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December 15, 2017
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  • Sean

    Bike exchange might find themselves being the big loser in all this.

    • fat coppi

      Yes – sounds as though it will provide another platform for retailers.

    • Dave Rome

      BikeExchange’s core business is as a stock directory in bikes, whereas Amazon is in easily shippable goods.

      While both are marketplaces, Amazon is a different business and not setup to send business to physical stores, rather it purely transacts online. The majority of big bike brands have dealer area protections in place and cannot ship bikes or associated products, which means Amazon is of no use. Search on Amazon US for Specialized, Trek or Giant to see what I mean.

      • Sean

        Thanks Dave, i’m happy to be wrong in this case :-)

        • Dave Rome

          All good. Gave me a chance to clarify a detail the article was lacking. :)

  • I effectively made this comment in the “Tubes / LBS vs Online – discussion”.

    “We also expect Amazon to improve the efficiency of Australian logistics both through driving customer expectations on delivery, but also by putting more volume into the network that will allow investment in capacity that can improve speed and consistency of delivery and drive down costs,”

    But I think it can also help smaller shops, and bike brands even importers if they are smart and get on the front foot.

    Eg, if you are a big enough importer, can you set up distribution centres in your biggest markets (Sydney / Melbourne, possibly Brisbane / Adelaide / Perth) to house stock (do they do this already???). When your LBS needs a part, you use same day / next day delivery / etc to get the part to them. Or something like that.

    • Dave Rome

      Valid point. Giant Bicycles already do this to some extent with popular stock, as does Monza Imports (they have a small Sydney-based warehouse, mainly for moto gear).

      I do believe the industry is in a phase of consolidation, and not expansion. That said, out sourcing warehousing and distribution could be an answer in future.

      • As I said in the Tubes post, the bike industry model in Australia is broken, and I largely don’t see the need for distributors in Australia (at least in the current form, with their current levels of servicing both shops and end consumers).

        There just needs to be someone smart enough (ie not me) to work out how all those small brands from all around the world can effectively get their product to where it needs to be, as cost efficiently as possible. Hopefully I’ve worded that to be as open to a whole new paradigm (bingo) as possible.

        The car industry / pharmaceuticals take the same approach with parts. Drop your car off into get serviced in the morning. It needs a new part, it will be there by 2-3pm, in enough time to be fitted for you to walk out of the garage at 5pm. Have a not so common prescription, a chemist can have something for you in an hr or two… Go back a year or two and it would’ve been a day or two.

  • AlMac

    You can end up paying more online if you don’t shop it around. Plenty of bicycle stuff on Amazon, Wiggle and CRC that is more expensive than buying from a local retailer (usually an online one). Cannot believe how much free marketing Amazon is getting in the media with the catch lines about the amazing prices and super discounts. I think that is a bigger risk to other retailers than the actual prices Amazon charges – the perception about what great value it is.

  • zosim

    In Europe at least, Amazon is almost never the online retailer of choice for bike stuff. There is an occasional item that is good value but the big online sellers are a far greater concern for the lbs than Amazon.

    • Wily_Quixote

      I have been buying bike stuff online since the early 2000s. Only once in that time has amazon had something that was cost effective for me to buy,which was a pair of MTB pedals this year.
      This is mainly, I suspect, because of Amazon’s model of partnering with bricks and mortars shops in the US, so prices and postage are uncompetititve when shopping from Australia -if they ship to Australia at all.

      I usually shop wiggle or, increasingly, trekinn/bikeinn for my outdoors equipment.

  • Christopher Jones

    From first-hand experience, overseas Amazon generally do not compete against Wiggle/CRC, Pushys, BikeBug, Bike24 and co. UK and European online bike retailers are flourishing even though Amazon EU has been active for as long as they have.

    All of these online retailers are speciality retailers for cyclists whereas Amazon serves a Mass Market. The cycling market and audience which Amazon and their marketplace seller appeal to are the ‘mum’s and dad’s’ or in other words the less savvy cyclists looking to by a bike or gear for themselves or their family. It is the lower end of the market currently satisfied by supermarkets such as Kmart, Woolworths and BigW.

    In Australia, Amazon may still may a dent if they push money into specific niche areas and compete. For example, Amazon has far more power/money to spend on advertising than most others so if Amazon started cycling specific advertising, it could edge many other retailers.

    The massive inventory however works against Amazon particularly if they hook in their overseas products. Consumers face difficulties searching for and locating the right item, longer delivery times from overseas (sometimes) and items being ‘unavailable in your location’.

    As Amazon can be a ‘goto’ online retailer for everything, in the lower price segments, particularly kids bikes and sub $400 bikes, this can create a shift among general consumers though Amazon first have to establish themselves first and it gives local bike shops a lot of time to react and act.

  • Steel
  • Phil Hubbard

    I can certainly say as working at a retailer which supplies Amazon in America, South America, Canada, Europe and now Australia as well as having our own sites it is certainly a slow start. Another thing to watch out for is that the RRP for a lot of products is generally higher in the UK especially than it is in Oz so you may get a greater range of products which are higher than your standard shop. In general we provide items on Amazon not as a predatory system but more just to give more options than what may typically be available in a territory.

    Especially most distributors shouldn’t feel threatened as most brands will have put contracts in place so that they are the sole distributor in their territory

  • Larry Theobald

    For everything our official suppliers can’t supply I shop around, mostly online though a friendly LBS will help out now and then. I rarely buy anything from Amazon vs the online bike retail sites and when I do delivery time is often inferior to the bike retail sites. Guys like Slater will survive, maybe even thrive while the rest participate in a race-to-the-bottom.

  • Crash Bandicoot

    Sorry but amazons party piece is integration and service not purely price in fact as an American with an amazon dist. Center 30 miles from my front door I can attest they’re often not the cheapest supplier of products but it’s the fact that they’re giving consistency to deliveries and service. Furthermore Amazon represents a tiny fraction of what I buy online cycling related; their apparel is a weak segment of their business in general. In fact outside of Lube and maybe lights almost nothing I buy from Amazon is Cycling related. Bike shops can learn a lot from Amazon; offer good service and pricing transparency and people will buy from you.

  • Krijsh

    Australia doesn’t have the delivery service capability that the US or UK have. That undermines the value of Amazon’s current offering. Together with lack luster pricing, Amazon Australia is a different proposition than the US original.

  • Cruz er

    The big thing that goes unsaid in US retailers is customer service and meeting consumer demands. The big reason Amazon and online markets do well is that they fill a need. That’s marketing 101.

    Sorry to say that many bike shops are simply poor at business and customer service.
    It can be frustrating for experienced cyclists, so imagine how the inexperienced customer feels.

    The brick & mortars created a chasm, ripe for online retailers to exploit. Prices are one large aspect, sure. But just like the mass implosion of Blockbuster Video and others to online streaming, there was huge customer resentment to lack of customer service and price gouging that led to people having no problem leaving the brick & mortars.

    To this day, many bike shops simply do not “get it”.

December 15, 2017
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December 12, 2017