Some specialist dealers say they will get the most out of it

ASHEVILLE, NC (BRAIN) — Kent Cranford, the owner of the Motion Makers bike store here, said the more he thought about Specialized’s new direct-to-consumer channel for bikes, the more he accepted.

“I was quite upset at first, but talking to my staff about it, we know they’ve already been shipping D2C with gear since about 2001, and then kids’ bikes and frames over the past couple of years. three years and we never feel like we’ve lost a sale or had to deal with a customer who bought that way,” he told BRAIN on Thursday.

Specialized is probably the most expensive product on the bike market right now and if anyone is willing to pay that price why wouldn’t they want the premium service that comes with it. It’s not like they discount because of the lack of a middleman like YT or Canyon.

“My biggest concern is their lack of understanding of our cost of doing business and the margin squeeze they are putting us through,” he said.

Dan Hughes said the program could be a challenge for his company, Lawrence, Kansas’s Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, which has been a Specialized dealer for more than 25 years.

“We’re trying to figure out how to build on it and use it to connect with our customers,” he told BRAIN on Thursday. “The energy we would expend wringing our hands and gritting our teeth would be better spent figuring out how to make it work for us.”

Hughes said Sunflower, which is a Tier 1 specialty dealer, is prepared to accept the specialty delivery option, which gives dealers 75% of the markup they would get from selling a bike in their store. Sunflower already has a “nascent” delivery service, he said.

Several other dealers BRAIN spoke to this week asked to remain anonymous, in part because one of their biggest concerns about the new program is whether there will be enough bikes for everyone and who will get them. Making public comments critical of Specialized might not help them get the bikes they want.

“I‘glass half full man,’ one said. ‘I’ll say that’s good for me. Specializing in his story, he conducted business in a way that many people don’t feel good about. But they make great products and you kind of have to follow them.

When something like this happens, guess what? You have to kind of understand… It’s us retailers who are getting kicked in the teeth, so are you going to sit around and keep getting kicked in the teeth, or are you going to change? “, he added.

Another retailer said he was curious how much inventory Specialized will allocate to the direct-to-consumer channel. “It’s an interesting time to do it: availability is already low, and now they’re adding another channel. I’m already having trouble getting inventory of bikes,” he said.

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