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In Keith’s latest column for Bike Biz he talks about what IBD’s can do to stand out from the crowd…

The modern retailer has a huge number of sales and promotional tools at its disposal.
In addition to the accepted ‘must haves’, such as great premises, an attractive website, interesting stock, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and engaging social media, there is so much more that can be done to grab a customer’s attention.

Sell the sizzle, not the sausage. This was something I was told in sales training some years ago, and while the analogy still makes me laugh today, the message certainly stuck. In the current economic climate, is it important for retailers and brands to stay focused on their key message, or is it necessary to diversify? Perhaps a balance of both old and new ideas is the best way to go, to stay fluid as a business and to tap into potential new revenue streams.

I would always advise businesses to stay loyal to their USPs. There’s enough uncertainty in the consumer already, so it’s essential to identify your strengths… and weaknesses! Maximising your strengths can be done by undertaking many activities. For an IBD, I would recommend offering some of the following added value experiences in order to maximise customer relationships. Purely online retailers can be more aggressive on price, which means that the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ IBDs need to offer something different in order to be competitive. Making the shopping experience alluring and memorable is the challenge.

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