The Feedback Loop Provides Continuous Improvements for Bike Shops and Bike Rentals

One of the great aspects of Velolet is the direct Feedback it can provide to bike shops and to potential renters.  We’ve seen the way that feedback works on all kinds of sites like eBay, Airbnb, Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor and countless other sites.  What this provides is a candid assessment of how the transaction went and allows, in the case of the bike shop’s bike rentals, a measure for constant improvement.

Currently, there is not much of a feedback loop to improve a bike shop’s service, specifically for bike rentals.  However, what we discovered over the past few months is that when prompted, the Renters actually provide pretty good constructive feedback, both positive and negative.  What we’ve seen however, is that the bike shops have improved their service to address any negative comments and it is seen in the  recent comments:

  • Sun Sep 18, 2011 04:43PM – Great rental from a quality shop
  • Sun Sep 11, 2011 06:09PM – Bike was Brand new. Bikes were ready, waiting for us when we came in. Great service
  • Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:56PM – My experience was great…super staff, made sure it was perfect for my ride and picking it up and dropping it off was a breeze.

That feedback provides a mechanism for all parties including Velolet.  We’re not perfect but like our bike shops, we’re constantly improving and that is what matters to customers.  Addressing their issues and making it easy for them.

The feedback is great and we’d be remiss if it didn’t show how online bike rentals really improve an otherwise onerous process.  With Velolet, the reservation, waivers and payment is all made online.  This helps the bike shop “prep” your bike ahead of time and have it ready to go.  That helps the bike shop and it provides a great convenience for the Renters (as seen in the feedback comments).

We’re going to continue to improve and so are our customers.  Feedback is key to that constant improvement.  That can only benefit the Renter/consumers in the long run.

Bike Manufacturer Demo Fleets, Turn Them Into Bike Rentals

As we started to prep for Interbike and plan our discussions, we sat down with a few friends who work for a US distributor of bikes a few weeks ago. We were talking bike rentals with them, seeking their advice given their acute insight to the bicycle industry.  We asked about demo bikes.

As background, demo bikes are a usual part of a manufacturer’s or distributors sales program designed to allow consumers to “try” before buying.  These demo bikes are usually used as part of an overall Demo program that the brand managers develop as part of their sales and marketing plans.  Trek Factory Demo is a great example.

The problem with these and many other programs like this is they are limited many times to only a day or two in a particular city, like Interbike’s Outdoor Demo Sept 12-13 in Las Vegas.  This event in particular points out a couple of issues.  First, Interbike isn’t designed for consumers, it’s for dealers (bike shops).  Second, with consumers, who already have a limited window of time because of family and friend commitments, can many times miss the day the demo bikes are in town, meaning there are limited opportunities to “try” the bikes.  Last, we also learned that many smaller manufacturers just simply don’t have the budget to roll-out a nationwide series of Demo Days.  They have the demo bikes but using a traveling caravan to host Demo Events can be cost prohibitive so they limit their demos to the IBD “buying” events, without any real plans to get consumers on those bikes.

Case in point, we come to find out that this distributor has almost a stockpile of demo bikes provided to them from a European bike manufacturer that they use throughout the year as demos.  Because the number of demo events are limited and a real pain to deal with in terms of shipping logistics and cost, 90% of the time the bikes sit in a warehouse collecting dust.  Just the opposite of the sales goals of a demo program, right?

So we asked, why not rent them out when they are not being used? They seem so under utilized and not effectively getting to the consumers to sample.  The answer, we are not set up to deal with that and the bikes are only in a single location.

Hold on a second, we said. The goal is to get more and more people to put their butts on bikes so they can try them out because if you can really try the bike out, you might be more inclined to buy one. Right?

So here was our idea:

  1. Consign those bikes out to your top 20 shops/locations and list them for rent on Velolet. Get them out to places throughout the country like California, Oregon , New York, Colorado, Texas, Florida, etc..  Use the IBDs as your sales and marketers.
  2. Let the IBD earn the bike rental income as an incentive to provide your sales and marketing.  The rental income can be used to buy those consigned bikes
  3. Immediately following the demo rental, the consumer can be provided a direct promotional incentive (from the manufacturer or IBD) to purchase the bicycle.  That promotional incentive can be anything from the rental fee applied to the cost of the purchase or other direct factory incentives
  4. It also doesn’t matter whether you are a big or a small manufacturer, by putting even 1 or 2 bikes at your dealers, you provide a much larger exposure then your current program which will inevitably lead to higher sales.Dan Cleary, Velolet, Lazer, Dealer Camp

Velolet can handle the entire process, working with the IBDs directly. Don’t forget we cover the liability insurance so everyone is protected.  We also collect a tremendous amount of data that the distributors and manufacturers can use to see rental trends and conversions and customize their demo sales program as needed.

What does this all Velolet program accomplish? It gets more people trying your bikes which inevitably leads to increased sales. That’s the goal right? It also provides the IBD the ability to earn income to buy the consigned bikes for end of season sales, all while earning rental income.

We will be stopping by your booths at Interbike and we would love work out a gameplan with you. Trust us, it is worth your time. After all, we are the best online bike rental resource for your customers to find bike rentals.

Tuesday Tips from Coach Jimmy Riccitello – Stick to your Training plan, Rent a Bike

With the huge growth over the years of triathletes and cyclists, so comes the growth of many other aspects like coaching, training, participating in events, and attending camps.  All those aspects can also include having to travel with your bike.  As coaches like expert Jimmy Riccitello points out in his weekly Tuesday Tips, renting a bike can be a great option and one less hassle or stumbling block in your training plan.

If you haven’t looked in a while, bike shops throughout the country are now adding top of the line bikes for rental like Cervelo, Trek, Specialized, Giant, Ridley, Scott, Raleigh and Cannondale and can be many times, far less expensive than shipping your bike and taking the chance it gets damaged in flight.

Just take a look at Trisports who has been doing bike rentals in Tucson They are renting out bikes like the 2011 Cervelo P2 for a little over $200 per week and that’s with top of the line Shimano Dura Ace.

As more and more shops continue to rent bikes and use services like Velolet that make it easy to make your reservations, you’ll begin to see that the bike rentals in Tucson, bike rentals in San Diego, bike rentals in Portland, etc. will increase in quality and quantity.

What can you do?  Tell your local bike shop to start listing on Velolet.com.  It’s free and it helps keep you on your training plan.  You stay on your training plan and you will make Coach Jimmy proud.

Bike Rentals and getting the right fit.

How do I find a bike that fits me???

You may be an expert and know the exact size and specifications you require, but one thing we’ve found out is that not all renters know this information.

Some say that height is a good place to start.  It is, but there are many factors that go into finding that right fit.  As well as having somebody who knows how to fit a bike measure you and setup the bike to match the results of a fitting.

Where to start:
Competitive Cyclist has a great utility that will help walk you through the process of finding a ballpark range of bikes that will fit.  Starting with the type of bike you’re looking for, Road, Mountain Bike or Triathlon.  Key measurements needed are Trunk, Forearm, Arm, Thigh, Lower Leg, Sternal Notch & Total Body Height.  Save your results somewhere that is easily retrievable.  Those results will help you when you rent a bike and make the adjustments you need.

Other options are to go to you local bike shop and get fitted.  Many stores have “fit studios” that can provide exact fits and have trained staff to make the measurements needed.  They can fit you onto a bike immediately and make adjustments to really dial in the fit.  Some of these shops might include it with a purchase of a new bike, or will charge a fee to get fit.

For Example:
Erik’s Bike Shops in MN offer a few different options for fitting services.  Basic fits all the way up to a full fledged BodyGeometry fitting.

Some bikes shops with rentals on Velolet.com have additional services you can pay for online when you rent your bike.  Trisports offers bike rentals in Tucson Arizona and has a seat/minor adjustment for $15.

Check for bike shops near you to see if they offer the services and go get fit!
Bike Shops in Minnesota

Live Green Twin Cities: Need a bike on an out-of-town vacation? Velolet gives you pedal power

July 5, 2011
by Sarah Askari

Green living is about making connections. Connecting the way your food is grown to the conditions of nearby waterways. Connecting the way your community uses energy to the quality of the air. And connecting your means of transportation with the footprint you leave behind. Now, a new website created by a local entrepreneur connects travelers with rental bikes in faraway cities. It’s called Velolet, and it could be the tool you need to get out and explore the countryside around an unfamiliar city with minimal inconvenience and maximum enjoyment.

Longtime cyclist Dan Cleary got the idea for the company he founded after “dealing with frustration when I travel.” It’s possible to bring a bike on a plane…but the extra fees will kill you, if the hassle of trying to maneuver a mountain bike as if it’s a suitcase doesn’t get you first. Meanwhile, in areas blessed with plenty of tourist-friendly bike paths, bike shop owners were sitting with an inventory of rental bikes but no simple way to get them into the hands of faraway consumers. Keeping track of inventory, working out the terms and conditions of service, and concerns about liability exposure kept lots of independent shops out of the game.

Enter Velolet.

Read more here