In this economy, every buck counts. Fewer people are riding now because money is tight. Plus, the people who are riding are spending less dough on themselves and their scooters. Hey, I don’t blame them. I’m spending less money now than I have in years. I’d like to say the same thing about my wife, but she doesn’t concern herself with the economy. She told me just the other day. “We can’t be out of money. I still have plenty of checks left!” Just kidding, honey.
So the challenge as I see it is to not only get people into the store, but also to get those tight asses to spend some bread while they’re in there. Bikers want to hang out with other bikers and are always looking for something to do. So, give them a reason to come to your shop! How about a bikini bike wash? Hey, it’s nothing new; people have been using that draw for years. And why have they been using bikini bike washes for years? Because it works! Guys love to see purdy gals in bikinis. At my joint I have a set price and the girls get half and I get half. They also get to keep all tips, so they’re happy and I’m happy.
Another thing we do is bring out non-competing vendors to set-up in the parking lot on weekends. Not only does that create some excitement, it also makes it look like you have something big going on. I charge the vendors a flat fee to set up in the parking lot, which means some added income for me. Sometimes I get some of the vendors that I buy from, like Drag Specialties and Bikers Choice to send a rep out and help me peddle the products that I buy from them. They are experts about their products so they naturally make great salesmen.
Or how about hosting a chili cook off? We do it here and it works and brings new people in. When there are food or drinks available, people tend to stick around for a while. If nothing else cook some hot dogs or burgers and give them away. Or make some popcorn in the store and give it away. Be sure to put lots of salt on it and charge them $5 for a bottle water too (just teasing).
When the customers are in the store, they may not be planning on spending any dough, but I do everything I can to get my money out of their pockets! I make sure to have all the impulse items right up front where everyone has to see them. Here are some of the impulse things that are cheap and everybody needs: sunglasses, good luck bells, can koozies, caps, T-shirts, shotguns, patches, decals, pins, biker jewelry, belts and belt buckles, gloves, doo rags, cigarette lighters, and even iced-down soda pop (just kidding about the shotguns).
The bottom line is, get people into the store and get them to buy something while they are there. Create excitement. Make it look like something is going on, even if there ain’t. Do whatever you have to do to increase traffic. Right now, it’s tough, so get creative and start thinking.