Customer Spotlight Interview with Pepper Harlton
Tell me a little bit about Shift Happens and how it got started.
I stumbled on mountain biking by accident by watching TV, and then got involved at a club in Edmonton shortly after that, and almost by accident. I lived in a town about 2 and half hours north of Edmonton, where there was no formal cycling or anything over there. I got involved in the club and just sort of what launched me into what I’d call a racing career, and it was always kind of the dream to open up our own bike shop. It was always like you went somewhere and raced that had a local bike shop that had all the information about the trails and the events. When I was racing with my mom who is actually my partner. While traveling and racing we had this pipe dream of opening a bike shop. We eventually opened, and it’s come full circle because you get to be a part of the community, be a part of other people’s journeys and help them find the right bike for them. The shop was first opened in 2012.
That’s amazing! So you offer bike repairs and sell bikes and accessories?
We service and sell, and in the winter time we also do fat bike and cross country skiing rentals. We also have bike mechanic clinics for women with an entire curriculum, which includes everything from intra level. We felt like there was this gap in the industry for women. It starts with getting to know your bike, changing a flat and a broken chain, and then we move on to adjusting your own derailleurs and swapping cables. People who get into biking don’t have much of an outlet on how to branch out on their own bike. It’s about learning the principles and gaining some independence.
How did you come across booxi and how long have you been using the tool? What made you choose booxi?
Prior to booxi, we were making do with Google Calendars for scheduling appointments. Booxi really came about as a necessity when Covid hit. We are a small shop, so we needed to figure out a way that felt comfortable for someone seeking out our services. I had heard of booxi previously because Lightspeed is our point of sale system. So I went back and looked into it, and finally jumped in because it seemed like it would meet our needs at that point in time, and it really did. We have been using it since March.
“booxi actually worked really well for allowing our clients to engage with our services and in coordination with our website system.”
What were your clients using booxi for during lockdown?
We never had to shut down because we were declared an essential service, so we needed to find a way to work with our customers. booxi actually worked really well for allowing our clients to engage with our services and in coordination with our website system. We were able to offer curbside dropoff for their bikes and bicycle repairs and pickup. So right away, we got around that barrier in an unknown time when no one knew how to respond or how to operate. It worked really well in that way.
“We have noticed an increased number of clients prefer to start everything online as far as looking up your business or booking a service. booxi helped alleviate some of the incoming calls and emails by offering booking repairs and service online. “
Since implementing booxi, do you feel like your customers are booking with you on a more frequent basis or spending more? Has it affected the business?
I think there were a number of factors that played into that. I think that it was booxi that recommended setting up personalized shopping experiences as a service feature. So the advantage to that is having one client in the shop at a time as a completely personalized experience, something they wouldn’t get typically. We normally always try to give the time but this is really unique. They get an hour slot whether they use all of it or not. The time is used to help set the client up with the right bike and accessories. Another thing was necessity, the industry exploded this year. Just being able to go to a bike shop made a big difference, especially with all the restrictions we had a few months ago.
As far as the booking, we have noticed an increased number of clients prefer to start everything online as far as looking up your business or booking a service. booxi helped alleviate some of the incoming calls and emails by offering booking repairs and service online.
The volume is something that we have never seen before, and the fact that people can book online without having to phone or come to the shop directly is great.
How was the initial set up? Was it simple, did it take long?
I worked late one evening in order to be able to launch it and make it available as soon as possible. I found the initial set up quite good and got us out of the gate quite well. I would say I’m still under utilizing features, but getting better and better as I go.
Speaking of features, have you had the chance to try the rental feature option?
That is on our list! We haven’t had the chance to set that up yet, but the season is about to kick off for that so we are setting that up. We are pretty excited about it but haven’t completely explored it yet.
How did the rest of the employees adjust to booxi as the appointment booking tool? Was there a big adjustment?
I would have to say that it’s pretty good! One of the main things is that my staff are in their late fifties, early sixties. They are amazing individuals but of course there is a learning curve because of that technology gap. However, it went a lot smoother than I was expecting, they use it today just fine and it streamlines the processes. It’s a fun comment because younger generations would learn it in a snap no problem, but these employees still managed to sort it out. There is a little bit of fear when it comes to learning a new technology, so props to booxi because it all went well!
That is amazing to hear! We wanted the tool to be user friendly so of course this means a lot. Has there been any major changes in your customer’s behaviour since using booxi? Are there any walk-ins that come into the store or is it mostly by appointment basis?
So at the beginning we did our best with communication and signage and posting to encourage people to book appointments. Now that things have opened up, we still only allow one client in the shop at a time. We do get some walk-in traffic but I think with the landscape people are used to the new process, they ask by phone or email and they are still booking before coming in. It’s almost like an expectation, and the processes are different. They are researching before they show up to make sure they are following protocols.
Are you planning to keep appointment based visits indefinitely?
The biggest thing is that we are still in quite a small space, so that’s why we’ve maintained our one client in the shop at a time. We are unlikely to change that until our governing bodies reduce the restrictions. It makes it easier from an optics perspective, it’s not super inconvenient but it looks good for the people who are working. It’s been working okay, people are patient.
Since you were already a Lightspeed user, how did you find the integration between Lightspeed and booxi?
I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it is, it just streamlines the process. Booking the appointment, creating the work order, you don’t miss as many steps. I have staff who are older, so being able to have clear steps really helps. We don’t miss as many things, the clients are kept well informed, so I think the integration is relatively seamless and it’s been very much worth the integration.
“What I like about booxi is that you can add a lot of personalization to the landing page so it has the look and feel of our shop and our services, and shows our personality.”
Any other comments?
What I like about booxi is that you can add a lot of personalization to the landing page so it has the look and feel of our shop and our services, and shows our personality. I thought I should mention it because I think that is pretty significant when you’re using a third party platform. Before customers even walk in the shop, I think it’s really important that there is a tone and an expectation and understanding or just a kind of feel that’s congruent with your identity.