Earlier this summer we told you about Backcountry.com’s one-deal-at-a-time site Chainlove where mountain bikers could find deeply discounted items that sold quickly until they were gone. Based on the success of the site Backcountry is launching another one-deal-at-a-time site for road cycling gear leaving Chainlove as a mountain bike product only site in 2009. Also coming in 2009 is a yet-unnamed site offering high end mountain bike gear at reasonable prices.
Backcountry’s Bike Merchandise Division Manager, John Thomas, admits it has been a bit difficult breaking into the online bicycle retail market:
“In the bike industry, we’re hearing a lot of the same reluctance from vendors that we heard from outdoor brands when we started in business: We’ll lose our dealers, bastardize our brand, kill customer service – but show me an example–in any industry–of a leading brand going online and losing sales overall. Furthermore, relative to other consumer markets, the sporting goods category is still early in the curve of online shopping adoption. The online channel is only going to grow. The customers want you to be online.”
In case you hadn’t noticed it’s still tough to find bikes for sale online with many mountain bike brands prohibiting sales of any of their products online. Let’s hope Backcountry can talk some sense into some of these old-school mountain bike brand managers at Interbike next week!