Automated pricing updates across all retail locations reduced labor costs and paper waste
Higher productivity realized thanks to the reliability and increased visibility of Meraki technology
Fewer site visits now required and new locations launched faster with remote configuration of Meraki equipment
18 retail stores and two distribution centers served by Meraki MR access points and MX appliances
Eliminated time spent updating over 5,000 paper tags by utilizing ecosystem partner SES-imagotag for digital tags
Saved 30,000 sheets of paper per year by moving to digital price tags
Founded in 1964, Mike’s Bikes is a highly successful local bike shop with a singular mission: to get as many butts on bikes as possible. Based in Northern California with additional retail stores in the Denver area, the company is committed to promoting the cycling lifestyle in the community. As Mike’s Bikes’ Vice President of Operations, Dylan Rinaldi, says, “it’s fun, healthy, and the cleanest form of transportation.”
Along with its staff of 260-plus knowledgeable cycling evangelists, one of the keys to the company’s success has been its ability to offer customers an omnichannel experience by giving them a 360-degree view of what’s available online and in-store. This approach means customers enjoy a superior shopping experience, while enabling Mike’s Bikes to grow its online business at the same pace as its brick-and-mortar retail stores.
The impetus for going to digital price tags using Meraki access points and SES-imagotag was a better experience for the customer and a better experience for the employee.
IT Director, Mike’s Bikes
Mike’s Bikes is constantly on the lookout for ways to make the experience even better for its customers, whether they’re researching bikes on mikesbikes.com, dropping in to one of the company’s 18 retail locations to get expert advice, or maybe taking a test-ride before making a purchase. While the customer experience depends heavily on the company’s outstanding employees, the technology required to support their efforts also has a critical role to play in ensuring customers can get the product information they need and make their purchases quickly and efficiently.
As Mike’s Bikes IT Director, Chris O’Dell, says, “technology just needs to work every time; the simpler the better. Customers just want to come in and buy something and get out the door quickly.”
When Chris joined the company in 2017, bringing uniformity to the technology stack across its 18 retail locations and two warehouses while improving network reliability were his top priorities. With a mix of different technologies and vendors in the network, daily operations were inefficient and network outages were all too common. Any loss of connectivity had the potential to result in point-of-sale (POS) system outages, keeping paying customers waiting while connectivity was restored.
Another operational challenge for frontline staff involved printing price tags for bikes and other products. Whenever there was a price change to support a sale or promotion, employees would have to manually print price tags and attach them to the correct bikes throughout the showroom, a time-consuming process repeated across all of the company’s stores. Printing problems were common and a major source of frustration for employees, one which resulted in many support tickets for the IT team.
Mike’s Bikes deployed cloud-managed Cisco Meraki MR access points for Wi-Fi connectivity in all of its retail and warehouse locations, along with Meraki MX security and SD-WAN appliances to future-proof their network reliability and security.
Secure, reliable, site-to-site VPN connectivity was also critical for Mike’s Bikes across its retail stores. Meraki MX devices allow the IT team to easily manage this while protecting the network from security threats and ensuring that every payment transaction is successful. In addition, by pairing the Meraki MX with a cellular device, secure backup connectivity is guaranteed in the event of an internet outage.
To save costs on implementation and cabling, the company deployed digital price tags from SES-imagotag, which are compatible with Meraki MR access points. This combination provides wireless connectivity for digital tags in a single device without having to deploy separate access points for Wi-Fi and digital tag gateways.
Finally, Mike’s Bikes is also taking advantage of the Meraki dashboard to dramatically simplify its day-to-day network operations. The integration of Meraki Systems Manager for mobile device management (MDM) in the dashboard was critical for giving the IT team deep visibility and managing the entire stack. It has enabled them to onboard, manage, and secure employee workstations and end-user devices in all of its stores.
The simplicity of both the software and the hardware tools that we’ve put into place contributes to our success. Cisco Meraki is what powers the business.
IT Director, Mike’s Bikes
Since adopting Meraki technology, Mike’s Bikes has realized significant operational efficiencies that have led to greater agility and improved business performance. By standardizing on the Meraki MR access points and the Meraki MX security and SD-WAN appliances across its 18 retail locations and two distribution warehouses, Mike’s Bikes has significantly improved network uptime, security, and operational efficiency. The Meraki dashboard provides the company’s two-person IT team with end-to-end network visibility, which simplifies day-to-day network maintenance and monitoring.
As the company continues to expand over a larger geographical area, the plug-and-play aspect of the Meraki solution is providing important time and cost savings for Mike’s Bikes.
“The ability for me to simply send a new Meraki unit out to a remote location,” Chris says, “and not have to go there personally to configure it is very valuable.”
With its store-wide rollout of the SES-imagotag platform that integrates with Meraki MR access points, Mike’s Bikes has eliminated the time-consuming and frustrating process of printing thousands of price tags annually. Staff can now focus squarely on the needs of customers in the store. Employees can tap their phone on a digital tag to get inventory levels for a particular bike across all the stores and customers can scan a QR code to go right to the product information on the store’s website.
What’s more, the addition of digital tags gives the company greater flexibility and agility to launch new sales promotions easily and adjust prices in a matter of minutes across all of its stores, and on the website as well. The company estimates that it’s saving about 30,000 sheets of paper annually, a significant achievement that aligns with the company’s sustainability goals.
Because the Meraki MR access points communicate with SES-imagotag digital tags out of the box, the company did not need to purchase additional hardware. This resulted in up-front cost savings, and with fewer devices in the network, a reduction in ongoing maintenance and management overhead.
The future for Mike’s Bikes is bright. “The simplicity of both the software and the hardware tools that we’ve put into place contributes to our success,” says Chris. “Cisco Meraki is what powers the business.”