to a survey by Ketchum Research and Analytics, 76 percent of consumers have chosen to enter a store they had never visited before based purely on its signage. Perhaps more importantly, 68 percent of customers admit to having made product purchases after a sign caught their eye.

When considering the effect of signage on your retail space, it is good to remember the ABC's. Effective signage:

  • Attracts new customers
  • Brands your retail space in the minds of customers
  • Creates increased impulse sales

Attracting New Customers

First and foremost, your signage outside and inside your retail space should be designed to draw the eye of passing customers. While it may be difficult to afford a massive marketing campaign to garner customer attention, well-designed signage is both affordable and effective. Unlike other forms of advertising, signage works for you 24/7, piquing customer interest in your products and driving traffic into your store.

Branding Your Retail Space

If your company has a trademark or logo, your signage should contain its image both outside and inside the store. Repeating text and images throughout your store via signage keeps your brand in the minds of your customers. The more consistent your signage is, the better your customers will remember the uniqueness of your retail space. Use your signage to make your brand more visible, more recognizable, and more conspicuous.

Creating Impulse Sales

Studies of retail shopping behaviors indicate that 68 percent of purchases were unplanned during major shopping trips and 54 percent on smaller shopping trips. Clearly, impulse sales account for a large percentage of total sales for a retailer.

Effective signage encourages impulse purchases by drawing the consumer's attention to the areas of your store that you want them to see. An attractive sign is both memorable and enticing. According to the Ketchum study, 68 percent of customers believe that a store's signage is a reliable indicator of the company's products or services. 

What does this mean for retailers? Simply put, your signage establishes your reputation with your customers, at least partially. Customers tend to believe that a company with a poorly designed or unattractive sign is likely to offer an inferior product or unprofessional service.

Location, Location, Location

Effective signage works not only on the outside of the store to bring customers in, but also on the inside of the store as well. In-store signs introduce customers to special products, promote sales, and give customers the information they need to make a purchasing decision on the spot. In-store signage coordinates your brand message throughout the customer browsing experience.

How to Make Your Signage Stand Out

To make the most of your signage, it is important to ensure that it meets the following criteria:

  1. Quality production: The days of hand-written, misspelled signs is definitely over. Modern consumers expect quality signage.
  2. Simple color scheme: While you want your signage to catch the eye, you do not want it to assault the eye.
  3. Easy to read: If customers cannot easily decipher the text and images on your signage, it will lose its effect quickly.
  4. Simplicity of message: Your message should be short and sweet. Longer messages slow down a customer and make impulse shopping less likely.
  5. Proper placement: Your signs should be placed in the areas you want your customers to browse. However, signs should never be placed in such a way that customer traffic is impeded, or merchandise is blocked.

If you follow these general guidelines, your signage will drive traffic to your retail space and promote sales. If you would welcome additional information about how to make your retail space all it can be, please contact us. We will be glad to work with you to promote your store in the best way possible.

IndeAfter_95.jpg

Comment

HERE'S WHY YOU NEED TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR OWN CUSTOMER SERVICE AND ENGAGEMENT

Comment

HERE'S WHY YOU NEED TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR OWN CUSTOMER SERVICE AND ENGAGEMENT

Article by Bob Phibbs

Brick and mortar stores have the ability to surprise and delight. So does a downtown shopping area.

The sheer serendipity of walking into a store can present you with random points of view. Couple that with a retail crew trained in the soft skills of how to engage a stranger and you’ve created an engaging shopping experience.

Jeff Bezos said it best: "We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions."

And that’s true for both online and brick and mortar retailers, right? So what’s online’s Achilles heel?

People only buy what they came to the site to buy, and if you’re an apparel retailer, half of them will be returned.

Maybe that’s because Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only going to show them a slew of things they are expecting to see. There’s no serendipity...

And serendipity leads to higher sales.

The question is, when does this become the tipping point where shoppers return to physical stores?

Humans love the random discovery of something new or unexpected. No algorithm can predict what that item will be or when you personally will be ready for it.

But that doesn’t stop them from trying.

Customer engagement is all the rage in marketing circles.

Customer engagement is a connection between a retail sales associate as a representative of the brand and a potential customer.

How you manage that retail customer service interaction makes all the difference.

Many pundits are touting how to really engage a shopper; we are to bring all of the resources of Big Data to brick and mortar retailers.

But does that mean for example that a salesperson is supposed to grab a shopper in the underwear aisle and haul them to the cookware display because Big Data shows they bought a frying pan at the same time they purchased a pair of underwear? Does the kitchenware associate grab a frying pan and run to the customer in the underwear aisle?

Further, will the salesperson who knows your browsing history charge you more like online retailers?

An article entitled, How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All states, “The price of the headphones Google recommends may depend on how budget-conscious your web history shows you to be, one study found. For shoppers, that means price—not the one offered to you right now, but the one offered to you 20 minutes from now, or the one offered to me, or to your neighbor—may become an increasingly unknowable thing.”

Right now the online shopper has the blind belief online retailers are on their side and brick and mortar aren’t to be trusted for low prices. In fact, 71% of shoppers believe they will get a better deal online than in stores.

But that simply isn’t so...

Checkout my recent price check of a vacuum cleaner on Amazon and the price fluctuations that one product has had over the past 30 days.

How do you compete with that?

Well first off-whenever someone states the online price is always lower - challenge them.

That said, you can’t feasibly change all your prices by week, or month, or hour nor can you charge more for the woman who drove a new BMW to your store versus the guy who rode a bike, but conceivably you could online.

Who has the time or the budget?

Oh right, online retailers have the technology that can do that in nanoseconds.  

Your poor website hasn’t got a chance if you think you can compete on price.

And in-store, the less you train your crew, the more price-driven you will become. But because you aren’t adjusting prices in nanoseconds, you’ll probably be charging less than you should.

The less profits you make, the less you can reinvest in inventory, merchandising, training and even yes, Big Data.

Retail is not dead, but brands are dying.

Scott Galloway from NYU Stern School of Business says, “Amazon has declared war — with the backing of 500 million consumers and a lot of cheap capital — on brands. And we will, using our algorithm, find you as good a product for a lesser price. Amazon will figure out in a nanosecond the best deal and most likely trade you into the highest-margin product for them which will be Amazon toothpaste." 

But customers still want and need engagement

You’d think customer engagement would be a priority in brick and mortar stores right now, right?

I was strolling Michigan Avenue in Chicago last month. While most store employees couldn’t say a word to shoppers, there were a few who tried.

At Saks, I was greeted in the men’s designer department, “How may I be of service to you?”

I thought, Get away from me, it’s not the 1800s. Customer engagement is finding a new way to get strangers to talk to me.

At Under Armour I was asked just after I walked through their door, “So, what brought you in today?”

I thought, My feet.

Yes, they were trying. I mean, at least they were using their voices.

When I went into Macy’s, I saw they were trying at customer engagement too.

They had a DJ in the men’s shirt display unit – with no one around. 

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 4.12.22 PM.png

Meanwhile, I walked through all of their men’s departments and passed their leftover sale clothes, and no one approached me.

No one.

As an aside, one of my Facebook fans, Shawn Fitzpatrick, reported an experiment regarding in-store music.  Their retail bicycle store stopped playing the music staff liked to listen to and swapped it for "feel good" music like Brown Eyed GirlSweet Caroline, and Friends in Low Places using an online music service.  They reported a 40% increase in sales over previous week. Seems there might be something to it.

Again, it’s all about the customer experience, not what staff wants. Now back to my experience in Chicago...

While I was on the second floor of the Under Armour shop, a guy entered the golf simulator to swing a ball at a virtual course.

Alone, he tried to figure out how to use it. I watched for five minutes and he stayed alone.  

That’s the best engagement those retailers could come up with?

Customer engagement helps people feel less alone. USA Today defined loneliness as “the feeling that arises when there is a gap between social interactions you want and reality.”

The most common complaint we still see in survey after survey of shopper pet peeves is “No one said a word to me, “Not enough employees to get waited on properly” or disengaged employees who do not want to serve anyone other than their phone.

That’s because we have an army of retail workers who have become mute.

That’s why you need to give your employees training so they get their own voices back. Once they do, they can become trusted advisors to shoppers.

Because online retailers are now beginning to use technology to try to get you to trust them.

The new Amazon Echo Look will now store pictures of you in your wardrobe and make recommendations for you. The app will provide an opinion based on criteria including fit, color, styling, and current fashion trends. All of the information being collected will also be used to help in providing future purchasing suggestions.

That’s pretty close to becoming a trusted advisor. And that’s pretty close to customer engagement.

But it still doesn’t add the magic of serendipity.

And if brick and mortar retailers don’t use their advantage of unexpected purchases, what happens?

They’ll squander their one big advantage and profits will suffer.

So with all these examples, I have to ask you...

What is it going to take you to get serious about your own customer engagement that leads to serendipitous sales?

Why should a shopper put more effort into shopping than you the merchant puts into creating a memorable – and by that I mean exceptional – experience?

They shouldn’t. But you should.

See also, What Do Shoppers Value and Want When They Walk Into Retail Stores?

In Sum

The way forward in retail will be a combination of stores and online to optimize the shopping experience and retain customers.

Scores of retailers are going to close – but it doesn’t have to be you.

You have to up your service game or you’re going to lose the game of retail. Retail sales training is still uncharted territory for many retailers.

They just don’t value putting money into the one physical thing that can most juice their sales - their employees.

Because of poor customer service and engagement in stores and online shopping’s endless aisles of products, shopping has been turned into just choosing things to use. Not new and different, but more of the same.

When the experience is as bland and boring as I had on Michigan Avenue, more and more shoppers will just let an algorithm choose.

And that’s a really sorry state of the future.

Take action. Hunker down. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Do what it takes now to get it done.

If you’re serious to compete in all of this chaos, let this post alert you to the real risks in retail right now. You have to focus on what the real problem is in your stores so you can fix them, rather than trying to treat the side effects.

I have a white paper that can help you, Bricks and Mortar Retailing at Risk in the Digital Age—From Silicon Valley to Main Street.

I call it my Manifesto because it sums up everything I believe is wrong with retail today (with some more figures to back it up), and how it can be fixed.

Comment

Seeing the Light

Comment

Seeing the Light

Seeing the Light

Store lighting design can benefit from smart technologies, integration into architecture

by Beth Feinstein-Bartl

As the market continues to evolve swiftly, lighting designers find themselves seeking fresh ways to assist retailers. These strategies are a varied lot, from integrating lighting with architecture to embracing smart technology. All have one thing in common, however: to keep shoppers engaged.

Many shoppers need a new reason to step into a store. Lighting works with merchandising efforts to set a new stage, says Jered Widmer, principal at The Lighting Practice, a Philadelphia-based lighting design firm.

"Technology has pulled many shoppers away from the brick-and-mortar store shopping experience," Widmer says. "Shoppers need to feel like they are in a relevant place—somewhere that is enjoyable. Lighting helps tell that story."

This Bergdorf Goodman in New York City integrates lighting into the walls to highlight merchandise, thanks to lighting design by The Lighting Practice. PHOTO: ANDREW LYNGARKOS PHOTOGRAPHY

Layering for effect

Sean Hennessy, principal at Hennessy Design, a Portland, Ore.-based lighting design firm, believes the best designs integrate lighting into architecture and product displays.

"Our work is increasingly becoming integrated and layered," he says. "The ones we’re most proud of is where you see a careful mix of display and decorative, where the lighting doesn’t feel like an afterthought."

A prime example is the jewelry segment. Lighting is needed everywhere in jewelry stores, so the design must tailor all light fixtures to each application. It all comes down to contrast, Hennessy explains.

Layering often includes placing lighting at product level, where customers interact with the product. For instance, grocery stores with cosmetics and health products have more lighting at the shelf level. The higher the price point, the more layers of lighting, Hennessy says.

Most retail lighting is best with a combination of ambient and accent lighting. Too much ambient makes the space too uniform. Accent lighting provides punch and contrast to the displays, adds Maureen Moran, principal at Washington, D.C.- based MCLA Architectural Lighting Design.

In-case lighting requires thoughtful planning in conjunction with other light sources, as at this David Yurman in New York City with lighting designed by Cooley Monato Studio. PHOTOS: PAUL WARCHOL

Providing focus

Integration of lighting into the architecture and fixturing also makes for cleaner composition and fewer distractions, enabling lighting to provide focus and to direct the customer journey. For example, cove lights or backlit walls can be more effective than penetrating a flat ceiling with downlights, Moran says.

A key component for integration into architecture is the collaboration between designers, architects, and electrical engineers. "This is becoming the norm," Moran says. "The lines are becoming blurred because we are all dependent on each other for results. This gives the design more impact."

Whether it’s backlighting advertising/signage panels or undershelf display lighting, the integrated lighting approach better illuminates graphics and merchandise to attract the eye. It creates exaggerated contrast in the environment that naturally draws people, Widmer says.

"We see this in a lot of applications, including the candy and magazine racks at grocery stores," Widmer says. "The small scale and low energy consumption of LED technology has pushed this to the forefront."

Leveraging smart technologies

LEDs continue to be preferred in retail for their energy savings. Brands are taking the lead on sustainability initiatives, Hennessy adds.

"We’re seeing more awareness on their part," he says. "They are educated and want to be ahead of the curve. They are meeting growing demands from customers, who are seeking companies that give back and embody certain values."

But these days, advanced lighting can do much more for retailers and brands than just save energy. Lighting is becoming more intelligent and reactive; indeed, lighting promises to be key to the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. LiFi and other smart technologies can enable retailers to employ lighting systems in their quest for brand engagement, longer dwell time, and higher sales per square foot.

"Several lighting manufacturers have developed lighting that can track shoppers, merchandise, and/or employees," Widmer explains. "The technology is still evolving, but retailers can now collect even more data than before, at a higher level of accuracy and in real time."

This allows retailers to not only get a better handle on loss prevention, but also look at employee productivity, stock inventory, shopper habits, and traffic flow. This data can help optimize their performance, Widmer says.

At Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington, D.C., MCLA Architectural Lighting Design integrated lighting into the architecture, creating a beacon for escalators. PHOTO: MCLA/IRA WEXLER PHOTOGRAPHY

Vetting expanding product lines

With retail’s short lead times, the growing product availability can be a blessing and a curse to lighting designers.

"Retail moves so fast," Hennessy says. "You find the perfect fixture, but if it’s not available for 12 weeks, then it’s not feasible."

The huge range of lighting products on the market gives designers plenty of choices, he says. But it also means designers must spend time vetting products and becoming familiar with their features in order to determine which work best where.

"It’s a huge, complex industry and there’s a need for experts," Hennessy says. "That’s where lighting designers come into play. Clients rely on us to steer them to the best products."

Emily Monato and Renée Cooley, principals at Cooley Monato Studio in New York, agree. "Everything seems to be at risk of being copied for less money and shorter lead times, but not necessarily the same quality," Monato says.

"The lines are becoming blurred because we are all dependent on each other for results. This gives the design more impact." — Moran

Communicating emotions

Monato and Cooley believe lighting should communicate the emotions of the architecture and the essence of the brand. Advances in technology, including smaller LEDs, are making this easier, they say.

Point sources must be accurately matched with linear sources to highlight in-case shelving lines. "The smaller the source, the greater the opportunity for optical control," Monato says.

At the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., the firm’s design contributes to the customer experience in the center’s avenues by organizing and enhancing the lighting with such fixtures as coves, chandeliers, and underlighting bridges. This decreases the visual noise and creates a relaxing, invigorating environment where people easily move throughout the space, Cooley says.

"Brands want to be associated with lifestyle through multisensory identification," Monato adds.

Setting the world aglow

Some of the most challenging strategies stem from deploying designs on a global scale. Most designers agree color temperature preferences vary by country. The U.S. market tends to like warmer color temperatures. Asian countries prefer cooler temperatures.

"Of course, it is dependent upon what materials and surfaces are being lit and the presence of daylight," says Moran.

Hennessy adds, "Even if we’re doing a store internationally, it comes down to the core customer. As often as we can, we seek consistency in all markets. It takes a lot of planning, R&D, and manufacturers."

It can be a delicate dance.

"There’s always going to be a home base—a branding with a particular market in mind, says Monato, whose firm has designed lighting for global rollouts for Michael Kors and Tiffany’s. "We’re having to design to that kind of headquarters point of view, as well as our own aesthetic, and hoping we are striking a middle ground."

For more lighting strategies, attend LIGHTFAIR International, May 9-11, 2017, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

Beth Feinstein-Bartl is staff writer for Shop!.

Comment

Portland’s Western Bikeworks reopens after extensive remodel

Comment

Portland’s Western Bikeworks reopens after extensive remodel

Published April 17, 2017

by BRAIN Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — After six years in its Pearl District location here, Western Bikeworks COO Mike Urness decided it was time to modernize the 10,000-square-foot store in order to up its retail game and deliver the upscale shopping experience Portland shoppers have come to expect. 

Urness worked with retail design firm 3 Dots Design to update the shop's interior.  

“We are just finishing the redesign and build-out of our downtown Portland store and 3 Dots was a huge help — from pulling the store design and layout together to helping us select materials, fixtures and mannequins and then connecting us with excellent suppliers and helping with negotiations, pricing and logistics,” Urness said. 

The remodel included carving out a triathlon-specific zone to house tri apparel, accessories, wetsuits and a complete offering of tri bikes. The tri section is located right near the bike fit area, so that high-end triathletes can easily dial in their perfect bike fit. Western Bikeworks recently acquired rights to triathlon retailer The Athlete's Lounge's name and customer base after it closed in 2016.

“This was an exciting project for us to work on, as Portland has some of the best retail stores in the country. This shop suffered from many of the same challenges that typical shops deal with; confusing sightlines, overwhelming bike presentation, uninspiring apparel sections and lack of signage or graphics,” said 3 Dots Design owner Holly Wiese

“I think customers will be very pleasantly surprised with the new vibe and layout of the store, and I’m confident that Western Bikeworks will start selling more product as well,” Wiese added.

3 Dots Design also reorganized the nutrition category and segmented the store's bike selection to make it easier for customers to shop. 

“To the average customer, a bike is a bike. I have a feeling Western Bikeworks was missing a lot of bike sales due to the average customer feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the process of selecting a bike,” said 3 Dots Design’s Andy Davis. “We further segmented their collections and called attention to each category by featuring a bike in front of a graphic that clearly defines the end use. We also made a huge improvement in their nutrition category by reorganizing, re-fixturing and bringing in a sampling area for customers to try new products.”

Western Bikeworks also operates a second location in the Portland suburb of Tigard, which it opened in 2015. Urness said he plans to integrate some of the same principles of merchandising, graphics and signage from their main location remodel into the Tigard store.

Comment

Boulder, Longmont retailers adopt a moveable feast approach to shopping

Comment

Boulder, Longmont retailers adopt a moveable feast approach to shopping

By Shay Castle

Staff Writer

POSTED:   04/21/2017 03:06:04 PM MDT | UPDATED:   4 DAYS AGO | by the Daily Camera

Jacob Dana has coffee and works on a project at Rapha Cafe and bike store at 1815 Pearl Street. For more photos, go to www.dailycamera.com. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Sleepy Pearl Street shoppers can take themselves to one of downtown Boulder's dozen-plus coffee shops for a cup of joe. Or they could dash into Rapha, a cycling apparel store.

In need of a taco and a new bike tire in Longmont? CyclHOPS Mexican Bike Cantina has got you covered. Or put some pep in your step via an espresso and a pair of shoes at Flatirons Running.

These local retailers and others have hopped on the hottest trend in retail by offering food and drink to keep customers in the store and off online shopping sites.

"There's so much pressure on brick and mortar to differentiate from the Amazons of the world," said Russell Chandler, owner of Boulder-based Full Cycle. "Anybody can buy a high-end road bike online; you can go find a mobile repair shop. Shops run the risk of going out of business if they don't find ways to build more community."

Full Cycle is in the process of adding a 16-tap beer, wine and coffee bar to its downtown digs (1795 Pearl St.) which it hopes to have open in the coming weeks. Chandler sees it as a way to bring in more bodies and, hopefully, boost revenue.

"We host a 200-person women's bike club that might like to finish their ride up with snacks and beer," he said. "And we rent a lot of bikes to tourists who might want to sit down for a drink when they're done."

Rapha, a cycling apparel store that just moved in up the street (1815 Pearl St.), has "ended up being more of a hangout than a store," according to General Manager Pete Loptino. "People can look at their product if they're interested, but it's more about the culture of cycling."

In addition to the coffee bar, Rapha has a flat-screen TV that will always have a cycling race on it and hosts regular social rides that leave from the store. It's part of building an experience that turns shopping into "more of a social event," said Holly Wiese.

Wiese is a retail specialist at 3 Dots Design, a Boulder firm that specializes in store re-designs that boost profits. More and more lately, that includes adding coffee or sandwiches.

"Over the last three to five years, we've seen it popping up all over in bike, run and outdoor."

The trend isn't limited to active retailers. "Banks are adding full coffee bars," said Allen Ginsborg. (Boulder has one of those, too: the infamous Capital One Cafe that inspired a temporary bank ban on the Pearl Street Mall.)

According to Ginsborg — who develops shopping centers, including Longmont's Village at the Peaks — nail and hair salons are getting in on the game, too, offering wine and beer to customers.

"It's about creating an experience, an environment where people want to linger," he said. "Customers have higher expectations these days; you need to provide something that makes them want to return."

That's particularly important as options for shoppers proliferate online.

Internet retailers, dominated by Amazon, added $27.8 billion in apparel revenue alone between 2005 and 2016, according to Morgan Stanley. Department stores during that time lost $29.6 billion in apparel revenue, and major retailers from Macy's to Best Buy are closing dozens of stores.

Making physical shopping more efficient is the key, said Chad Melis of Oskar Blues, which operates Longmont bike shop/taco joint/bar CyclHOPS. By offering more than one service, customers can accomplish multiple tasks at once and reduce their trips.

"You kill two birds with one stone — you come in and drop off your bike to get some work and you can have lunch."

"It takes a little creativity" from a business standpoint, he added, "but combining revenue streams makes the concept healthier financially."

Tacos and beer haven't necessarily boosted revenue for the bike shop: Melis sees it more as a marketing play for Oskar Blues' bike line REEB Cycles, a way to "show who we are and what we contribute to Longmont's culture."

The local trend is new enough that it's not clear if the effort is boosting sales, though Wiese says her cafe-adding clients in other states have seen a bump. But Full Cycle's Chandler is hopeful that when the brews start flowing, the cash will follow.

"You just test-rode an $8,000 mountain bike, you sit down and have a beer — you might talk yourself into buying it."

Shay Castle: 303-473-1626, castles@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/shayshinecastle

Comment