Giant USA launching online sales platform

Pick your next bike online, then pick it up at nearest shop

Now you can pull the trigger on the same bike Adam Craig rides -- and do it from the comfort of your home.

Now you can buy the same bike Adam Craig rides — and do it from the comfort of your home.

The option to buy your next bike online is growing rapidly. There are already a number of smaller brands well entrenched in the cyber marketplace (think Fezzari, Canfield and so on), and one of Europe’s biggest consumer-direct players, Germany’s Canyon, is set to launch U.S. operations next spring. Now add Giant to that equation — sort of.

The U.S. arm of the world’s largest bike maker announced this week that after a limited testing period, it’s launching a nationwide online sales platform starting October 17. Buyers will be able to order the bike of their choice through Giant’s on-line sales site, and then pick it up a the Giant retailer of their choice where the bike will be built up and waiting for them.

According to a report from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Giant sent an email to its dealers explaining that “consumers, who are long accustomed to retail purchasing online, like the ability to do the very same thing with bicycles and bike gear, and we want that purchasing to be sourced from you.”

If the retail shop chosen by the consumer has the bike model ordered in stock, they can opt to deliver that bike instead of having a new one shipped, explained the BRAIN article. In this case the bike shop would get the standard margin on that purchase. However, if the ordered bike is not in stock, the margin will be reduced by 20 percent.

Meanwhile, all Giant or sister brand Liv gear (shoes, helmets, apparel, etc) that is purchased on-line will be shipped directly to the consumer, and the closest Giant retailer within 100 miles who stocks those products will get full margin credit.

Bike shops that carry Giant are being encouraged to enroll in a “Where to Buy” program, which is a free service that shows consumers which nearby Giant retailers have the bike they are looking for in stock. Giant also believes that its new system will “safeguard the viability of progressive, forward-looking bike shops and their customers,” reported BRAIN.

The immediate question is how all this will effect bottom line prices for consumers. One of (if not the) major attraction to buying online is lower prices. Whether it’s direct-to-consumer bike sellers or major on-line etailers such as Chain Reaction Cycles, shoppers are increasingly flocking to these outlets for both convenience and to save money. And while the Giant set-up means you wont have to build up that new bike yourself, it’s not clear if it will result in lower prices. And that may go a long way in determining the overall success of the program — and whether or not it has to further evolve to succeed.

What do you think? Is buying online for convenience alone enough? Or do you expect lower prices even if that meant building up the bike yourself?

About the author: Mtbr is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.

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  • Bob says:

    Sounds like this “web purchase model” is merely incentive for retailers to carry more (and better) stock.

    In areas like mine and up to 200 miles away, shops cater to the $500 hybrid customer. So, these shops get dinged 20% for not stocking carbon Trances and Reigns?

    After taking that 20% hit, retailers get what’s left of the profit margin in exchange for a possibly wider audience? Savvy shoppers should already be casting a wider net by calling shops within reasonable driving distance for price comparisons.

    If Giant’s incentive to the customer is lower pricing (to compete with the likes of Fezzarri, Canfield, Whyte, and Canyon…who is coming here), the shops profit margin drops even further.

    There had better be some damn good pricing incentives for the customer who actually likes to build their own.

    • Stephen says:

      I can see this going both ways for retailers. For some it may incentivize them to carry more stock, but for others it may allow them to carry less stock and still see good profits.

      In your market for example, a 6k Trance could sit around for months unsold, and to a retailer that carrying cost is a real concern – something that might be worth a 20% hit on margin that would allow them to put the capital that trance was ting up into their high sellers.

      I’m fighting so hard with the direct sale route on my next ride. My local shop – which I actually worked at through high school – organizes lots of free group events, hosts demos, and sponsors local races. I would LOVE to buy an new Epic from them next year, but when I can get a comparably spec’d ride for less it’s a BIG test of my loyalty haha

  • Joe says:

    I’m not sure I see any advantage to the customer. This might incentivize shops to not carry as much in stock.

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