Brain Day a heady way to reach helmet buyers

Road Rider’s trade-in event brings together experts, customers

Sitting around brainstorming for a fresh idea, a concept was born at the Bay Area’s Road Rider Motorcycle Accessories to get old helmets off the street, educate the shop’s clientele and sell a lot of helmets in one day. What to call this original event? One of the employees dreamed up the name, Brain Day, and a new annual event was born.

Held on a Saturday in August, Road Rider used its connections to recruit big-brand helmet representatives, reps from Sena Bluetooth and helmet safety experts from the Snell Foundation to participate in Brain Day. A marketplace was set up outside Road Riders’ San Jose, Calif., store, with each brand and organization getting its own temporary storefront.

Customers were urged to bring in their old helmets to receive a discount on a purchase of a new, undoubtedly safer lid. Along the way, the intent was to educate customers and give them the opportunity to interact with experts in helmet fitment and technology.

“We’ve been looking for specific ways to appeal to customers in not just a doorbuster sort of sale. We wanted to do something that offered customers value beyond just a great price,” said Ryan Patrick, a manager at Road Rider Motorcycle Accessories.

A minimal investment

As a 10,000-square foot store that sells riding gear, tires, luggage, parts and accessories, Road Rider Motorcycle Accessories carries top brands that were represented at Brain Day. Shoei, Arai, Scorpion, Fox, AGV, Bell and Icon were represented through brand or distributor reps.

Patrick said that the first-year event was successful, yet the experience suggested that the event could’ve drawn a bigger crowd earlier in the year.

“It was not the crowd we were completely expecting,” he said. “We received a lot of cruiser, Harley riders and then a lot of BMW riders. Interestingly, we didn’t see a lot of sport bike riders, or at least as many as we thought we would see.”

While there were a lot of moving parts to the event, Patrick said it was easy to get vendors to support the event. At each booth, or mini storefront, representatives from the brand could fit customers, who could then either pay at a register in the parking lot or inside the store.

Brain Day attracted more than 200 attendees. The attendance resulted in more than 80 new helmet sales and approximately 20 used helmets that were collected and donated to a local EMT school for use in training students to remove helmets from a downed rider.

The event required minimal investment, only about $1,000 for marketing. Road Rider worked with a publishing outfit to create and distribute advertising posters throughout the area. Aside from posters, the store used its website, social media and email list to draw in current and past customers. Notices were also posted on the popular South Bay Riders and Bay Area Riders forums.

“The way we marketed it was not to promote the sales side of it — come and get something for less. It was for the education aspect of it and exposure to manufacturer representatives,” Patrick said. “It wasn’t just our staff that was out with the helmets. It was people that live and breathe the product and know how it’s designed to work.”



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