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Old 26th May 2009, 17:07   #1
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Default Irony – a new business makes another (older) one flourish

Disclaimer: these are my personal observations during the few visits to the shop

There is a small cycle repair shop in Jayanagar. I have been going to this shop for a couple of years now for repairs of my son’s cycles. My son also loves coming here as he gets to fiddle around with all the tools and tries to repair the cycles on his own (he is 5 years old now and this was when he was around 2.5/3 years old). Sometimes he tries copying what they are doing. His latest trick – holding the cycle rim in his hand and rotating to check the balancing and he is really proud of it. It has always been a pleasure coming here with my son and those ultra cheap cycle repairs/cycle accessories compared to what we pay for cars are a joy to pay for.

The shop was a typical repair shop and occasionally he kept cycles for sale, for kids and teenagers. I mean a couple of pieces each and there were no more than 4-5 new cycles at any time in the shop. I am assuming that he did his business by showing the prospective customers a catalogue and arranged delivery a day later.

A year, year and a half back, a well known foreign cycle brand opened up a showroom a couple of shops away from this place. I have never been to the showroom, but am aware that the cycles are expensive.

Both of them continue with their businesses, one selling a premium brand of cycles and the other, mostly budget models from Indian manufacturers and repairs.

Slowly, things seem to start changing for the cycle repair guy. His business seems to be improving.

I have been on the spot when people have actually walked out of the showroom and walked upto him and asked about the cycle rates. The man shows the customer the catalogues and quotes the rates. I was watching a deal. The father is asking the rates of a particular brand and model that his son wants (probably same as that of his son’s friends). The rates look encouraging to the parents. However, the cycle shop wallah is not a good salesman yet. He tries to sell what he wants rather than what the customer is asking for. And then, he has the catalogue of only one brand and just quotes the rate of the cycle of same size from a different brand. I have no idea if he managed to close the deal.

A visit a few months, he has more than the usual number cycles at his shop for sale. The numbers have kept increasing slowly.
I guess the guy has picked up sales skills as now, the place is teaming with cycles of all sizes and not just ordinary one, there are some real fancy ones too with sleek body, fancy rims, sleek tyres, gears, etc, etc. with some of them costing above the budget range. The number of people coming to his shop seems more than usual. He has got other people helping out at the shop, as sometime back, there was only a kid/helper (a lazy one at that) and a lady ‘manning’ the shop.

All this while, I have no idea about the business at the premium brand outlet.

Guess he is doing good. All the best to them. Hope he still retains his budget pricing for repairs and accessories :-)
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Old 26th May 2009, 17:36   #2
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That's called LUCK!
Very well written RAC.
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Old 26th May 2009, 17:38   #3
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Interesting post! My comments - People normally don't explore high end cycles in Indian brands. After checking the high end cycles on the fancy shops, and knowing the very high prices, they ccome to the regular shop and challenge him for a high end cycle. To their surprise they find one available and that too at a reasonable (as compared to the firang brand) price.

This works for the cycle wallah.
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Old 26th May 2009, 21:42   #4
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basically the man was totally unaware of a new market for him.
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Old 27th May 2009, 09:12   #5
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It sure has opened up the market for him. He has now trying to become a competetor of sorts. Passed by the shop last night and couldn't help smile at the no. iof cycles he had on 'display' on the footpath outside his shop, catering to all sizes, from kids to teenagers.

@dushmish - agree with you. The area I am talking about has very few (probably 3-4) cycle sellers and that too spread around. Basically a shop 1-2 kms apart from each other. The wholesale market is at least 5 kms away which is around 30 mins on mobike.

This seems to work for him. People come, check the expensive cycles, come down from the showroom, see a bunch on new cycles on the footpat, walkup and take a look and probably think - Hmmm. these are cheaper/affordable. We will buy this one :-)

More price concious people like me will think of visiting 20 more shops before they coincidentally come back to the first few ones which had ended up offering the best price.
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Old 27th May 2009, 15:31   #6
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Originally Posted by RAC View Post
Sometimes he tries copying what they are doing. His latest trick – holding the cycle rim in his hand and rotating to check the balancing and he is really proud of it.
And that makes you proud as well, doesn't it?! Must be quite a sweet sight.

The fancy cycle shop next door is doing a good job of getting potential customers to that location. And we Indians, by nature, will shop around and evaluate each option out there. Even a brand like Cafe Coffee Day took this further, and made it a ritual of opening shop right next to wherever a Barista was present (much to the annoyance of the latter!).

Your cyclewala's next business opportunity could be from providing value priced repair / service to fancy bikes sold by the big guy. Challenge : Not losing touch with your core clientelle.

Last edited by GTO : 27th May 2009 at 15:39.
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Old 27th May 2009, 16:48   #7
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Well this says we are not ready to be WALMARTed, small and simple still works.

In a lot of places I too have noticed people prefer dealing with family businesses, smaller places. This could be due to personal attention, service etc.
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