Bike shops are important cultural hubs for many riders, but many shops have struggled to adapt to the realities of modern sales expectations. As frustrating as that can be, there are still some independent shops that don't appreciate when you roll in the door with a mail-order bike.
RAAW bikes is trying to bridge that gap. They want to sell direct, but also want to support the value that local shops bring. Their solution is offering €100 back to customers that buy a frame through their online store and have a local bike shop assemble it. RAAWs products are sold through Germany, which explains why the transactions are made in Euros. The program is an open-ended offer for American and Canadian only, for now—RAAW says that they as markets differ around the world, they saw an opportunity to try something new within these two North American countries.
How does their cashback program work?1.
Purchase a RAAW frame kit from raawmtb.com
and have it shipped to you. The cashback offer is only open to customers in the US and Canada.2.
Bring your new RAAW frame to your bike shop of choice and have them assemble the complete bike. Collect and document the service invoice with the exact amounts for service and labor.3.
Email your service invoice back to RAAW and receive a €100 reimbursement on your original order, in the same fashion that the purchase transaction was completed. RAAW also reserves the right to contact the chosen bike shops.
RAAW doesn't sell to bike shops, but they encourage the shops to reach out to ask for advice with any questions they may have about the build process. The brand is made up of just seven people, and they want to focus on producing their frames rather than a sprawling dealer network. They feel that by keeping communications tight with the end consumer, they can provide better customer service.
That said, RAAW sees the program as a friendly handshake that promotes cross-pollination of the brick and mortar business model with a growing online bike brand. Basically, they're saying, “Hey bike shops, we know how valuable you are to the local community. The customer chose one of our frames, but let’s work together on this.”
We think it's a positive for a brand to recognize the credibility and knowledge that local shops can offer, especially in helping customers select suitable components in terms of sizing and what works best for their riding area. We'll keep an eye on how this program goes, and are curious to see if it gets extended beyond Canada and the USA. This time last year, they extended their warranty period
for original owners and opened up the offer to second-hand owners too.