COSTA MESA, CA (BRAIN) — Bicycle Retailer and Industry News has officially handed off its long running Top 100 and Gold Star retailer recognition program to the National Bicycle Dealers Association. This year the NBDA will manage the annual list under the title, "America’s Best Bike Shops."
The magazine will continue to publish the list of top dealers in its November issue and will announce the selections in the Interbike Show Daily, released on the first day of the 2013 Interbike at the show's new home, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
As in years past, the NBDA and Interbike plan to honor selected retailers at a VIP reception held during the show.
The NBDA has begun requesting self-nominations from shops nationwide. To be considered, dealers must answer questions on a web-based application form. Questions range from advocacy support to customer service. The application deadline is Feb. 28.
Retailers who score well on the application form can also expect a visit from a “mystery shopper” who will evaluate store appearance, merchandising, customer service, phone courtesy and the overall customer experience.
Based on scores from the application and the mystery shopper, an NBDA committee will decide who are America’s best dealers. Fred Clements, the NBDA’s executive director, said there’s no arbitrary limit to the number of dealers who can make the list.
“The program is open to all retailers, whether they are NBDA members or not. Those who meet the standards qualify,” Clements said. “I look at it almost as if it were a certification program—hit a certain benchmark, then you’re in.”
To further boost the program’s visibility for dealers, the NBDA will supply promotional materials to retailers including window stickers, digital logos for websites, a press release for local news outlets and a plaque or certificate.
“This program can be a great marketing tool for retailers and raise their profile with their customers and within the industry with vendors,” Clements said.
Marc Sani, the magazine’s publisher said, “The Top 100 has been wildly popular with dealers and with exhibitors over the years. But the NBDA board of directors had expressed some concern over the methodology we used in the selection process — a process that relied primarily on supplier nominations.
“After much discussion, the board has initiated a full-on assessment program that promises to pick the best of the best,” Sani said. “While it’s always difficult to make choices, the NBDA’s program is investing heavily in the process to assure a more objective outcome,” Sani added.