Case Study: How BlackBerry helps Sweet Pete’s Bicycle Shops switch gears and pull ahead


Pete Lilly has been a fixture in Toronto’s bicycling community for more than 15 years. As the successful owner of two Sweet Pete’s Bicycle Shops and a tireless advocate of cycling, Lilly can often be found passionately teaching people about the benefits bikes can have in their lives.

When Lilly turned in his BlackBerry smartphone a few years ago for another smartphone, he learned a valuable lesson – “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”He soon realized that for him, it simply wasn’t the right choice.

Lilly missed the efficient way that his BlackBerry® smartphone managed his information, via its data compression technology, almost where ever he was in the world. He believed the switch in phones was the reason his data charges were higher than what he was accustomed to paying with his BlackBerry device.

He also had trouble getting used to typing on a touchscreen with clean hands, let alone while working on bicycles all day in his shop. Lilly realized there were other key features he missed besides the iconic BlackBerry keyboard: the peace of mind his durable BlackBerry smartphone had given him when riding through the busy streets of Toronto; its battery life; and the way it interfaced with his shop’s Point-of-Sale system.

“The other smartphone just didn’t meet my personal and business needs,” said Lilly.

Lilly switched back to a BlackBerry smartphone after just 34 days. He even went as far as to equip his core staff of 12 with BlackBerry smartphones to help stay in touch with each other and their customers.

Looking to capitalize on new direct marketing initiatives, Sweet Pete’s ran a successful sale that was communicated via email. Soon after, Lilly and his team realized that they no longer needed to rely on traditional (and expensive) advertising to drive sales.

The staff at his shop then took it to the next level by leveraging social media on their BlackBerry smartphones. The Facebook® and Twitter® applications on their devices helped them engage their customers on a consistent basis which helps to increase sales and foster an even wider biking community.

“We realized that we constantly needed to reach out to our customers with photos, up-to-the-minute updates, and information about biking events around the region,” said Lilly. “It’s now very easy to keep in touch, and since the information can be posted right away, it takes no time for people to start talking about it, sharing it, and generating excitement and buzz around it. There is no set schedule in the bike world, so being able to do that puts us a step ahead of the competition and we take that very seriously.”

Lilly has found that many of the higher-end bike purchases take place over the winter, making it more important than ever to be available during the Christmas season. Because BlackBerry devices allow him to open spreadsheets and are designed to have secure and reliable email access, Lilly can always take his shop with him, wherever he might be.

“Bikes have a unique spot in people’s hearts and minds and we want our customers to feel like they’re part of a real community and they’re not just coming to a store where they’re buying a hunk of metal,” said Lilly. “Using BlackBerry smartphones helps us grow that community and really create an important connection.”

“My BlackBerry smartphone is a fantastic device, and I really don’t think there’s anything better on the market for my personal or business use” said Lilly. “I can’t say enough good things about it.”

About Luke Reimer

@Luke_Reimer is a Senior Marketing Manager at BlackBerry helping to design, launch, and manage enterprise marketing programs - particularly concerning content across digital mediums. Beyond spreading BlackBerry goodness in enterprise communities, you can find Luke cooking up a storm, out on his motorcycle (when Canadian weather allows), or digging into a good science fiction book.

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