CEO & President of Ascent360, Scott Buelter, recently sat down with Heather Mason, President of the National Bicycle Dealer’s Association to discuss the importance of relationship marketing and enriched, reliable customer data for bicycle & specialty retailers. This conversation is crucial right now — inventory has started to regulate again and ridership numbers are up, but people aren’t coming into the store as often. We examined how we can look to the services bike retailers provide to increase gross margins and help retailers stay in touch with their customers.

Changing the customer experience in bicycle retail

In the past, experiences with bike retailers had shown to be somewhat negative in that education and resources available to the consumer were often limited. The bike industry has an enormous range in price points and products, and it is a very technical sale. Without enough education provided by the floor staff, consumers tend to head towards trends in order to determine what the right products are for them.

At Ascent360, we started thinking about how you have to deliver a lot of information to a wide variety of people in the bike industry — there are your “hero” customers who already know a lot about the products and the knowledge base of your customers trickles down among the range of price points and products you offer. If you want to treat your customers right, you’re not going to talk to them all the same way. You need to segment them into different categories in order to educate them the best you can.

Two critical elements of personalized marketing

There are a range of key elements that go into creating high-impact personalized marketing, but two of the most crucial are timing and messaging.

Timing

If someone purchases a bike, retailers typically see a percentage of people come back to buy additional resources within 60 days, then trail off again until about the one-year mark. Retailers can foster that series of events to make sure they come back into the store instead of going elsewhere. Post-purchase campaigns can have a big impact on your bottom line; in fact, Mike’s Bikes saw 41% of repeat sales from a 30-day post-purchase campaign.

Automated service reminders are also an important timing-related approach. Based on when a customer has made a purchase, create an automated trigger to send an email when they are due for a bike servicing. This will significantly increase open rates, as well as generate opportunities for product purchases and service upgrades.

Messaging 

People come into specialty retail shops for a reason — you carry a specific product they need, and they know you have more knowledge about your products than they would find at a big box store. Show them how much you know and educate them why one product is better than another, which trails or rides to explore, and best practices for using their equipment.

Most importantly, respond to behavior with action. With a tool like Ascent360, you have access to special integrations that connect with your point-of-sale and eCommerce systems, aggregating all your customer data and what you know about your customers within one platform. Then, based off their behavior and interaction with your business, you can create custom segments, simple drag and drop emails, and automated campaigns that reach the right customers at the right time.

How to grow your database

Growing your database and gathering information from customers works top down within the retail store outside of your POS and eCommerce systems. There is still a stigma on the store floor that providing information is something customers don’t want to be a part of. There is more incentive for customers to give their information to their local retailer, especially when you explain what benefits it provides to them, including information about new products, trail rides, your charity work, discounts, etc. Most people are interested in finding more community surrounding the sport they love.

 


 

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