Action sports B2B site to launch soon

Can a business-to-business website ever be made to work in the fractious bicycle trade?
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BroForm.com, the e-commerce marketplace for action sports companies has hired Steve Boehmke to head up its bike trade division.

Boehmke is a well-known figure in the US and international bike industries, having held marketing, product development, public relations and

race departments of Shimano and Rockshox. His last job was communications director at Rockshox (which, incidentally, has just relocated and has reduced its first quarter losses to $3.3m).

Boehmke is Bike Category Director at BroForm.com, responsible for bike trade supplier and buyer accounts, and marketing and PR. He will also be developing trade-only internet-based sales and service B2B programmes to entice bike trade companies to become members.

BroForm is positioning itself to become the online service site that brings the action sports industry together to take care of each other, conduct business and share information. The bike category is projected to quickly develop into one of the most successful divisions, says Boehmke.

"I am pumped to bring my experience in the bike business to such a cool company as BroForm. Employees in the sporting industries deserve this service."

BroForm.com is currently in the beta testing stage and joins industry-specific sites bikemaker.com, Bikexpo.com and bicyclesb2b.com in the race to become the first B2B site in the bicycle trade to actually work.

B2B sites in the US were hit hard by the pre-summer devaluation in IT stocks and up-till-then high-flying B2B sites such as Commerce One, VerticalNet, PurchasePro, FreeMarkets and Ariba were nicknamed boom to bust sites.

Mono-industry B2B websites came off even worse in the mauling of IT stocks. Sites such as eMerge Interactive (cattle), Neoforma (medical supplies) and Sciquest (lab equipment) were almost wiped out overnight as the financial markets woke up to the lacklustre short-term profit potential of industry-specific B2B players.

However, this shouldnt stop dot.coms from trying and the first to successfully offer a service that is genuinely and universally of use in terms of time and cost savings may win out.

Boehmke is US-based and has an impressive contacts list so may score over the other B2B sites which are in Taiwan or, in the case of bikemaker.com (currently on hold), in Ireland.

www.bicyclesurplus.com is the closest thing the US bike trade has to a successful B2B model which is odd considering the US has first mover advantage on all things internet.

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