Upgrade sales manager Matt Killick speaks to Rebecca Morley about the IBD 100 programme, which offers 100 products from its catalogue exclusively to IBDs.
“We wanted to come up with a range of products that were unique in a lot of ways for IBDs, as it is getting more and more difficult for the IBDs to compete with online retailers,” says sales manager Matt Killick, explaining Upgrade’s IBD 100 programme. It is an initiative the distributor thought up in which independent bike dealers are exclusively offered 100 products from the Upgrade catalogue.
“Mainly they are different products, rather than just different colours of products,” he continues. “It just ensures that there’s a point of difference for the IBDs or chain stores compared to the online-only customers, whether that’s Lezyne products, whether that’s unique pumps that we’ve actually made from the brand directly. Similarly, with DMR, we were able to come up with some custom colours, a grip and some pedals that aren’t available to anybody else. It’s about giving something back, we’re trying to continually support the IBDs as things change in the retail market.”
The IBD 100 programme was officially launched in August of last year. “That was when we actually had it all up and running,” he explains, but it also made an appearance at COREbike last year. This was so Upgrade could receive feedback from its dealers, suppliers and sales teams. Killick says: “We asked some questions, wanted to know if dealers thought it was a good idea and we had some very positive feedback from the retailers that we spoke to. It took a bit of time getting the list of products together, the products that were exclusive. We needed time for that to be made, and we also had to do a little bit of IT work internally so we could get our website working correctly, but essentially it was about August when we got it working.” He says the feedback in general on the programme has been ‘very positive’, as IBDs can sell profitable and desirable products with confidence.
Despite the current retail climate, Killick says there was a lot of positivity at COREbike this year too, where Upgrade displayed a section of products across its brands that make up the IBD 100 range. “I think it’s difficult, obviously as we all know with the uncertainty of the next couple of months, but I think there was a lot of positivity at the show,” he says. “Out of the past three or four years, I’d say it was one of the most positive COREbikes that we’ve had. There’s still obviously some trepidation from a lot of people, but overall with the products that we have and the brands that we had there, people were very excited about what we can do in the coming 12 months, in general, but also the IBD section that we had there.
“We were actually able to tell people about the programme, as a ‘thing’ now. It’s all out there, people know and recognise what the logo is across the website on those products that are listed as IBD 100.” Will it always remain as 100 products? “It will be loosely 100, it will be ever-evolving is the best way of saying it,” Killick says. “It might suddenly grow to 150 if we’ve got a new brand for instance, but loosely it will be around that number.
“Most brands have products in the range,” he continues. “Fusion Clothing, in particular, is only available to IBD brands. Fusion Clothing will be a very different proposition for the retailer because there’s no pre-ordering, there are no seasonal buy-ins needed, it’s buy one, sell one. There’s no commitment needed in any sizable amount from the retailer, so it’s very unique and something we’re trying to get people’s heads around really, because they’re so used to buying clothing in a certain way. Having to only buy one bibshort and one jersey is alien to some people. But it will come I’m sure, we just need to keep pushing it and getting the brand name out there.”
Other products in the IBD 100 range include offerings from Lezyne, DMR, TRP and Challenge, and dealers can view IBD 100 products when they log on to Upgrade’s website as the trade, with products identified as IBD 100 with a logo in their listing. There is a mixture of products across the brands, Killick says, which was deliberate in order to make sure there is a range of products available. “We didn’t want to just pigeonhole it to the two brands of Lezyne and DMR, we wanted to make sure it was across the board really,” he says.
Rory Hitchens, marketing manager at Upgrade Bikes, adds: “IBD 100 is supporting the independent dealer with a range of products that bring about unique conversations with their customers. We think it is important for dealers to develop a point of difference and Upgrade supports this with a unique selection of key lines from our top-selling brands.
“It is also a chance for Upgrade to introduce brands like Fusion Clothing that sit best in an in-store environment and with a limited dealer base where brands can be exclusively promoted. IBD 100 also lends itself well to high-tech products like Lauf’s True Grit carbon gravel frameset where the dealers’ time invested in a prospective customer absolutely needs to return with the sale and usually a custom-build.
“Upgrade looks forward to introducing more brand options for their dealers in 2019 and building a closer working relationship with their IBD 100 dealers via their sales and marketing teams.”