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We want to get inside local bike shops.

We want to offer utility to local bike shops.

You've all come up with a number of great "Stack Artifact" ideas in these threads. We need to settle on a single item that we can cheaply mass produce.

Note: This item is not only valuable because of the utility that it offers an LBS. But it is an excuse to get in a shop - to start a conversation about Bicycles.SE.

A few ideas you've passed along:

  • Reflective stickers
  • Legbands (reflective?)
  • Unique ID stickers (anti-theft? or maybe QR codes that link to a user's or shop's Stack profile? - Is this technically doable? Will a QR code read when wrapped around a bike frame? Are QR codes lame fads?)
  • Awesome messaged bike wheel light (Probably out of our budget, but super cool).

A number of you have suggested that bike shop workers don't have time to talk. Is there any way we can give them Stack referral cards/stickers that they can pass along to customers? Would bike shop workers value this? Is this possible with SE's current functionality?

Many questions. Many possibilities. I look forward to settling on something that works.

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    I think there's a fundamental problem with the LBS Stack Artifact concept: (1) Anything that's not useful is likely to be tossed by a cyclist and (2) Anything that is useful the shop would rather sell to their customers than give away. – freiheit Aug 26 '11 at 22:48
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    probably better to focus this effort on existing online cycling communities rather than bike shops IMHO. – Jeff Atwood Aug 27 '11 at 5:58
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    @SamTheBrand what if we drop the "shop artifact" idea and get some ideas out for basic promotional items to hand out at bike to work day and similar type things, instead? – freiheit Jan 25 '12 at 22:07
  • Voting to close. If this isn't working, let's move on to something else! – Neil Fein Mar 3 '12 at 19:08
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In the UK every LBS gets a printed copy of BikeBiz. You need to see if Carlton Reid at BikeBiz can help. Equally, in the U.S. if there is a similar publication.

In the UK every LBS gets stuff from Madison - the sole UK distributors for Shimano. They can and do get promotional material to their stockists. Also, 'zyro' - sellers of Cateye - have a mini catalog that they get out to the shops.

In the US there will be a similar wholesaler that bike shops HAVE to deal with, e.g. to get Shimano spares that are not available somewhere else.

Another thought, in retail you cannot give potential customers bike catalogues as it is counter productive (they go to a competitor and get a better price). With-hold the catalogue and they are more likely to come back. But, if you work in bicycle sales and strike up a relationship, you want customers to come back to you by name. Therefore, sales staff need a business card rather than a catalogue/brochure to give out to people they make personal sales pitches to. These are generally lacking in the industry.

I am generally not sure that bike shops are the way to go. I think product managers further up the food chain could do with a place to get common answers to problems with their products sorted, at the bike shop level a customer with a question is a potential sale and pushing them to online 'crowd sourced' help isn't necessarily what you want. Then again, from the perspective of the guy in the shop, if customer comes in and asks for e.g. 'a spare hitch for a Burley XYZ trailer' on a busy Saturday, how does that member of staff find out the part that is needed? Bikes.se could come in handy if e.g. Burley pre-seeded bikes.se with +A pertaining to their products.

I think that there are a lot of cyclists that don't use smartphones, regular phones are what they will have. Hence I think that stickers with the QR code and a short URL are 'needed'. The missing element might be cycling advocacy. If we went in with a cycling advocacy group, e.g. to have a 'Bikes Belong' sticker with 'find me online at bikes.se/zydfa' might be useful for getting stickers to have a message and be useful. If someone didn't want my bike parked on their railings, if some stunning supermodel wanted to ask me out on a date(!) because they liked the cut of my handlebar tape or if I wanted to swap details with someone that I met on the way this could be useful - social networking in the real world.

As for implementing it technically, I don't think this would be hard.

  • Not sure I'm following you. You're proposing business cards so that customers who need a part can come here? I don't get it. – Neil Fein Aug 27 '11 at 16:28
  • @NeilFein - I think he's proposing a) that the give-away to LBSs be personalised business cards, which they can pass on to their clients; b) such card would include a short (mobile-friendly) URL which identifies the person (who owns the card and gives it to his clients). E.g. mathew might have bikes.se/zydfa (or, IMO, "bikes.se/mathew") pointing to his personal home page or business etc., or some landing page on this site. – ChrisW Feb 23 '12 at 3:52

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