Rare is the woman biker who hasn’t walked into a bike shop only to immediately feel unwelcome or out of place. This could be true for a number of reasons: Perhaps there isn’t a single other woman in the shop. Maybe all the imagery on the walls exclusively features male cyclists. Or maybe the women’s gear section is decidedly smaller and less impressive than what’s on offer for men.
Of course, shops aren’t unwelcoming to women riders on purpose. The daily stresses of retail mean that many shop owners simply don’t have time to take a step back and evaluate whether they’re unintentionally creating a male-dominated space. Nevertheless, bike shops that don’t make a point of welcoming women riders are missing out, says Jenn Dice, Vice President of Business Network and Government Relationsat PeopleForBikes. Not only do these initiatives make the industry more inclusive (a worthy goal in its own right), but they’re also good for business. This is true for a number of reasons:
When you put all these factors together, it’s clear that women can be a great economic driver for bike shops of all stripes. In Dice’s line of work, she see this play out every day: Shops and brands that cater to women are seeing positive results in their bottom lines.
So how can bike shops start attracting more women? Dice polled her female colleagues to come up with some stellar ideas.
5 Ways to Attract More Women to Your Shop
The key to inviting women’s participation in these events is to host them at convenient times, says Dice. “So many women are moms, which means they’re pulled in a million different directions but still want to have community and ride their bikes.” If you’re hosting rides during the week, a short ride early in the morning or right before dinner is a good choice. On weekends, consider hosting family-friendly rides or running kids’ programs while women head out for their own ride.
Of course, not all women are mothers. There’s a huge spectrum of women who ride, Dice points out, and it’s important to remember that women are a diverse group. Hosting a variety of social events will help ensure you welcome all stripes from this target demographic.
Dice advocates for taking the time to talk to these women about how they believe your shop can best connect with other women in your community, and then providing them with the resources they need to organize social events and maybe even create an online community for women. Developing an active ambassador program can help busy shop owners ensure that women-friendly programming happens even when they’re too busy to plan it themselves.
When you’re running a bike shop, it can be easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day stressors of retail that inclusive initiatives fall by the wayside. But by investing the time and energy in these women-friendly strategies, you’ll not only improve the bike community as a whole—you’ll also do a great service to your company’s bottom line.
In 2011, Jenn Dice was recognized by Outside Magazine’s “power list” of the top 25 people that influence the world outside for her time working for the International Mountain Bicycling Association and was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2014. She earned her masters in public administration from the University of Kansas and worked for the South Dakota, Kansas and Colorado state legislatures. Jenn is an avid endurance mountain biker who has completed the Leadville Trail 100 14 times and was the first woman to hike up, and mountain bike down Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
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