The “Bro Deal”: The Toxic Culture in Retail

By Rick Vosper: Bicycle Retailer

So you work in the bike business. Can you get me a deal on (insert product name here)?”

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you. Now keep your hand up if it’s happened with a person you’ve just met for the first time, and those were literally their first words upon meeting you.

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me too.

Here are a couple scenarios showing different aspects of Bro Deal culture at work:

Local racing or riding club comes to a local retailer. The members want, no, expect, special pricing for a season’s worth of bikes and equipment. In exchange, the shop can be their “sponsor” for the year, and the club/team will get plenty of “exposure” for the business and its partner brands. And if the retailer doesn’t want to play ball, there are plenty of other dealers in town, plenty of other bike and equipment brands, and one of them, eventually, will play ball. Because one of them, sooner or later, nearly always does. Shit Cyclists Say

It’s not a simple problem. As a marketer, I’ve seen situations where having some local hotshots on my employer’s brand significantly improved the brand’s sales across the board, and that effect persisted for years. But I haven’t seen it work that way very darned often. Far more frequently, any promotion predicated on the nebulous concept of “exposure” has been a loser from the get-go.

But the retailer is the one in the real bind here. Do they suck up the margin hit (perhaps shared with the brand, but more often not) in order to retain the rest of the group’s business? Or do they let the group go elsewhere and write the whole thing off?

Read the rest HERE

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