SALT LAKE CITY, UT (BRAIN)—Backcountry.com has thrown the switch on its new bicycling channel, Chainlove.com.
Chainlove.com is a retail site that sells high-end bikes and bike gear (one item per day) at prices 50-80 percent below retail. Every night at midnight (MST), the Chainlove crew launches a new discounted deal on the site. As soon as one deal sells out, a new item is launched until it too is sold out.
Chainlove is the bike-aholic's version of Backcountry.com's two hugely successful one-deal-at-a-time (ODAT) sites, SteepandCheap.com and WhiskeyMilitia.com. Like its brothers, Chainlove highlights the item up for sale with a large product photo, detailed specs and the slashed price. Since each deal is only featured until it sells out, you can track the remaining availability and the sell-through rate as well, so you always know how fast you need to act before the deal is done.
Chainlove vendors favor the ODAT model because the one-deal-at-a-time set-up moves their quality products without harming brand equity. It gives them a retail outlet that doesn't showcase their items in an off-price print catalog to sit around for months and months looking pathetic and unloved. The limited-time availability forces people to act, so the gear sells lightening fast. This keeps the product pipes clear and reduces retail backup and overstock.
"The bike industry has been dominated by off-price retailers for years," said John Thomas, manager of the Bike Merchandise Division at Backcountry.com. "While Chainlove sells sick high-end gear at huge discounts, we keep a reign on the deals, so they're only available, and only available online, for a limited time. On Chainlove, you have to act fast to get the goods or you miss out. We present a value proposition for bike junkies, and they scramble for closeout gear. We're having a party, not a funeral."
Shoppers can sign up for e-mail, desktop, browser, IM bots and RSS alerts.
Backcountry is trying to position the site to avoid criticism from independent bicycle dealers, who have already voiced concerns about the site.