To implement a more effective and cost-efficient way to manage bike distribution across stations, Pronto Cycles can capitalize on existing assets by engaging and incentivizing customers (particularly annual pass holders) to do this work for them. One of the company’s key assets is its large customer base. Annual members are likely young, active, and educated – a demographic to whom many businesses in the Seattle area are eager to market.
With this in mind, our recommendation to Pronto Cycles is leveraging this asset by entering cooperative marketing arrangements with local businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms, and small retailers. Using an app platform to target Pronto riders with offers of free appetizers or complimentary drinks on behalf of uphill businesses, Pronto can incentivize the delivery of bikes to low-inventory stations.
Since many members bike down the hill in the morning and bus home in the evening, this strategy could encourage return bike trips, yielding a net flow of bikes up the hills and convincing riders to deliver a bike to a station that he or she normally wouldn’t. Pronto could could subsidize the restaurant coupons with the marginal cost of bike transport, limiting members to only one coupon per participating business. The partner businesses would receive a more-targeted marketing strategy that is guaranteed to reach a desirable audience while experiencing positive co-branding.