Leisure Lakes has added a sixth store to its network: as the etail back-end for madformountainbiking.com, an extremely content-rich webzine.
Tony Harris, CEO and Co-founder of the Madforsport.com network, says this link-up with an existing independent retailer is the quickest and cleanest way of setting up a credible e-commerce facility:
We believe our retail partners are the best in their sectors and we're building some really strong clicks and mortar partnerships. We provide expertise in content, community building, e-commerce and marketing. Marry this with the years of retailing, buying and merchandising experience of specialist retailers and you have the perfect partnership."
Madforsport.com gets a cut of the revenue generated by Leisure Lakes via the website. On the preview site, the shop section has no branding for Leisure Lakes but this will change once the commerce part of the site is up and running.
Madformountainbiking.com well christen it Mad because madformountainbiking.com is too long! will play on the fact that their retail partner is a bricks and mortar shop.
A major advange of the Madformountainbiking shop is that its not a pureplay, said Moira Macintyre, IT and admin manager at Leisure Lakes.
Visitors to the existing Leisure Lakes website will soon be diverted to the shop at Mad.
Leisure Lakes has shops in Preston, Cheltenham, Manchester, Nottingham and Daventry.
When it goes live, the online shop will carry an extensive range of mountain bike product, including, bikes, accessories, clothing and equipment. All the featured products will carry in-depth descriptions and colour photography.
There will be no linkage between editorial coverage of products and the shop. On the content side of the site, other IBDs are mentioned in the shop directory.
The tie-in with Mad is a coup for Tim Noy, co-owner of Leisure Lakes. He said:
"The madforsport.com team shares our passion for the sport. Over the last year we have seen significant growth in online shopping and we believe that madformountainbiking.com will offer our customers something very special.
"We are very keen to be at the forefront of the online shopping revolution
and see our partnership with madformountainbiking.com as helping us to be there. It also offers our customers, many of whom live miles from our existing shops, a fast and efficient service."
Madforsport.com claim their network of sites for adrenalin junkies will be
the UK's biggest web-based network of destination sites for active outdoor sport enthusiasts.
The common themes of online shopping, holidays, classifieds and auctions will run throughout the entire network, says a companmy statement, with the individual sites providing users with everything they need to know to get more from their sport. All sites will offer a full race report and results service, live coverage of major events, news, tips, and bulletin boards.
madformountainbiking.com will be the first of the Madforsport sites to open, with madforsailing.com to follow by the end of September.
Mad is aiming to start grass roots awareness of the site by sponsoring the final rounds of the Southern Area Mountain Bike Series (SAMS) and the Northern Area Mountain Bike Series (NAMBS).
These two events at Checkendon, near Reading (SAMS) and Gisburn Forest
(NAMBS), near Tosside, tie in with the launch of Mad on 2/3 September 2000.
Mads editor, Malcolm Fawcett, said:
"We're delighted to be supporting both the SAMS and NAMBS events at our launch. These events reflect our interest in the race scene and give us direct contact with our audience throughout the country.
"Madformountainbiking.com will be at all the key events next year and it's
only right that we begin by supporting events where our users race.
"Both the NAMBS and SAMS events have done great things for our sport over the years. They offer a great opportunity for young riders to get into the sport and are the real lifeblood of the sport. I hope that our support and coverage will help to make racing more accessible to all riders."
Fawcett says there are no immediate plans to launch a cycling sister site to the mountain biking one.
"We'll evolve slowly," he said. "A cycling site is just in my head at the moment."
Fawcett worked for Ultrasport for four years in the early 1990s and was the brand manager for Girvin and ProFlex. He later became a teacher for four years before becoming a journalist on Maximum Mountain Bike. He has also freelanced for MBR, Cycling Today and the CTC magazine.