Studentwheels.com still exists and is still endorsed by the National Union of Students (3.2 million members). However, its business model is being massively expanded thanks to the tie up with National Magazines, publisher of such titles as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Good Housekeeping.
Sites such as cosmowheels.co.uk are up and running right now but the interactive ‘Yellow Pages’ part of all the sites don’t come online until 1st October.
Each site – heavily promoted in all NatMags magazines from the October issues onwards – is based around the same database of car and bike models. Most brands and models have been loaded into the Wheels Link database. Consumers search on make, model or price and then drill down to a selection of local dealers who have the bike in question. IBDs who pay the £50 a month listing fee can upload their own prices, and are emailed with customer requests directly.
All IBDs are listed on the Wheels Link sites but those who choose not to pay the listing fee do not receive direct referrals. Instead, Wheel Link sales representatives will call the IBDs and tell them they have a selection of hot prospects, would they now like to be listed.
Studentwheels.com started as a B2C site, and planned to sell bikes and cars – and other wheeled products – direct to consumers. However, resistance from car and bike brands led to a rethink. The site was relaunched as a platform for finding dealers, with Studentwheels making its money from listing fees.
The link up with NatMags brings in many more potential consumers.
Simon Tucker of Wheels Link Ltd. said:
“This is all aimed at mass market consumers, not enthusiasts. People still like to buy from dealers. Many people research their purchases online but then seek out a flesh and blood shop for the final step.”
The Wheels Link sites will also contain news stories, some of which may make it into the partner magazines.
Each magazine will have new ‘wheeled’ sections, called cosmowheels.co.uk and so forth. The sections will major on cars but will also feature bicycles, ramping up cycling’s exposure in high quality mainstream magazines.
Eight sites will be rolled out before Christmas.
Tel: 0117 944 5535.