retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Good piece by the New York Times about a new franchise business called Velofix, which has more than 80 franchises in Canada and the United States.

Velofix has an intriguing business proposition - it is a mobile bike shop. If you have a bicycle that needs repair, you don't have to lug it down to the local bike shop and leave it. Instead, Velofix comes to you.

"It isn’t the only company taking this approach," the Times writes. "Beeline Bikes in California also offers mobile bike-repair franchises."

And here's where this story of disruption starts to sound familiar:

"This is just one of several changes coming to an industry that has resisted many of the innovations that have altered others over the last 15 years. Some smaller bike companies have sold their bikes online for some time, but now the industry’s largest manufacturers are offering bikes directly to consumers via their web pages.

"All of this presents the possibility of better service and perhaps even lower prices for consumers. But it has also raised concerns for the future of the neighborhood bike shop. The bicycle industry has hardly been a bastion of health. Since 2000, about 40 percent of bike shops have closed or have been consolidated by larger chains. Bike sales have remained essentially flat over the same time ... Many bike shops are already reacting to these changes. Richardson Bike Mart, a three-store chain in the Dallas area, started its own mobile repair service. Though many shop owners worry that such a service could cannibalize their business, that has not been the case, said the store’s owner, Woody Smith. So far, 65 percent of his mobile repair customers are new."

You can read the entire piece here.

The thing is, these are the kinds of disruptions that affect every business. It is called progress. It isn't objectively good or bad, even if it forces some companies out of business, because it also forces other companies to deal with the stark reality of increased consumer expectations. They can either meet or exceed them, or they can settle back into irrelevance and eventual obsolescence.

Their choice. Your choice.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: