We hope you are all well and safe in these are unprecedented times. Fortunately enough bike shops are classified as essential business in many states and countries. How could you ease the financial impact on your business? How could you support your local community and key workers?
Here are some tips we hope you might be able to use:
- To help with your cash flow, rather than cancel and refund bookings, re-book them. Your customers are not cancelling because they don’t want to rent your bikes but because of the virus. Some will insist on refunds but most likely the majority of your customers are happy to reschedule, especially if you offer an incentive, like money off the next rental.
- Instead of using public transportation, many people are rediscovering the joys of a bike and are digging out their old bikes from their sheds. They might be in need of servicing or repairs. You could offer bike repairs and servicing with online appointments. BRM has got a module that you can use to manage the workload and take bookings online. Here are instructions on how to set it up.
- Offer low touch rentals to minimise the need to have physical contact with your customers. Offer online bookings and use lock codes so customers can pick the bikes up without the need for you to be there.
- Deliver your bikes straight to your customers so they don’t need to travel to you. BRM has a delivery module that makes it easy to manage.
- Offer long term rentals if you have idle inventory. In some areas, people are allowed to go out for cycle rides but may not have a suitable bike available.
- Take future bookings online. Offer/sell “Gift Cards” that can be used for online bookings. There is no limit on how far in the future you can take bookings online.
- Your community might be happy to help your business if you meet them partway with discounts and voucher codes to rent your bikes.
- Plan for your recovery. If you have more time in your hands now, you can use it to make managing your rental business easier before the rentals will start rolling in again. Make sure your inventory is in good order and think about how you could improve the day to day management of your business. The more you automate administrative tasks, the more you can spend time on what you enjoy most. Make full use of all the features that BRM offers to make your life easier.
- Keep your social pages and feeds updated. Post advice on how to cycle responsibly during the pandemic. Communicate with your community and customers, be active with competitions, training tips, fun videos, etc.
- Keep in touch with your customers and keep them updated on how you are operating your business, are you open for business etc. Use your BRM customer database to send emails, read more in our support pages.
- Build your local community. If you do have idle inventory, you could put it to very good use and offer your local key/critical workers free bike rentals. Cycling might be the only way for some people to travel to essential work. One of our customers, Manchester Bike Hire, did just that. BRM is offering the use of software for free for similar schemes. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to offer your rentals for free.
Be honest about how this situation is affecting your ability to serve your customers, keep them updated on how your business is operating, like your opening hours. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to do business with you. For example you can ensure them that you are keeping your shop sanitised. Appease them with how you can keep the physical contact to a minimum. Ask them to leave the bike outside if it is safe to do so and there is no need for them to get in the shop. Take bookings and payments online as much as possible.
Restrictions are being lifted in some parts of the world and plenty of people will be excited to get out and about. You might be on for a cracker season with higher than usual demand for your bikes.
Remember to comply with all your local restrictions, stay together as a community and stay safe!
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