When deciding upon location ensure you give a great deal of consideration to the premises and retail environment.
Ideally you want your new premises to give you sufficient room for growth as your business develops,
however you don't want lots of empty space which you can't stock with
product and is therefore an expensive added overhead. Its usually easier to grow than it is to shrink, but it can be a fine balancing act.
The classic bike shop with the "wall of steel" image - every available bit of space crammed with bikes and bits - is traditionally a put off for many customers and will eventually impact upon your income by reducing what products and services you can offer and deterring customers rather than enticing them through the doors.
Presentation is everything, especially if you want to sell good brands at higher prices. Ideally give your store an identity that is unique and makes people want to come back. And no hand-written signs!
Questions to ask:
- Is there plenty of space for new deliveries and storage? Ideally this area needs separate access from the main shop to avoid wasting space and disrupting the sales area.
- Is there sufficient room for a fully functioning workshop? Servicing and repairs should ideally be undertaken away from the main part of the shop to give ample space for work to be undertaken. Remember, repairs and services are highly profitable functions - more profit than bikes - so don't undermine them.
- Is there room for bikes awaiting repair and collection? Bikes aren't always collected on time so they need to be stored securely.
- If you're stocking clothing make sure there is a changing room.
- Is there a private area for staff with suitable facilities?
- Is there space for an office? Ideally the shop needs a secure area for files and computers as well as any private meetings.
- Does your lease give you an opportunity for expansion?
Shop-fitting like any building project is prone to over-run budget and timescale, so some flexibility in this area is important. Bikes, products and accessories are attractive in their own right when properly displayed, so be cautious in over investing in pretty fixtures and fittings that are hidden by even prettier products!
Ideally your shop needs flexible display systems which can accommodate the great variety of products you may stock. Remember, you are selling cycle products not shop fittings. Set a realistic budget and select flexible and modular fittings which you can gradually develop and upgrade as your business grows.
Planning your product range and the space it needs, such as average number of bikes on display, ensures that you are making maximum use of shop fittings and space which meet the needs of your stocking plan.
Suppliers may often provide free or on-loan fixtures when stocking particular lines, so make the most of these where appropriate but don't force them into the shop just because they are on offer.