Is your shop on social media?

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Today’s marketing has totally changed, instead of putting big money into tv or magazine ads, social media has changed the way people market. Facebook and Instagram give life to your company, while also giving you a more cost effective way to spread your shops name. Not to mention it’s targeted toward your target market, that being the bicycle industry.

If your not on Facebook or Instagram, go make your self a page and post some pictures, new products, even your ideas and opinions. Get connected to potential customers, reach out to get fans. In this day and age, this is how you reach customers on a personal level, just by posting pictures and keeping your profile updated.

If your shop is not on social media, do yourself a favor, start now and get it moving. Potential customers are waiting to find out about your shop and to buy your products.

LIfetime Value of a Customer

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Everything you do. Everything your business stands for should have only one goal. That’s to create a customer. A long term customer. So, I will ask you this important question: “What is the lifetime value of a customer?

How much money will a customer spend, and over what period of time?  Let’s do the math. If “Joe” buys a bike today for $600, and comes back 2 times this year, and maybe 2 more times during the next 2 years to spend $300, that means that he has spent $900 over a 3 year period. Avg $300 per year. Will he keep returning for 5 years? 10 years? or just fall off after the original bike purchase.  Take a minute and figure out your average customer’s lifetime value.

Now, suppose you do something to increase that lifetime value. He purchases a bottle with your name, a patch kit, you install your own brand of cage on his bike, he wears your brand of cycling shorts, your t-shirt. Now YOUR name is being seen by your customer, his family and friends, every time he looks at his bike. He has a footpump in his garage with your logo printed in large letters on the side. HIs favorite drinking glass in the kitchen  is the pint glass with your logo on it.

That customer will be YOURS forever.

“The 10-10-10 Customer Retention Plan”

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I bought a pair of sneakers from a store that sent me an email 3 days later, asking me how I like them. The following week I received a cool looking gym bag in the mail, thanking me for shopping with them for the first time. I told everybody about that bag.

My dentist calls me later in the day after a visit to see how I’m doing. My car service center puts paper floor mats down, plastic seat protectors, and will pick me up or drop me off If I need a ride. You don’t think I love that? I have frequent flyer miles with Jet Blue. I always look at their schedules first when planning a trip. Fedex guarantees next day delivery. I don’t even look anywhere else if I need a package sent quickly. What do you do for your customers to keep them coming back? What’s it worth to you to keep a customer for more than their initial purchase?

“The 10-10-10 Plan”. Here’s an easy concept that is guaranteed to keep your customers spending money with you – 10 bucks & 10 minuets for 10 years.

It’s so easy, and so inexpensive, and so distinctive that your custoers will tell everybody about your business and keep coming back themselves.

Here’s what you do:
1. After bike purchase: make a friendly call to thank them, and invite to a free 1 hr bike maintenance group lesson.
2. One week later, mail a thank you package with 2 tubes in their size, chain lube and patch kit. – Unannounced.

Total $10 – Time 10 minutes – Value 10 years and $thousands of dollars in good will… Because they will tell everyone they know about this. What’s the lifetime value of YOUR customers worth? $10 bucks?
They will never go to your competition, and will remain your customer. “The 10-10-10 Plan”: ten bucks & ten minutes for ten years.

7 Ways To Make More Money With Reps

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Your vendors and suppliers are the lifeline to your business success.  You should consider their reps as your business partners. Wouldn’t you like to have business partners that keep your shelves stocked with the latest and greatest, take care of returns, train your staff, negotiate the best prices, find valuable closeouts for you, and the best part: get paid by someone else… This is the relationship you should have with your reps.

Here are 7 ways to make more money and have infinitely more time to run your business:

1. Returns – It’s simple & easy.  Ask you reps to take care of returns FIRST. Returns turn into credits which become cash to buy more inventory. Its money in your pocket. Remember – Returns before new orders.

2. Inventory Control – Reps should keep their best-selling items on your shelves up to date and help close out old stock.

3. New Items – Ask your reps to recommend new items and stand behind them if they don’t sell for you. Give it at least 60 days, and prime display area in your shop.

4. Training – Train ‘em and they will sell.  A big part of your rep’s job should be getting with your staff and train, train, train.

5. Closeouts – Ask your reps to let you know first when their companies have closeouts available.  It can be a huge advantage to your profits.

6. Discounts – It’s not generally known, but reps have a lot more clout than you know.  Ask for special discounts for your sale events or early payment.  You never know…

7. Working During Sales – For your next sale have a 2 hour manufacturers rep event.  Ask all of your reps to participate with with free giveaways, consignment or closeout inventory, brochures, customer demos  etc…

Finally: Buy your best reps lunch and thank them. If you’ve been in business for a while, you already know which reps you can trust, and who your friends are. If you are new to the industry, ask for their advice and encourage them to participate in your success. Asking for your rep’s help to improve your business should be part of the deal.

Private Label Brands — A Growth Opportunity for Retailers and Suppliers

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by: Sandra Cuellar, Research/Extension Associate Cornell University

Over the last decade, Private Label Brands or Store Brands have become a popular and profitable marketing strategy in the United States as well as in Europe.

According to a Gallup study sponsored by the Private Label Marketing Association and conducted in September 2000, 71% of U.S. supermarket shoppers consider store brands the same as or better than the quality of national brands.

Retail consolidation has had a strong influence on Private Label.

Store brands have become a way for retailers to differentiate themselves from their competitors and to create loyalty to their stores in an evermore tightly concentrated marketplace.

10 Brand Marketing Trends that Should Dominate 2013

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Written by Susan Guenlius

1. Brand Accountability

Social media reputation management has never been more important, and brand transparency is critical. In 2013, even the smallest mistake can become a huge public relations problem. You need to be ready with response plans in place to protect your brand reputation.

2. Brand Trust

Social media also makes it easy for consumers to confirm if a brand really walks the walk and talks the talk. It’s a lot harder to earn consumers’ trust in your brand today, and it will be even harder in 2013.

3. Brand Flexibility

The world is changing faster than ever, and so is the social web. To top it off, hyper-connectivity will reach record levels with the growth of mobile device usage in 2013. Your brand needs to drive the change, not just try to keep up with it. If your brand isn’t able to adapt, another brand will.

4. Brand Experience

In 2012, we started to see a significant shift to brand storytelling and creating branded experiences. If Apple could do it, why can’t other brands? That line of thinking brought us emotion-driven ads from Google and slick copycat designs from Microsoft (e.g., the Microsoft Surface ads, Microsoft stores, and the Microsoft Store website). Every brand should be creating brand experiences both in-person and online in 2013. If you’re not creating them already, you’re late.

5. Brand Visualization

In 2012, the world witnessed the rapid growth of sites like Pinterest and Instagram that brought the demand for visual content to the forefront of digital publishing. Images didn’t just enhance content anymore. In 2012, images were the content, and people loved it. Brands need to embrace visual content to tell their stories in 2012 just like the global audience has.

6. Brand Crowdsourcing

2013 should be the year for all brands to leverage the collective voice of brand advocates and turn their content and conversations into marketing opportunities. Leaving the crowd untapped is one of the biggest mistakes brand marketers could make in the coming 12 months.

7. Brands as Social Influencers

Consumers expect brands to use their money and their reach for social, environmental, and economic good. Corporate social responsibility is important to every company, but brand marketing executives should make positioning their brands as social influencers a strategic priority in 2013.

8. Brand Data

Big data, research data, competitive analysis data, consumer data, and every other type of data you can think of will be included in marketers’ goals for 2013. Turning that data into actionable metrics and initiatives will be the more challenging step, and it’s one that all brand marketers should be concerned with in the coming 12 months and beyond.

9. Brand Behavior

Using the data collected throughout the year, brand marketers will need to leverage behavioral targeting, particularly to increase ROI for digital and mobile marketing campaigns.

10. Branded Content

In 2012, we saw a proliferation of branded content that had little focus and lacked clear strategy. Brand marketers who develop focused content plans with clear objectives in 2013 will reap the rewards that content marketing can deliver for many years to come.

What do you think are the most important brand marketing trends, opportunities, or challenges that should dominate 2013?


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Here are 5 simple things you can do to make your cash register ring more often and maybe a little louder!

  1. Buy your customers a drink. Offer every shopper and their families cold bottled water, coffee, or a soft drink. This will keep your customers in your store as long as possible.  It’s been shown that the longer a buyer stays in your store, the more likely they will buy something, or buy more than they originally planned to. It costs just pennies, and will give you the opportunity to talk with them about their interests. Or just let them walk around your store with a drink in hand. They will certainly look around until they finish their drink.
  2. Get some attractive bags with your name and logo on them, so your customers can carry home their purchases. Many eyes will see your name on their bag. Better yet, get some canvas bags with handles.  They will keep and reuse these bags over and over again, and your business name will be seen over and over again. Get a size that will hold a helmet and some small accessories.  What’s the difference if they cost a buck or so?  YOUR NAME WILL BE SEEN, and your business will thrive.
  3. Music in your store.  Low volume, any music that you and your staff like. (maybe not gangsta rap) All major retailers use music to their advantage.
  4. Clean bathrooms. I know it may not seem important, but it really really is, especially for your female customers.  Don’t do this yourself. Give the job to one of your staff to paint the room, install a new seat ($12.95 at Home Depot), wash the floor and sink, make sure the door lock works, and stock with paper products.  Lastly, get rid of all the magazines from 2009.  You’ve already read all the articles five times.
  5. Shop uniforms. My wife always says: ”There’s nothing like a man in uniform…sigh.” Get your staff matching polo or t-shirts with your logo. The service guys should be wearing matching aprons with your logo.  This simple uniformity makes your shop look much more professional and organized.  Plus, your customers can easily recognize your staff and  ask questions or buy stuff…

Prepare to Fail

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When was the last time you REALLY TOOK A CHANCE with your business? I’m not talking about ordering something different from the menu, or taking a different route to work, I’m talking about a REAL CHANCE.

Grab a pencil & paper right now, or open an empty word doc on your computer, and just start listing things you have been thinking about doing or changing in your store.  Want to change where the cash register is? Change around the clothing? Add a Pro section with high-end pro frames? You get what I mean…

Now, TAKE A CHANCE.  The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work,. Nobody will dare say that’s a stupid idea, because they will be too busy being amazed that you are actually doing something different…

If your change is easy, assign your staff to get it done. Then they are now part of the change and will take some of the credit when it succeeds. If the project is more complex, like adding a pro section, and it will cost money, time and serious planning, then head the change yourself.  You make the calls to the frame makes, You call up Shimano go get the specs on the new groups, You call a freelance artist to mock up a brochure for your shop.  Once the systems are setup, then put someone else in charge of the new project.

Now there’s risk and there’s calculated risk.  If there is a lot of money needed to get the project off the ground, try to share the risk.  Ask the manufacturers rep to give you a guaranteed sale on the products.  Will they take back the unsold goods after a certain amount of time? Will they give you all the brochures, marketing materials, demo frames, pro deals, etc that your store needs? Will they send a tech rep to your store for the “grand opening” of the Pro Section?”

Dig in.  Make this successful. Take the chance. What’s the WORST that can happen? Failure?  That’s OK.  If you don’t try, you can’t succeed.

Affluent households driving private label growth…

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by: Caroline Scott-Thomas

Growth in private label is approaching 20 percent of dollar value in the US, according to market research organization the Nielsen Company – and it is being driven by the most affluent households.

There has been some disagreement among analysts about whether sales of store brand, or private label, products would continue after the economy begins to recover. However, the Nielsen Company suggests that not only are private label goods holding their own, but there has also been a fundamental shift in the demographic most likely to purchase private label goods, with those households earning over $100,000 a year representing the fastest growing segment of private label sales.

In an interview for the Private Label Manufacturers Association, senior vice president for the Nielsen Company Todd Hale said: “More affluent households have been driving trip growth to retailers while low income consumers, middle income households have had to pull back in a much stronger way.”

Hale said that this was because more affluent households tended to be better educated, had seen their financial situations worsen and were more likely to be looking for ways to save money.

“I’m often quoted as saying that poor people need low prices but rich people love low prices,” he said.

Store brands advanced to a 17.3 percent share of dollars and a 21.9 percent share of units by March 2010, Nielsen said, up 2.1 and 1.9 points respectively from 2007.