Is fitting parts and building bikes bought online a necessary evil in modern cycle retail, or simply another element of the job?
The question has been raised several times by those in the industry and whilst many agree that the heavy discounting of the larger online retail giants poses a potentially deadly threat to smaller independent bike shops, a recent survey undertaken by BikeBiz depicts a steep divide in opinions.
Recently, an independent bike retailer based in Galway, Ireland released an online video advertisement extolling the value in fitting online parts. Along with the hashtag #buyonlinefitlocal, the brand informed its customers: “With our new buy online fit local campaign you can take advantage of the best deals from online retailers and get your parts fitted, or your new bike assembled professionally and locally. Giving you that peace of mind that your bike is running smoothly and safely.”
In light of the attetntion and media coverage surrounding the campaign, we asked over 50 bike shop owners, mechanics and readers of BikeBiz if they objected to fitting parts purchased through bigger online retailers; whilst 47 per cent said yes, 53 per cent said they did not object.
One retailer commented: “It’s a completely necessary part of our trade. I’m not making any money on the sale of componentry, but we cannot turn down business for the workshop. If we do, what edge do we have over online?”
Another shop added: “If you give that customer your service and gently inform them that you also sell that part, they may well think of coming to you instead next time. It’s about keeping that customer dedicated to your business, you can’t do that if you’re refusing to work on their bike.”
BikeBiz are interested in what you have to say on the matter. Leave your opinions in the comments below.