While other mountain bike manufacturers have been investing in consumer-direct channels, Guerrilla Gravity (GG) has introduced a somewhat novel “Shop Direct” channel: basically, order any GG bike from any shop, whether they are a dealer or not, and get some level of support from that shop.
I completed a long term review of the GG Megatrail last season. Their bikes are handmade in Denver and are built to high standards for serious trail riding and abuse. GG is a small company who makes great bikes, but understandably it is difficult to order one, demo one, or have one built, unless you go directly through GG.
GG President Will Montague sent me some information about the new program. While travelling the country on demo tours, he said they noticed how many mountain bike communities still utilize their local bike shops as the hub for bike purchases and support (a great thing) instead of all of the many other ways you can get a bike these days. They also recognized the utility of purchasing online, so they wanted to create a program that would combine the ease of ordering online while supporting local shops. The Shop Direct model was born, somewhat of a novel concept since you can now order a Guerilla Gravity bike from any dealer.
So, how does that work? Per the press release that was sent to me:
- The rider walks into their favorite shop and lets them know they’d like to pick up one of our bikes.
- The shop will walk through the options with them based on their preferences (every shop is a little different for their favorite components)
- The shop will take payment for the total amount of the rider’s custom GG bike.
- After that, the shop calls us up and gets the bike ordered.
- When the bike’s ready (typically 1-3 weeks) we’ll ship it to the shop.”
Unlike a standard dealer model that we are all familiar with (your Trek dealer carries Trek bikes, for example, and has a specific agreement for parts, sales, margins, components, accessories, support, and many other things) the Shop Direct idea doesn’t require this type of dealer agreement. They just order your bike, and help you get things together.
What’s important here is that Guerrilla Gravity is re-inventing the wheel so-to-speak, leveraging their small business brand to market their products to any and every shop, sans restrictions, and that may mean a larger market paradigm shift down the road. And, according to the information they sent over to us, they discussed this idea with shops before going forward with it.
The big picture here is that Guerilla Gravity wants to grow, but they seem committed to putting the purchaser in a position where they can still buy a bike from a shop (and all the benefits therein), without ordering a bike online and hoping for the best. Shops get to keep customers, relationships get made, and ultimately, it fuels local capitalism and lends itself to a more favorable and personal experience than many internet sales, direct-to-consumer models, and some of the newer manufacturer-to-shop channels. Without having exclusivity, or having to stock a certain amount of bikes, local shops reduce financial risk and can get a bike to you about as fast as they can order one from larger companies.
Best of all–Guerilla Gravity bikes are handmade in the good ole US of A, and their customer service is a lot easier to deal with than a bike that’s built outside of the country, especially if you have a warranty issue.
Guerrilla Gravity also has two other ways to buy a bike: the Rider Direct method, and something relatively new they termed “Outpost.” Rider Direct is the way GG has been doing things up until now: customers come into their shop and talk to Will or Matt, order a fully-custom bike using their impressive online bike builder, or call up GG and talk about what they want. They’ve built and shipped bikes all over the world this way (and have earned some coveted local business awards this past year for they way they run things). Outpost, on the other hand, is for shops who want to kick it up a notch and actually stock a demo fleet so that customers can finally get their hands on these sweet steeds without having to rely on internet reviews or hope that the “Crush Bus” comes to a nearby demo venue.
As someone who is engaged in the bike business year-round, there are a lot of brands I would love to see in my garage if the funds allowed. Guerrilla Gravity is one of those, and if it catches on, I think that this creative Shop Direct idea will have other companies following suit, including shops outside of the US.