Bike Lanes Grow Retail Sales!
Parking is another cherished 20th century retail success parameter that is being challenged by the millennial generation.
Many millennials do not own a car or have chosen an urban lifestyle where their car is not their central source of transportation. Urban millennials walk, bike and use public transportation more often then their cars.
Cities from San Francisco to Portland to Indianapolis to Austin to New York are demonstrating how to grow retail sales by enabling walking and biking access. What has emerged is a new template for growing sales. It is to be located on a dedicated urban bike path.
For example, Indianapolis developed a massive bike lane network that has been the foundation of its downtown redevelopment and connected villages.
The walkability and biking availability in Indianapolis has turned once economically distressed local retail downtowns into vibrant shopping districts. Surrounding undervalued housing has been redevelopment with residents further supporting local retail sales.
Portland has an aggressive urban redesign effort to increase the numbers of dedicated bike lanes. Studies of Portland’s efforts found that their bike lanes generated increased retail sales.
Bike riders were found to make more frequent trips to the city’s restaurants, bars and convenience stores than car based consumers. San Francisco found similar results.
Their research found that bikers did spent less per trip but made more trips to shops and restaurants along its dedicated bike lanes. The net result was more total spending by bikers than car based consumers.
How Bike Lanes and Sidewalks Grow Economic Development and Retail Sales
Ask Sears, Circuit City or even now, Macy’s about how retailing is different in the 20th century.
The 20th was the defined by the “shop till I drop” boomer generation driving to shopping malls from their suburban homes. The 21st century is being reshaped by a millennial generation that has adopted a “cool with a purpose” approach to shopping and living. They want to walk or bike to diverse and meaningful experiences from their loft apartments.
Here are four ways urban bike lanes and side walks are reshaping our cities and your retail store’s potential for sales success:
1. They promote local urban neighborhoods.
Bike lanes and high walkability scores are proving to be core attributes to the redevelopment of local neighborhoods. The residence in these neighborhoods then anchor the sales of their local merchants.
2. Bike lanes and walkability attracts millennial work associates.
Commuting from the suburbs is definitely not “cool with a purpose.” Having a bike or sidewalk commuting path to your business’ work location is very attractive to millennial work associates.
3. What business is not being crushed by rising health care costs?
Work associates that walk or bike to work are almost always healthier than work associates that sit in their car for 1-2 hours per day commuting to work.
That is a major reason why companies like Clif Bar pays their work associates to bike, walk or use public transportation in commuting to work.
4. Bike lanes and side walks is a competitive advantage against big box stores and Amazon.
How many small retailers can compete against Amazon or Walmart?
They can when they are located along a bike or walking path!
These transportation paths generate personal engagement from bikers and walkers that an Amazon or Walmart cannot compete against.