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Trek Answers the Online Sales Call

Published August 8, 2011

WATERLOO, WI (BRAIN)—Trek president John Burke had a simple message to retailers when it came to the changing retail landscape that exists in 2011.

“Great companies play offense,” said Burke, in reference to online sales competition, and what he calls “a definite trend that’s out there.”

With the help of SmartEtailing, the company is launching Trek Sync—a program where Trek will warehouse and fulfill aftermarket product orders placed on Trek retailers’ websites.

Burke pointed out to the hundreds of retailers taking in his keynote speech at Trek World last night that MSRPs will be adhered to, and if not—online sales will be revoked.

“Our inventory is your inventory,” Burke said. “Our shipping department is now your shipping department.” Burke said that Trek will not take a cut of the online sale either. “It’s your customer; it’s your sale. You maintain your margins,” he added. This is about, Burke said, making Trek dealers successful in the Internet age.

Trek also helped its retailers by unveiling a new retail development lab (pictured) that was completed in June, according to Trek spokesperson Eric Bjorling. “We definitely needed a space to prove these [retail] concepts,” he said. It gives Trek retailers, he said, more ideas on the best way to display products in their stores.

Burke said while 2011 got off to a slow start as the “weather wasn’t very cooperative,” May through July set records for Trek. International markets such as China and Japan, Trek netted huge gains last year—up 128 percent and 30 percent respectively. Road was up more than 22 percent last year, and the Gary Fisher Collection of 29ers was up 97 percent. “When you see Gary Fisher tonight, say ‘Thank you,’” Burke said.

Trek World, which kicked off yesterday, is hosting roughly 1,000 retailers in Madison, Wisconsin. Early arrivers to Trek World headed a short distance away to Waterloo, where Trek’s headquarters are located, to demo new road and mountain bikes. Trek leases out farmland where they’ve built an impressive network of trails, with a little something for everyone.

Livermore (California) Cyclery owner Steve Howard took out the Top Fuel mountain bike, which he was impressed by. Yet Howard was even more impressed by the trails, which is a short paved bike ride away. “It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever ridden,” Howard said of the trail system.

On the mountain side, Trek is trumpeting its new carbon fiber Session downhill bike. “We’re bringing carbon into the downhill world this year for the first time,” Bjorling said. Trek’s flagship downhill bike will retail for $8,500.

Bjorling said earlier this year Trek moved some of its OCLV frame manufacturing to Asia from Waterloo, as those factories are now OCLV certified. This was done in part to accommodate the addition of new OCLV models, according to Bjorling.

Never far from Burke’s mind is advocacy—and this night was no different—where he pointed out that Trek gave more than $1 million to the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the League of American Bicyclists last year. Trek donates $10 to IMBA for every Trek mountain bike sold.

“I thought others would follow or lead,” said Burke of the company’s IMBA initiative, pausing for effect. “I am sometimes wrong.”

Burke ended his speech by asking retailers to better support the company’s P&A business, while committing to strong pre-season orders on high-end models. Burke added that he was happy with the way Trek retailers stepped up to the pre-season plate last year.

Trek World concludes tomorrow.

--Jason Norman

Topics associated with this article: Events, Web/Internet

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