Having announced to its US accounts an online sales platform, Trek UK has today confirmed to BikeBiz that a similar click and collect system will eventually be rolled out here.
President John Burke announced on Monday that Trek will begin to sell direct to consumers via its website from September. The bikes will however be re-routed via the customer's local retailer who, as part of their set up and service, will receive commission (typically around 80% of the retailer's usual margin) on the sale.
Burke said that setting up the click and collect style service was the brand's "largest investment" to date.
“It’s been a massive investment,” Burke said. “One of my father’s business maxims was, ‘we play offense.’ So, we sat around and watched the online thing and that’s been OK — it’s been a great learning experience. Now it’s time for us to play.”
Dubbed Trek connect, the platform at present is only set for a US roll out, though Trek UK today confirmed to BikeBiz that they have been briefed and a similar service will eventually be delivered worldwide.
Chris Garrison, Trek's UK marketing spokesperson told BikeBiz: "The objective of Trek Connect is to make retailers more competitive in a landscape where currently, people who want to shop online most likely won't buy a Trek, so retailers are missing out on those customers. That's simply because they can't buy Trek online. So this is a way to connect the dots. People can shop online when they have time to do so, and now they have the option to shop for Trek and Bontrager products. But it brings customers into Trek retailers, and many of those customers might be new to the store."
As part of his delivery to US retailers, Burke also touted the Connect platform as an excellent platform on which to sell to female cyclists who might otherwise not fancy a trip to the local bike shop. Burke suggested that inside five years he expects sales to women to amount to half of all turnover.
Though Connect is touted as a new means to access otherwise lost sales, Trek is not planning to do a huge volume in the early days. Referencing Chain Reaction, Canyon and Wiggle in his presentation, Burke insisted that online can't be ignored.
A customer buying online will have no choice but to opt in to a delivery via the dealer. The chosen retailer will then receive a service commission equal to their normal margin, minus an estimation of costs carried by Trek and avoided by the retailer during the transaction. This includes the cost of carrying the inventory, shipping and sales.
Bikes will ship direct from Trek's warehouse, with live chat consultations with customers ensuring that the correct size and spec is delivered.
The site will also make suggestions for which accounts local to the end-user already have stock available to view in the flesh.
In welcome news, Burke also announced a 'service department, education and certification' program. Service, he said, accounts for just seven per cent of revenue for most shops, but produces nearly a quarter of gross profits. Therefore, increasing the volume of service business is touted as a key to survivability and ultimately profits too.
To back this, Trek is set to build a 5,000 square foot service education centre at its Wisconsin factory, with classes beginning in January. Around 1,000 people per year are expected to train within the facility.
Bicycle Retailer and Industry News has further background on the US side of Trek's announcement.