I've been in Manizales, Colombia for the past week working with staff from Specialized and retailers from all over the country. In our first session I led management training for SBCU, marketing, and sales leaders in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, and Chile. The following week the same course was offered in Spanish to 10 retailers from Colombia.
During my stay I've seen a number of bike shops and have had some amazing discussions about the business in this market. It has been very, very interesting.
In Colombia, you will see everything from gorgeous concept stores to small cinder block rooms, no bigger than a couple of bathroom stalls. While I may be biased, I believe the Specialized Concept Stores in Colombia are the best shopping experience for riders. Each store is called Welcome, here are some images of the Welcome Specialized Concept stores.
In general the bike shops operate as they would anywhere else in the world. The biggest difference would be the value placed on service in bike shops. Culturally, service is seen as an evil needed to sell a bike, not a profit center for the business. For example take a look at how much of the total revenue comes from service when compared to the US.
Overall, the trip has been very enlightening. I hope to return soon.
Check out my book. Leading Out Retail is a creative look at bicycle retail and teaches retailers simple strategies on how to increase profit through service, what the most important question to ask every customer is, and how to manage the dreaded Timmy Factor.