In preparation for the release of our upcoming Future Of Retail report, PSFK reached out to Motomethod, a new type of motorcycle repair shop located in Vancouver, Canada that invites riders in to work on their own bikes while receiving expert supervision from on-site staff. While renting out service bays fully equipped with tools, the shop offers motorcycle owners a parts ordering service and provides on-call mechanics to help customers repair and customize their rides. The shop’s approach redefines the repair shop model, creating a more participatory and educational customer experience. We reached out to Motomethod’s Simon Travers to get his thoughts on how this new model will affect consumers.
Tell us a little about Motomethod. How does the shop work as a Community Bicycle Repair Shop?
Motomethod is a motorcycle repair shop where we diagnose, repair, install, build or customize your ride. We also have space to rent out to bike owners to come in and fix their own bikes, or learn how. We have everything you need to do almost anything to your bike, from oil changes to full engine rebuilds. The lifts, tools, compressed air with manuals are all included and you can recycle all your oil, gas, coolant etc… here too.
There are 4 technicians on site to help with questions when you get stuck, or just want some guidance. Some customers come in for the quick stuff ( oil change, brake pad change, tire change, tune up etc…), where as others come in to build bikes from scratch, rebuild their engines, and use the machine shop. Everyone who wants to work on their own bike must be a member ($100/ year), and must sign a waiver, and have training and safety lessons on the machines that they will use before they start their job. We provide coveralls, eye and ear protection, as well as gloves to keep the customers clean and safe.
Alot of people will drop off their bike for us to work on too, and they like to watch us working on their bikes and ask questions as we go. This is all encouraged, and we try to teach as much to our customers as possible.
There is a real sense of community in our shop with many members meeting and helping each other out during the day.
Are there any notable figures or statistics around customer engagement and usage?
Well, we knew we needed to take a deeper look at our brand and presence online. We have a friend that specializes in online strategy and he took the lead in helping us. For example, our video appears in approximately 70% of search results and knowing that, we worked on revamping our site, started a blog, created a series of “How To” videos on YouTube and of course we were extremely fortunate to have other friends of ours (the Zenga Bros) create a beautiful and skillfully shot mini doc on our company. That alone had 65,000 views on Vimeo in a very short time. It became a great lead to our website where people could get in touch with us. We are continuing to expand through our social networks both online and offline (swap meets / shows etc) — as a result of our “rebirth,” our business has tripled since last year and what we are finding is that people are walking in here having seen one or all of those assets. They just simply love the idea and the vibe of the place. In essence, the community spirit of the shop and our friends is what has lead to our success.
We have noticed that retailers are further curating their in-store experiences by combining advice and coaching with the products that they sell, transforming traditional retail environments into a space for education. These initiatives are not only empowering customers with skills and knowledge, but helping them feel more connected to the products that they buy. Do you see this trend manifesting on a wider scale? How so?
One would think yes, but teaching people to DIY –or at least educate them more, doesn’t really fit into the global practice of planned obsolescence. One of the things we hope people gain out of a shop like ours is that they can be empowered to learn more, build more confidence when it comes to mechanics, and simply have some fun. Some people may never get their bikes running but I guarantee they will have a great time trying too! If other companies can understand that it’s not 100% about ROI and control, then I don’t see why this model wouldn’t work for any of them. It’s a trend I would like to see grow. I think with the internet being a huge tool for education now, more people are getting more involved in what they are doing and trying to do it themselves, whether it be plumbing, electrical, woodwork, or mechanics… and talk forums with questions being answered inspires, helps and fuels the motivation to actually fix things instead of just using them… our shop creates a space and gives them the tools to do actually do that, and if they do mess up then we are right there to get them back on track.