COSTA MESA, CA (BRAIN) — Seldom, if ever, has a good word been written about Amazon.com in the National Bicycle Dealers Association’s newsletter — in print or online. Nor has the NBDA’s retail forum had much good to say about the Seattle online retailer.
But that didn’t stop Amazon Cycling’s Paul Calandrella from going to the NBDA’s website and joining as an “associate member” and paying the $360 fee to join — that’s the amount a company with more than $500,000 in revenue gets charged.
Fred Clements, the NBDA’s executive director, said Amazon Cycling's membership has no impact on the association’s policies. “That doesn’t give them any immunity from critics either,” Clements quipped. However, Clements said Amazon is like any other business that’s aligned with the bicycle industry — they can join as an associate.
“They don’t meet the criteria for being a retailer,” Clements added. Amazon would need a brick-and-mortar storefront and would have to receive at least 50 percent of its revenue from bicycle sales to be considered a retailer, he said.
Anyone or any company can go to the NBDA website and enroll online, click to pay, enter a credit card number, and join. And no one should construe Amazon’s decision to join as an associate member as an endorsement from the dealer group, Clements pointed out.
Currently, there are approximately 140 or so associate members listed on the association’s website, ranging from Abus, the lock company, to Zoic, the apparel supplier. Most are suppliers to the retail trade.
Associate members have no voting rights, but do receive the monthly newsletter, access to the membership list, and are eligible to participate in the NBDA’s shipping program. They can also get a discount on the various white papers and research sold by the NBDA, Clements said.