More and more, people in both urban and suburban areas are embracing cycling, and independent bike stores are at the heart of this movement. Savvy entrepreneurs looking to open a bike shop have a willing and ready market waiting—if you run your business right.
A cloud-based point of sale (POS) system is the key. It will connect your business to the tools you need to meet not just today’s shopper’s needs, but tomorrow’s as well. You’ll be ready to scale and grow because you started with a strong foundation.
In this article, we’ll go over how a cloud-based POS helps you with opening a bike shop thanks to:
- Streamlined setup that sets you up for future growth
- Comprehensive inventory management
- Sales, work orders and special purchases from one system
- Real-time sales and inventory reporting
- Integrated loyalty programs
- The ability to sell online through a connected system
The Ultimate Bike Store Guide
1 out of 2 bike shops in the United States use Lightspeed, because we understand what bike stores need.
1. Streamlined setup that sets you up for growth
Between securing the right location, loading up on inventory and hiring staff, opening a bike shop takes time. Setting up your point of sale is key as well, which is why you need to pick a system that prepares your business for everything that might come up without tying you down.
Cloud POS systems don’t require any extra servers—an internet connection is all you need to get started. You can potentially use some hardware you already own, like a computer, laptop or tablet. This also means you’ll have access to your business anywhere you are, allowing you to make business decisions and do management tasks even if you’re not in the store.
The cloud-based aspect sets you up for future growth because it’s cloud-based. Ready to open a new location? Great—you already have all your inventory and settings stored in the cloud. When your bike shop is successful, you can focus on where you want your new store and how you’re going to stock and staff it without needing to start from scratch with your POS.
2. Comprehensive inventory management
Between completed bikes, parts, accessories and clothing—and everything else—bike shops can have a lot of complex inventory. Without a comprehensive inventory management system, you’ll quickly lose track of what you have in store.
When opening a bike shop, you need to give yourself a strong foundation with a cloud-based POS system that takes inventory management seriously and understands how to manage bikes. For example, a bike might come as individual parts from vendors, but are sold as a fully assembled item. A system that can manage assemblies—an inventory item built from other inventory items—will save you a lot of headache.
For warranty purposes, bicycles and many of their parts come with serial numbers. A system that can track serial numbers helps you easily trace back defects to the manufacturer. With a POS like Lightspeed, a user can see all of the serialized items they’ve ever purchased in a list, and can look up purchase history by customer to track down an item.
3. Sales, special purchases and work orders from one system
It’s in the name: point of sale systems help you make sales. A cloud-based point of sale helps you meet modern customer expectations by allowing those sales to happen beyond the front counter. With a tablet in hand, your employees can show customers add-ons and upgrades for their chosen bike and take payment on the floor (or at the curb) for an organic sales experience.
It’s also easy to create an order for something you don’t have in stock at the moment, like a part or an accessory, and to add it to a PO for a vendor. From customer request to delivery, the cloud POS tracks the entire process.
Beyond that, POS systems can facilitate other functions of your bike shop. Unlike many retail businesses, bike shops often have repair services. Customers tend to come back, sometimes yearly, for service on the same purchase. If your chosen POS system natively manages work orders, you don’t need to juggle multiple platforms to offer these services.
With a system that allows you to manage appointments from your POS, you can offer shoppers personalized consultations on the right bicycle for them and set time slots for repair drop-offs. Managing these appointments through your point of sale means you don’t have to juggle multiple systems, which makes overseeing appointments easier for your employees. And since 79% of shoppers want personalized service, giving them a way to get it is crucial when planning to open a bike shop.
4. Real-time sales and inventory reporting
Some bike stores sell thousands of products—it’s essential to keep track of them all. Moreover, for businesses with more than one store, or a web store in addition to brick-and-mortar, it must be possible to see inventory numbers in real time—where online sales immediately deduct from overall inventory. With that many products in stock, you need to know inventory performance: which brands and items are doing what, and what’s gathering dust on the shelves.
Beyond your inventory, you need to be able to track your sales, as well. You need to know how well your employees are selling your products, where your profits line up against your overall revenue, and how your business is trending month-to-month and year-to-year. How about your GMROI, your inventory turns and your sell through rate—what are your plans to track these KPIs?
Opening a bike shop means taking on a lot of business analysis if you want to be equipped to succeed. A cloud-based POS system makes analyzing that data easy.
Lightspeed, for example, has a number of built-in reports to help you assess your inventory and watch your sales numbers. For bike retailers ready to dive deeper, it’s easy to integrate an Analytics platform you can use to build custom reports for your shop’s unique needs. Without a cloud-based POS helping you out, you’ll need to track these numbers with spreadsheets and make decisions based on gut instinct, which could mean missing key opportunities to grow and become a neighborhood cycling staple.
5. Integrated loyalty programs
Bicyclists are a loyal bunch. With the right rewards and communications, your fledging bike shop can get a boost from a dedicated community of cycling enthusiasts.
The catch is that no one wants yet another loyalty card for a rewards system that doesn’t give them anything extra. Beyond the ability to earn and use rewards, when opening your bike shop, plan for a loyalty program with:
- The ability to sign up and earn rewards online and in-store. Even if you’re not planning to sell online right away, you’ll want the option to offer an omnichannel loyalty program without having to switch when the time comes.
- Marketing capabilities. Your loyalty program members are your most engaged customers. Whatever loyalty program you use should let you reach out to them through email or SMS (text messages have an 82% open rate) for marketing campaigns, birthday rewards and offers to come back and shop before they go dormant.
- An integration with your point of sale system. Here’s where the lack of cards comes in. Your shoppers will be able to earn rewards on their purchases simply by using their contact information, because your cloud-based POS system stores customer profiles.
6. The ability to sell online through a connected system
eCommerce is more important than ever. 2020 accelerated online shopping—it’s now a $4.28 trillion market—and while brick and mortar will always be key to bike sales, if you don’t sell online, you’ll lose relevance. If you’re not planning on launching an online store when you open your bike shop, you should make plans to move into eCommerce at some point in the future.
Having a cloud-based POS powering your store will streamline that move. Since the POS is already managing your inventory, you can cut down on a number of inventory setup and management tasks—you’ll never sell a bike you don’t actually have in stock because you haven’t updated your online inventory. Additionally, going for an eCommerce platform integrated with your in-store point of sale means you can get all that juicy data for your online shop as well.
Set your bike shop up for success
Opening a bike shop is one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll undertake. . With the right support and tools, you can become a community staple with a loyal customer base that comes back year after year.
Lightspeed was built with the unique needs of bike shops in mind. If you’d like to chat about what your new bike shop needs and how we can help, get in touch.