A common question we get at Flatbike is, “Do you have a store where I can test ride a CHANGE bike?”
Of course, this is really asking, “Do you have a store conveniently near me?” And even if we had dedicated retailers in the 20 largest cities in the US, the answer in more than half the states, and anywhere outside those 20 cities would still be No.
Clearly, we need another model for addressing this persistent need.
The internet effect.
The arrival of Amazon.com broke sales models forever, on and off the internet. As more and more types of goods move online, a common concern from brick-and-mortar retailers is the increasing practice of trying things for fit in a store and then buying online instead for a better price.
Today, many online sales aren’t just about price, but about finding unique products, even high dollar items, you can’t get offline. In the cycling and motorcycling worlds, Amazon itself will sell you anything from a $4,500 jersey to a $11,700 Cipollini road bike, both allegedly in your size.
How is this high-dollar sale possible without a test fit or test ride? Because of the free shipping and generous return policy. (Just today, I personally returned incorrect telecom equipment that I purchased on Amazon. Free shipping both ways, and a pain-free return if it’s not a good fit.)
The Flatbike guarantee.
We’re not on Amazon yet, but we’ve had the Flatbike guarantee up and running for over a year–free shipping, and no-questions returns for 30 days after you receive your bike. Look at the size chart for your bike (which probably comes in four sizes by height), order, and return it at our expense if the fit isn’t right.
We also don’t collect money until we actually have your bike in inventory, ready for quality-checking and Fedex delivery. This is to free you from the months and malleable delivery dates of international shipping (with apologies to the folks waiting so patiently for the arrival of our first folding CHANGE frames and CHANGE 612 mountain bikes). Most bikes ordered from Flatbike arrive at their destination within a week after ordering.
Bringing CHANGE bikes to you.
When not shipping bikes and components, we’re on the road, bringing the CHANGE bike experience to you, either through trade shows or Flatbike Demo Days. It’s your chance to see bikes folding and unfolding up close before you buy.
In just the next three months, we’ve we’ll be in:
- Seattle. March 4-5. Seattle Bike Show. A lot of our visitors suggested boat shows in the future as well (Naturally,the Seattle Boat Show was in January…)
- Medford. March 23. Flatbike Demo Day in Medford, Oregon. Catch details on Facebook.
- San Francisco. March 27. Flatbike Demo Day in San Francisco area? Still looking at Mills Valley, but we’re open to other offers…
- Coral Gables. April 7. Flatbike Demo Day. Looking at Coral Gables area, but no location locked down yet.
- New York. May. Either Bike Expo New York (May 4-5), or NYC Bike Expo (May 19-20). We need to pick one. Any thoughts or preferences?
We’re also considering the possibility of boat shows, and Interbike in the fall. What else are we missing?