In a press release launched on BRAIN
today, Felt Bicycles
announced a hybrid direct-to-customer marketing program, with a twist. Online buyers will be able to click on a "Buy Local Now" link to check stock and purchase their bike remotely from the shop, or choose to buy directly from Felt. Either way, the bike will arrive at the nearest Felt dealer for assembly, where the customer can pick it up.
Felt plans to credit the participating retailer with a commission for any online sale they deliver and, also, all online sales will count against that dealer's annual quotas or pre-season orders.
Felt international sales manager Tyler Meyers, who reportedly assisted Felt in preparation for the Customer Connect roll-out, told BRAIN:
Felt's entry into consumer-direct, online sales marks another influential brand that has come to terms with the fact that online buyers are here to stay. The question is: "Does Felt's dealer-delivered strategy offer adequate insulation from retail pressure to keep online buyers comfortable?" Trek has dabbled in dealer-linked online sales with some success. Felt's Customer Connect is more aggressive than Trek's, but falls short of Intense's new customer-direct model.
Time will soon weed out the winners, but we can be sure that Felt's bid will be closely watched by every other brand that is heavily invested in brick and mortar stores.