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ASI launching Fuji online sales through brick-and-mortar dealers

Published June 13, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — Starting in July, qualified brick-and-mortar dealers will be able to sell brand-new Fuji bikes online through their e-commerce sites for in-store pickup as parent Advanced Sports International enhances the brand’s website to drive customers to Fuji dealers. Previously, approved Fuji dealers could only sell old stock two model years or older online.

In a letter sent to dealers on Friday, ASI president and CEO Pat Cunnane stated: “During our U.S. sales meeting last week I announced Fuji’s online sales strategy and a timeline for its implementation. Before I go any further, I want to let you know that our program revolves around our retailers selling our bikes to consumers.
“Beginning July 1, 2016, all of our retailers will be eligible to qualify to participate in ASI’s ‘click and collect’ program. ASI’s model has the retailer solely responsible for the transaction and delivery of the product to the consumer in your store. Most importantly, there will be no revenue sharing,” he added.

Instead of just providing a general dealer locator, the Fuji website will direct consumers who hit a “buy now” button to qualified online dealers. ASI is using SmartEtailing’s Supplier Sync service to blend retailers’ in-store inventory with real-time availability from ASI’s warehouses. If the product is not in stock at the store, the dealer then initiates the order from ASI and maintains all direct customer interaction.

“We’re not taking the money and we’re not automatically shipping the bike. We’re not owning the customer relationship,” Cunnane told BRAIN. “One of the most significant reasons for that is we don’t have the overhead, we don’t have that ability. And it would be duplicating those retailers that have that ability.”

Fellow ASI brands Kestrel, Breezer, SE Racing and Oval Concepts are already sold online through qualified retailers, and the company is looking to make cruiser brand Phat Cycles available for online sales later this year, Cunnane noted. ASI is building new consumer-facing websites and mobile platforms for all of its brands to direct consumers to qualified retailers.

Fuji dealers will need to be individually vetted before they can take part in the new online program for the brand.

“We’ll look at floor space. We’ll look at sales volume, but not only sales volume. And then we’ll look at their website and make sure that if we’re sending a consumer to it, they can actually buy a bike,” Cunnane said.

“The No. 1 complaint that I get from consumers is, ‘You sent me to a place that didn’t want to sell me the bike I want to buy. Why did you do that?’ We are working to catch up with what a consumer’s expectation is from a brand website. They want to be able to buy stuff. And we’re not a retailer, so it’s important for us to work with the many, many retailers who are good at it,” he added.

The program could be a boon for smaller retailers in displaying more product breadth online than they could possibly keep in store, Cunnane believes.

“We have some very small dealers who will do great with this — physically small stores that are really committed to our brand. They don’t have to make a huge financial commitment, they just have to make a floor space commitment. When the consumer goes into the store, we want them to be in an environment where they see Fuji bikes” he said.

To boost participation in the program, ASI has created a new Retail Services Department headed by Joe Wentzell, who owned Philadelphia specialty shop Breakaway Bike Shop for 16 years. The department will help educate retailers who don’t have an active e-commerce site and help bring them up to speed to sell online.

“Some dealers want help with this kind of stuff, some dealers don’t — they’re a big believer in the ‘I’ in IBD. But for the ones that want help, we’ll help them,” Cunnane said.

In addition to working with SmartEtailing, ASI has hired Oris Intel to monitor its brands’ MAP policy via the PROWL software service, which alerts businesses of MAP violations and identifies anonymous sellers.

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