Fuji Altamira SL Review050613_684

No surprise in the age of the internet – online sales continue to grow. For most bicycle companies the decision to open sales to the internet seems not to be a question of if, but a question of how. A number of companies have already made some attempt at integrating online sales with their brick and mortar dealers, but with mixed reviews from those ultimately at the end of the line. Fuji’s parent company ASI hopes that their ‘Click and Collect’ program will be the answer to not only selling more bikes, but helping out their dealer network at the same time.

According to Fuji Bikes’ president, Patrick Cunnane, the key point to Fuji’s program is that there will be no revenue sharing which makes it sound like the dealer will end up with the same margin that they would on a bike sale from their floor. Also, the program is open to all retailers who qualify and will provide access to the entire Fuji product line – so you don’t have to stock that $9999 SL 1.1, but you can still sell it. Fuji will be working with SmartEtailing to integrate their Supplier Sync tech into dealers’ websites, and also will be working with ORIS Intel to monitor MAP policy.

It may not solve the problem of a customer ordering the wrong sized bike, but it sounds like a pretty good opportunity if you’re a Fuji dealer starting July, 1st…

From ASI:

PHILADELPHIA, June 10, 2016 — Early in the 2017 model year Fuji Bikes will continue its 117-year evolution when it partners with its retailers to more seamlessly sell bicycles to consumers.
 
Pat Cunnane, CEO of Advanced Sports International (ASI), announced the Omnichannel model approach last week at the Philadelphia-based company’s 2017 model year sales meeting. Cunnane emphasized that the goal is to offer Omnichannel sales touch points to drive consumers to stores where the retailer controls the transaction and collects the payment from the consumer.
 
“Today, in the world of Uber, Amazon and AirBnB, we know that consumers are changing the way they buy things – including bikes. We need to change. We need to continue to adapt,” Cunnane said. “We are going to be driving Fuji sales via our website and mobile platform to our retailers’ stores. And we will be allowing our retailers to sell the complete Fuji product line online.”
 
Cunnane told more than 60 U.S. retailers that ASI is investing in new resources and tools to support its move to online sales. ASI, which owns six bicycle brands, is partnering with SmartEtailing to utilize the company’s POS data-integration services. ASI has also hired Oris Intel to monitor its MAP policy. Most importantly, Cunnane said, is the creation of ASI’s new Retail Services Department headed by Joe Wentzell, who for 16 years owned Breakaway Bike Shop, a successful specialty bicycle retailer in Philadelphia.
 
Fuji has a great network of retailers who are working creatively to remain competitive in their local retail market,” said Joe Wentzell, Director of Retail Services. “ASI recognizes that we’re the wholesaler and we want to support our retailers by utilizing the best technology available to drive consumers to their businesses.”
 
SmartEtailing’s Supplier Sync technology provides qualifying retailers access to real-time product sourcing. Supplier Sync offers a single point of integration that ensures ASI’s brands’ products are displayed on retailer websites even if those products are not available in the retailers’ own inventories but are available from ASI warehouses.
 
“We’re thrilled that ASI is launching Supplier Sync with all their brands,” said Dorothy Nichols, Sr. Director of Supply Chain and Content at SmartEtailing. “Instead of consumers buying their products through online-only ecommerce sites, our services channel sales of Fuji’s products through local brick-and-mortar retailers, which is a win for the entire industry.”
 
ASI will also be working with ORIS Intel to monitor its brands’ MAP policy. ORIS Intel’s PROWL, a SaaS that alerts businesses of MAP violations and identifies anonymous sellers, will help Fuji maintain price integrity in the market.

Additionally, ASI, which owns Fuji, Breezer, Kestrel, SE, Phat and Oval Concepts, is building new, consumer-facing websites and mobile platforms for its brands designed to engage consumers and ultimately send them into qualified retailers’ stores who stock ASI’s products.
 
ASI’s full transition to the online sales model isn’t entirely new. The company currently allows its brands Kestrel, SE and Breezer as well as some Fuji models to be sold online through its retailers.
 
Looking forward, Cunnane said adopting this Omnichannel sales plan will ensure ASI remains a growing and profitable company that will allow for better bikes at a better value to customers.
 
ABOUT Advanced Sports International
Advanced Sports International (ASI) is a privately held corporation located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with more than 80 distributors in 50 countries. ASI markets a full line of premium bicycles and parts and accessories under the Fuji, Kestrel, SE, Breezer, Phat Cycles and Oval Concepts brands. For more information about ASI and its brands, please visit www.advancedsports.com.
 
ABOUT SmartEtailing
SmartEtailing is the leading provider of website marketing solutions and data integration to the specialty bicycle industry. The company’s tools and technologies along with the recent acquisition of Harvest Retail Marketing’s suite of custom design services provides turnkey marketing and sales solutions to meet the specialty retailer’s and their suppliers, business goals toward success.
 
SmartEtailing updates and adds nearly 10,000 brand products monthly to its catalog library making it the largest content database of bicycle products in the world. Other services developed by SmartEtailing include Buy Local Now which enables brands to link online customers to local stores, Supplier Sync, technology that displays warehouse inventory on retailer’s websites for expanded selection, and increased sales, and MAP Protection Service that regulates and protects MAP pricing among dealers and suppliers. For more information, visit www.smartetailing.com.
 
ABOUT ORIS Intel
ORIS Intel, the leader in channel enforcement solutions for manufacturers and brand owners, helps monitor and enforce price policies such as minimum advertised price (MAP). PROWL, ORIS Intel’s Software as a Service (SaaS) application assists manufacturers in proactively managing their channels, streamlines the monitoring process and links multiple points of data into one resource. PROWL increases margins in support of delivering a great brand experience for consumers and drives sustainable revenue growth with trusted partners. For more information, visit www.orisintel.com.

23 COMMENTS

  1. “Those at the end of the line” should be the only ones manufacturers cater to. People want the stuff available to order online and delivered straight to the home. Same thing with auto dealerships, just skip the middleman altogether, its a win win.

      • This is the route that the industry is going. It’s surprising that it hasn’t already. Aside from cars, what else do you see out there that isn’t direct. Things change, and shops will need to find a way to evolve. If they were a reputable shop with solid service, they will have the overhead of bringing bikes in removed, allowing them to focus on service.

        If you’ve worked in a shop, you’ll know that service is the largest source of income. There will also still be accessory/apparel/workshop/nutrition sales.. and so on.

        Things like this will always continue to happen, and it’s up to dealers to figure out how to thrive in a new marketplace. Typesetting and Letterpress fizzled when digital printing stepped into the picture, and the world kept on turning. Yes, people that didn’t evolve were left jobless, but an entirely new industry was created. I’m not saying it’s fair to any specific individual, but things change, and it’s the same for any industry.

    • I kind of disagree. I’ve thought about ordering a bike online, but the first thing I would do would be to take it to my LBS and give them some money to go over it and make sure it was assembled and setup correctly.

  2. I wonder if retailers will end up being showrooms and assembly centres for the bike brands? Even a case where all stock is supplied on consignment by the manufacturer and the retail shop owner just takes care of shop rent, wages, daily expenses, but doesn’t own the bike capital. Then at the end of the season the shop just has a commitment to sell off the display bikes to pay the manufacturer. There could be some good benefits to the dealer. Ie, rather than having to stock multiple sizes of key models and not stocking high end bikes (because they can’t afford to), they could just have 1 example of each model combined with a fitting system to determine the size the customer needs. The shop then focuses on selling it’s services more such as fitting and maintenance. I can see this (online selling by the manufacturer) being a path to the dealer just earning a token commission for being a middleman. The big brands are offering full margin to the dealers now, but for how long? It doesn’t need to be all negative, but is probably a transition to a very different business model for retailers. Personally I don’t want to go to a shop to pick up my bike as I would assemble it myself, but many people would want the shop to build it if they don’t know how, especially if that included their final bike fitting adjustments for the $100 fit they have been sold.

    What do others think?

    • I wish the new car industry would follow this model, more or less. I want to go to the dealer (bike or car) test for fit and ride, then go online and order what I want.

      • I don’t know what the American obsession with car lots is. It requires lots of unnecessary risk, capital investment, overhead, price volatility, etc, just on hoping that the buyer makes an impulse buy.

        The issue being that bikes stocking bikes to sell can’t stock everything for test rides as it is, so if they need to display and offer test rides, is there really that much less capital investment? There’s always people who place high value in test-rides, although I don’t know why because bikes feel completely different when you swap out contact points and tires.

  3. As a bike shop coowner I find this project very promising. As a bike messenger, who is often forced to run his bike on a low budget I can fully relate to people who buy their stuff cheap online. This approach might be a third alternative, get your advice in the brick and mortar shop, and decide unhurriedly at home.

  4. I don’t understand this half-assed direct sales approach that they and a few others are taking. What advantage does the customer get from having to go to a dealer to pick up the bike? They shop assembles it? Great, the dealer keeps some margin, I have to make a trip to the shop, and bonus, I get a bike that’s assembled wrong. But hey, at least I didn’t get a test ride or any cost savings.

    seems like this ‘third alternative’ is the worst of both options.

    • It makes it so you don’t have to drive to the store twice. Once to go see that they don’t have it and have them special order it for you, and a week later they get around to actually placing the order.

  5. I don’t understand that sale model. With a direct sale model customers who want a professionnal mechanic to do the building can still ask their LBS about it and use the bike shop as the delivery address.

    It is done frequently in other industries. That’s how people do when they order new car tires onlines and don’t want to deal with swapping the tires on the rims

  6. Here’s why this idea is meh at best. If I want to buy a Fuji, I can probably hop on PerformanceBike right now and find it for a discount under MSRP. And I get free returns if i’m dumb and order the wrong size. So as long as you can still buy Fuji’s at a place like PB, why would I bother with going through a normal Fuji LBS with this program?

    • Here’s why: not everybody lives near a PB, and most current model year bikes are required to be built by a dealer per the agreement with the manufacturer, for liability reasons. Also, MSRP and MAP are two different things; it’s not uncommon to find smaller Fuji dealers selling at or close to the minimum.

  7. As a shop employee I wonder what the big manufacturers would do about warranty issues. As of right now almost all bike warranties are void if not assembled by an authorized dealer, and rightly so I believe. True assembling a bike can seem a relatively straightforward task. But how many consumers are going to to properly torque a seatpost on a carbon frame? Same with stem bolts, top caps……..? Not mention adjusting the derraileurs and brakes properly. “Hmmm? What’s this screw do? I’ll give it a twist. Didn’t seem to do anything. ” “well sir that was your low limit screw and when you turned it you allowed your rear derailleur to go too far and slam into your spokes ripping your derraileur off, breaking six of your 20 spokes and causing you to crash.” But you wanted to do it yourself and now you’re screwed. I could go on and on but the point is 90% of cyclists can’t even change a tube let alone properly assemble a bicycle out of a box. If manufacturers like Trek and Specialized want to keep their reputation for high quality bikes they need dealers with quality service depts.

    • “bike warranties are void if not assembled by an authorized dealer, and rightly so I believe. . True assembling a bike can seem a relatively straightforward task. But how many consumers are going to to properly torque a seatpost on a carbon frame? Same with stem bolts, top caps……..?”

      That’s absurd. A shop having done initial assembly has virtually no bearing on whether bolts are torqued and derailleurs adjusted properly months or years down the track, so why should it have any effect on warranty? Warranty relates to manufacturing faults, and has zip to do with whether my brake or shifter cables stretched, or I adjusted my seat height to account for the different stack height of my winter shoes, or changed the limit screw setting because I put on a different wheelset.
      I’m not sure how the law works in the US, but in Europe and Australia at least there are statutory warranty provisions that apply, and can’t be abrogated due to the distribution model.
      You can “go on and on” if you like about how clueless you think your customers are, but in reality, most people who pay you to service their bike are doing so not because they _can’t_ do it themselves, but because they _can’t be bothered_ to do it themselves.

    • Kudos Dylan, and well

      While I feel for the mechanics out there that are concerned abt their paychecks based on the advent of all online, it’s a little late in the game for the collective response that all bike shop mechanics are pros; only they know best… it’s that same rhetoric thats plagued shops for decades – e.g. exclusionary , snobs, etc. Bikes get better every day, and the average consumer is more apt to replace than repair.

      The market is speaking folks – clearly: “I don’t want to buy a bike in a store….”

      How quickly do you expect to see that same “market” rush to a bike shop for service? If you have a solid Servcr customer base, now’s the time for a gut check and maybe free BBQ.

  8. I sort of do this now. The LBS I use doesn’t have a lot of inventory on the pricier models so I look at the models on the manufactures website and tell them what I would like ordered. I am not handy with a wrench so I need the LBS to “dial it in” after it arrives. It also builds the relationship with the LBS which I think pays off down the road with maintenance.

    I can see the positives, negatives, and the “meh” from all sides depending on your comfort with a wrench and several other factors. No one buying format is going to work for everybody.

    • This is exactly how I bought my last bike. They didn’t have the color/size I wanted, so we sat down at their computer and placed the order from their “dealer” site. Doesn’t almost everyone do this who knows *exactly* what they want, and not what happens to be sitting on the LBS’ showroom floor? Not sure how this really differs. After I purchased my bike, they assembled it “for free” as part of the purchase, so there was no need to specifically stipulate that the bike had to be assembled by a professional mechanic.

      Meh, I don’t see what the big deal is. Only direct-ship to consumer is actually different.

  9. As a Fuji dealer, I’m ok with this…

    If a customer decides to purchase a from Fuji directly, I’ll still offer the same service as if the bike is on the floor or I special ordered it for them. However, for my customers, this is a losing situation if they buy online. To sweeten a deal, I may throw in a few things and I might discount the bike, but if they buy online they’ll pay full price and get no additional products.

    My hope is that this blows up for Fuji. They offer great bikes at a great price already.

    Hey Anna T and Steve

  10. This is a “trend” that is better labeled Phase 1.

    I’d argue that these online orders to dealers will suffice for a while. That is until it no longer makes fiscal sense, which is likely just around the corner.

    And the almost worn out argument that you need to get the shop to build the bike is crazy. It assume every shop is staffed with a high end detail oriented mechanic that gives a hoot.

    Um. Ok.

    Based on the folks I’ve met from Beelin3 represents a fr better option. I expect once they’re (Bee) well staffed throughout the nation, manufacturers will be partnering with them vs the tired retail store.

    • J,
      If the companies start going to another company for the assembly of their bikes, shops will begin to drop them fast.

      I understand, not every rider needs a bike shop, however, there are A LOT of people who do need a shop (whether they know it or not).

      A bike is different that other items found online. Regardless of who assembles the bikes, it still needs to be assemble. For example, my wife is pretty resourceful. She found out how to hook up an entire sound system, XBox One, PS4, DVD, TV, Tuner, programmed the remote, sync’d all the YouTube-Netflix-Hulu-etc accounts to the system herself. She attempted the project only because it required no tools.

      There are a lot of customers that like bike shops. It is their barber shop, they hang out and tell fishing stories. They like to look, touch, weight, listen to, try on, and then ultimately, purchase. Part of it isn’t because they got the best price, they bought it from the guy they ride with, had a beer with, or went to his relative’s funeral.

      Once bike companies forget about that relationship, their sells will drop. Not everything should cut out the middleman.

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