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Brief Published: 29 May 2013

Piston & Chain: Hybrid Retailing for Motorcycle Fans


New members club-cum-retail space Piston & Chain has launched in San Francisco. It provides more evidence of the growing bricks-and-mortar retail shift towards brand hubs with a distinct emphasis on community as well as commerce.

In addition to selling bike accessories and apparel, the concept – which, according to the brand, aims to appeal to amateur hobbyists and veteran biking buffs alike – also provides access to a range of services including on-site tools, motorcycle storage facilities and bike events. Access to these perks depends on the membership level, which costs $29, $59 or $249 per month.

Events include organised rides and movie nights, expert-led lectures on bike maintenance and product demonstrations. Other benefits include discounts on Piston & Chain merchandise and a concierge service to help members find bikes to buy or sell their own.

For more on how brands and retailers can tap into the growing appetite for social clubs where consumers can indulge in common interests, see Club Culture.

Some consumers are even seeking out living arrangements that accommodate their personal interests. See our analysis of Niche Lifestyle Housing for more on this, including an apartment block built specifically for motorcyclists.

For more on successful examples of hybrid retailing, see Future Stores: Brand Hubs & Product Playgrounds and Retailer Restaurants. The latter looks at how incorporating food into the shop-floor experience is fuelling sales.