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Specialized to add consumer-direct sales on Feb. 1

Published January 27, 2022

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (BRAIN) — Specialized Bicycle Components will begin direct online sales of bikes to U.S. consumers next week, adding a “Rider Direct” option for the purchase of non-electric bikes from its website.

The company held Zoom calls with retailers on Thursday to go over the details, after sharing the plan with key retailers earlier this week. 

Starting next week consumers who want to buy a Specialized bike will have many options:

  1. They can walk into a brick-and-mortar Specialized dealer, including independent and company-owned stores.
  2. They can find the bike they want on Specialized’s website and then use the site’s dealer locator to find a nearby dealer who has the bike in stock, and then contact that store about a purchase. Specialized told dealers that the dealer locator will be positioned prominently on the website.
  3. They can buy directly from the Specialized website and have the bike delivered to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Specialized dealer closest to them. The dealer will assemble the bike and the customer will come pick it up. The dealer would get 50% of the normal margin on the sale.
  4. They can buy directly from the Specialized website and opt to have the bike delivered to their home in a mostly assembled state, similar to what consumer-direct brands like Canyon offer. Specialized will use facilities in Salt Lake City and Ohio to pre-assemble bikes for this delivery option, and then ship them in larger boxes to the consumer. The packaging will include tools and QR codes that direct consumers to assembly videos. 
  5. They can buy directly from the Specialized website and opt to have an assembled bike delivered to their door by a Specialized dealer. The dealers will provide “white glove” delivery and fitting, and the dealer will receive 75% of the standard margin for providing this service. This is the same margin now offered to dealers fulfilling click-and-collect purchases.

From the consumer's perspective, the delivery fee for options 4 and 5 will be the same, Specialized told dealers. One dealer told BRAIN that their sales rep promised to share data from Specialized’s direct sales, to show how many direct sales are going into their market. 

BRAIN has reached out to Specialized for more details, but we have not yet connected.

A company communication said Specialized will support customers who opt for #4.

"With our Ship to Home option, we’ll help you choose the right bike and ship it right where you want it—pre-built and professionally test ridden. With just a few parts removed for shipping, your new Specialized will be ready to roll in a matter of minutes. No heart wrenching wrench work necessary. Need help? A Rider Care Specialist is a phone call away. We can also connect you to a local retailer who knows, like, a lot about bikes," the company said.

It's not clear whether the white glove delivery service will be branded with the retailer or Specialized. In the company communication, it is called "Specialized Delivery."

Specialized Delivery specializes in you. Sure, it’s catchy. But mostly, it’s just true. We’ll bring your new bike directly to your home. There, a professional technician will ensure it fits so well you can’t even tell where you end and the bike begins. Then, we’ll get your bike registered, go over basic maintenance, and have you take it for a spin. When that happens, you might feel something a little funny. A rush of endorphins. A feeling of rhapsody. Something worth writinghome about. But you won’t have to. Because you’re already there. Welcome to the Specialized family!

While most major IBD brands now offer “click-and-collect” as a retail channel (Trek, arguably, was the first, Specialized added it in 2019), Specialized is the first major brand to offer the option of having a bike shipped straight to the consumer’s address, with no dealer involvement. However, Canyon, along with many consumer-direct e-bike brands, have been offering such deliveries for years. Many third-party e-commerce retailers also routinely ship mostly assembled bikes, including expensive bikes from boutique brands.

Specialized has been the most challenged by the trend of Trek — and now Pon — acquiring retail stores at a rapid pace. In several markets, Trek or Pon has acquired some of Specialized’s largest dealers, leaving the brand without distribution in those areas. Specialized has responded by buying up some stores of its own, and by opening company-owned fulfillment centers.

RELATED: Specialized dealers say they'll make the most of it.

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