Mavic discusses direct distribution, product servicing and expansion - BikeBiz

Mavic discusses direct distribution, product servicing and expansion

Marketing manager Alex Coventry explains why, though based in France, it is no harder for UK business to carry Mavic
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Give us a brief history of Mavic:
Mavic was established in 1889, winning the Tour de France for the first time in 1834 with Antone Magne on the revolutionary Dura aluminium rim. Mavic developed the first ‘System’ wheel set in 1994 and then introduced the revolutionary Helium and Cosmic wheelsets in 1996.
Mavic is now a global cycle brand manufacturing both bike systems and riders’ equipment for men and women across the full spectrum of cycling including road, MTB, tri and track.

It seems like the clothing and footwear business is increasingly important to Mavic – how have sales been since the brand diversified?
The two key product areas for Mavic are wheels and soft goods. We have a dedicated in-house design and product development team with a strong history in cycle clothing. Mavic started off as the licensee for Adidas, manufacturing and developing our own products under their brand, though we decided three years ago to focus on our own brand. We now have an excellent range across all price points, from the highlight £225 Zxellium yellow pro shoe down to the £50 Espoir jersey.

Where is Mavic gear designed?
Mavic is based at Annecy in the French Alps, with all our product development and testing being done from there. The riding, both road and MTB, is amazing with very varied terrain on the doorstep. Our UK office is in Frimley, Surrey.
Mavic has tried a few innovative approaches to wheel design and spoke lacing – where do these ideas come from?
Mavic does not copy existing product, and everything we do uses proprietary design. We have a very strong development team based in Annecy in the French Alps committed to both lab bench testing and on the road evaluation.
The strong desire to push the limits coupled to a French individuality have led us to some amazing technologies from the idea of the System wheel with the Helium, right through to the Wheel Tyre System with the R-SYS SLR, as a prime example.

For 2011 it seems Mavic has upped its game in the tyre market – what tech have you worked into the line this year?
In order to develop and test wheels you need to understand tyres. A very small change in a tyre can make a very big change in the perceived performance of a product. We are focusing on the Grip Link and Power Link concepts, placing different compounds and structures to benefit the different characteristics required for front and rear tyres. We are now also able to design tyres specific to the performance criteria of our wheels.

Why go direct to retail?
The big myth of ‘direct distribution’ is that it allows a manufacturer to make more money. That is simply not true. The cost involved in having an established direct distribution service is the same as that of any UK distributor. The difference is that we are fully focused on selling and promoting one brand of product. By moving to direct distribution we gain full control as to how and where our brand is represented. This ensures that our retail partners are fully trained and can provide a level of sales support and after sales service that is correct for a high end, high tech range.

Has the move benefited business?
It has improved Mavic’s brand position in the marketplace, and has allowed our retail partners to rely on Mavic as a solid performer with its product ranges.

What are your expansion plans?
We will continue to push the boundaries with our existing ranges and introduce new ones only where we can find real technological improvements.
Where can dealers have Mavic product serviced?
We have a UK Mavic Service Centre that provides full warranty and repair service with a target 48-hour turnaround from receipt to despatch. We also have a highly experienced team on the phone who should be able to help with tech queries.

Are you seeking more UK partners?
We are always looking for the right retail partners for the full Mavic product range. We have strong selection criteria, but most quality UK IBD retailers should be able to meet our terms.
One thing we’re particularly proud of is the exceptional 'MP3 product protection programme', which offers our leading retailers a fantastic selling point, and offers our end users unparalleled peace of mind in their use of our product.

Where do deliveries now come from and is next day service available?
We deliver directly from Mavic’s central warehouse near Lyon in France. We are able to offer a 48-hour service from this warehouse. While this is not a 24hr service, by using the central stock that services the whole of Europe we are able to guarantee much higher stock levels without having to rely on deliveries from a smaller stock in the UK.

How can UK dealers get in touch?
The main office contact details are gbcustomer.servcies@mavic.com or give us a call on 01276 404870. We can then direct any enquiries in the right direction.

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