IRVINE, CA—A new Shimano American online training program went live today expanding its existing program for Di2 and DynaSys products to encompass the component maker’s entire range.
The training, found at www.s-tec.shimano.com, is designed to equip frontline sales and service employees with the knowledge and confidence to promote the brand, said Dave Arnauckas, technical services manager for Shimano’s bike components division.
Arnauckas has spent the past year developing the project in conjunction with Sparc, an Orange County, California, company that also counts Giant, Nielsen Media, Felt and BMC among its clients.
The platform includes seven schools—road, mountain, pavement, SPD, wheels, PRO and retail services—each with categories for product, technology and service. The site rolled out with content provided for XTR, XT, Dura-Ace and mountain bike brake service, and includes video-based training and password-protected forums. New content will be added on a regular basis. Each training program takes about 30 to 50 minutes to complete and employees’ knowledge is tested with a quiz.
Incentives to participate in the program include deeper discounts on employee purchases (currently 20 percent), monthly drawings, print and metal certificates, and placement on a qualified individual locator, which directs consumers to shops with “Shimano certified” employees.
Employees who complete the entire training program are dubbed “Shimano Product Expert” or “Shimano Master Mechanic,” a certification specific to the employee not the shop where he or she works.
Because the associated forums are monitored by Shimano American staff, retailers will have a direct line of communication to corporate regarding product feedback.
“It’s going to make the voice of the IBD much louder going into our product development,” Arnauckas said.
Shimano developed the program based on requests from retailers for an efficient online training program, and has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the effort, said Penina Bush, head of Shimano American’s retail services division.
Shimano is promoting the online training program with a new ad campaign, poster mailings to shops, shipping inserts and flyers.