Piles of paper waivers, customer support calls diverting resources, weekly errors in pick up and return schedules… if this describes your bike shop, then it’s time for an upgrade.
Modernizing a bike shop can be as simple as switching a few gears in your business strategy. The inventory is already there – now let’s innovate by making vehicles seamlessly connected, tracked and rented out with just one tap.
Beyond digitizing the rental process, it’s also about building an experience that stays true to your brand and supports future growth into new business areas.
In this article, we identify the biggest rental processing pains that come with managing a bike shop, and how your business can unlock new rental experiences and revenue opportunities with the right software by your side.
Manual Process Pains
Digitized in-app rental process
Process Pain 1: Paperwork and manual checkout
Traditional rental kiosks rely on face-to-face transactions, paper forms, and worst of all: phone calls. Despite being digital natives, ask any Gen Z or Millennial and they’ll tell you just how much they hate talking on the phone. Bike rental shops that only offer phone and in-person bookings are passing up on major revenue from their primary target audience.
Instead of losing potential sales to telephobia, a fully digitized process allows customers to complete the entire transaction from your branded mobile app. Users start by browsing available vehicles, upgrades and accessories, then select their desired rental period. The pickup location can be set simply as your store, or display a list of multiple franchises. You can even partner with hotels and popular tourist destinations to provide convenient vehicle pickups at satellite locations.
After confirming the pick-up point, users review their booking and agree to the terms and conditions before paying the rental fee–either a deposit, in full, or the first installment of a subscription service. Once you’ve approved their booking request using the fleet management dashboard, the customer will receive email confirmation and all that’s left is for them to pick up the vehicle.
Smart security and trackable assets
Process Pain 2: Liability, theft and vandalism
E-bikes are more valuable than mechanical bikes, making them attractive targets for theft. Your terms and conditions probably have a penalty fee, but let’s face it, replacing a vehicle isn’t ideal (not to mention a legal dispute with the customer).
Making your assets trackable gives you a far greater chance at recovering them. Thanks to GPS embedded in their premium e-bikes, VanMoof has been able to track and recover 70% of stolen customer bikes, a process they refer to as bike hunting.
It’s a nice service for privately owned bikes, but what about your existing rental fleet? In order to transmit location data to a fleet management system, the bike in question must have an IoT device. An experienced technician may be able to retrofit an IoT to some e-bikes, but these devices will need a power source.
A popular solution is to install Electric Ring Locks (ERLs) on the rear wheel of each bike. A BLE lock (Bluetooth Low Energy), such as the AXA ERL-2, can be locked and unlocked via Bluetooth and has the advantage of having a long battery life of up to one year. The downside is that it doesn’t provide real-time location data, nor can it integrate with an e-bike’s engine.
An IoT lock with GPS such as the Sentinel M60 provides real-time location data but consumes more energy in exchange. You must either recharge it every 1-2 months or connect it to a solar panel.
The most holistic solution is to integrate a smart lock with an e-bike’s engine to siphon energy from the battery. With this combination, you know your bike’s location and battery level, and the lock switches the e-bike on and off each time a trip starts or ends.
Purchase top-tier smart locks, fleet vehicles and parts, verified by industry-leading hardware experts, at Joyride Garage.
User-friendly rentals and support
Process Pain 3: Customer experience friction
In a traditional bicycle rental shop, employees manually facilitate vehicle pick-ups and returns. One by one, they must record the rented bike’s serial number, enter it into a data management system, check the customer’s ID, collect a signed waiver, process payment, and explain vehicle safety and handling. During peak hours, this repetitive process creates unnecessary wait times at best, and at worst: negative reviews from impatient customers.
With fleet management software, rental bikes are identified and assigned to users simply by scanning their QR code. Inventory management features provide real-time updates on the availability and battery status of each bike, reducing downtime due to maintenance issues, and optimizing the checkout process for both staff and customers.
Beyond a quicker handoff, a digitized system enables 24/7 customer support. The Help Center in Joyride’s Rider App contains resources for ‘How to Ride,’ and an FAQ section to help users self-solve technical problems. What’s more, automated support tools have tangible cost savings. By integrating Mavenoid with the Joyride platform, fleet operator Bicelo is able to automate over 80% of their e-bike rental support inquiries.
Ultimately, brand loyalty isn’t forged by support tools–but a top-notch experience from start to finish. A digitized rental system enables you to tackle customer friction before it arises, ensuring a smoother journey for all.
Diverse and recurring revenue streams
Process Pain 4: Business opportunity blind spots
Lack of data tracking and analysis in manual systems makes it challenging to get a bird’s eye view of your business. Even if your current system is digitized, rental schedules, maintenance logs and customer data are most likely stored within a variety of tools and platforms.
Joyride’s fleet management aggregates bike and customer data to provide full oversight on the health of your operation. With live tracking maps, fleet analytics, and customizable reports at your fingertips, your rental shop has all the data it needs to identify trends and areas for business improvement.
Even better, a unified management system makes targeting new market segments as simple as clicking ‘new fleet.’ You might start by partnering with local businesses to create cross-promotional discounts, or present a corporate fleet service tailored to their employees. Similarly, private fleet rental packages for tourism agencies or hotels ensure a steady flow of revenue–far more predictable than one-off rentals to tourists. Another popular extension for rental shops is to offer e-bike subscriptions to gig workers for last-mile food and package delivery.
To further support these ventures, promotions and offers in the Rider App can be curated to target specific locations, fleets, or customer segments. In-app advertising can be sold to generate additional revenue, while push notifications act as a direct line of communication to inform customers about new bike arrivals, exclusive offers, or upcoming events.
Additionally, the incorporation of referral programs incentivizes existing users to broaden your customer base, fostering organic growth and loyalty.
The magic of fleet management software is that it doesn’t just manage data; it unlocks a world of possibilities.
Ready to digitize your bike rental shop?
The only thing missing from the Joyride platform is your logo. See how our white-label solutions are packed with powerful features that will modernize your bike rental business at the flip of a switch.
Get in touch for a personalized demo today.