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    Keener at a presentation in Boulder last month.

    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — A new 20-video series to help retailers teach staff the basics of customer interaction is now available online. The one-minute Customer Satisfaction Training videos cover everything from basic greetings and manners to more specific topics like merchandising and selling service.

    The CST series is the brainchild of Ray Keener, founder of Growth Cycle, a retailer training organization. Keener teamed with retail consultant Dan Mann of The Mann Group to produce the videos, which are available through a portal on Myagi, an online training provider. Keener and Mann launched the project earlier this year and brought on 61 shops as charter members.

    The team filmed the videos using input from a dealer survey and a retailer steering committee, and with the help of other industry organizations, including the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association and PeopleForBikes.

    Keener said the goal of the project is to help IBDs elevate their customer service by focusing on attention, respect and expertise. But he also hopes the videos will give employees some ownership over their position and training.

    “We envision a few ways that retailers can use the videos, one of which is to have the staff watch all 20 and then vote on six or so they think are most useful and will be the most beneficial for their store,” Keener said. “How does it hurt to let staff share their opinion? You have to ask — to not ask is worse. There will be more buy-in from the staff and they’ll be happy their opinion was heard. Once you see improvements in those areas, pick more and focus on those.”

    Dealers already signed up for the training can access it through Myagi’s website. Year-long subscriptions to the video series cost $300 per store — and Keener said the goal from the start of the project has been to make it affordable for retailers.

    “The dealers who’ve signed on and are in this are committed to trying it because they don’t want to continue to watch their floor traffic deteriorate, and it’s a small investment,” Keener said. “But the real test is not whether it’s a good concept or not whether we created the content well. The test is whether employees watch them and learn and improve behavior.”

    Retailers interested in the Customer Satisfaction Training video series can view a demo and sign up at myagi.com/customer-satisfaction-training.




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    Matt Powell.

    Editor's note: Matt Powell is the vice president and industry analyst for the sports industry for The NPD GroupWith over 40 years of experience in the retail and research industries, Powell has held positions both on the client and vendor sides of the business

    I've never liked the term "omnichannel" to describe the new sports retail environment. To me, this is looking at the business from an old-school, logistics-driven point of view.

    What we need in sports retail is a customer-centric approach. Brands and retailers are no longer in charge of the conversation or transaction; the consumers are 100 percent in charge, and they demand to shop whenever, wherever and however they want. In other words, retail must be omnipresent, not omnichannel.

    Brands and retailers no longer create trends; they feed trends. In order to feed consumer-driven trends, brands and retailers must have their products available 24/7 and on a variety of platforms. The sports consumer is moving back and forth between various shopping platforms. An omnipresent retailer must be able to meet the consumer wherever he/she may be.

    Omnipresent sports retail will change the platform of physical stores. Stores will now be showrooms for a broader online assortment, warehouses for e-commerce fulfillment, and return/exchange centers.

    So, how does a physical store become omnipresent? By developing one singular view of the consumer.

    Omnipresent retail has one database housing all the transaction history from their customers. These databases also have information on sports consumers' preferences and interests.

    There is only one retail inventory at an omnipresent retailer. All inventory — whether in a store, warehouse or even in shared vendor sites — is visible and common.

    Omnipresent retail has one price, regardless of where the sale is completed. That price must be transparent, matching any other competing price in competitors' or brands' sites.

    There can only be one voice for an omnipresent retailer, which means marketing messages must be consistent across all platforms.

    Omnipresent retailers have one set of policies for everything like returns to shipping fees. Policies must be consistent, regardless of where the consumer ships.

    It is also critical that loyalty programs are consistent across all platforms. As loyalty programs become even more important, the platform cannot dictate the programs.

    As the internet of things becomes more pervasive, and with the growth of voice-controlled shopping, omnipresence will become even more critical to brand and retailer success.


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    SEATTLE, Wash. (BRAIN) — Nuun is expanding the availability of its recently introduced vitamin hydration product into Canada. Nuun Vitamins will debut in Canada at Whole Foods and MEC.

    "Our society is in a critical state with preventable chronic diseases at an all-time high," said Kevin Rutherford, the president and CEO of Nuun. "At Nuun we strive to create positive change and developed Vitamins as part of our continued efforts to help reverse these trends. Nuun Vitamins has been very well received in the United States and the Nuun team is excited to share it with our friends in Canada."

    Nuun Vitamins is an effervescent, self-dissolving tablet that has 11 vitamins and minerals. It includes those that are the most under-consumed micronutrients within the overall public and those that athletes need to consume in larger quantities. These include vitamin A, C, D and E for immune function and antioxidant support, B12 and folate for energy metabolism and minerals magnesium and calcium for muscle function and bone support. In order to maximize nutrient absorption the levels of each vitamin are 25-50% of the recommended daily value. Fluid delivery is optimized given the complete electrolyte blend and addition of non-GMO cane sugar. Vitamins has very low sugar, with only 2 grams per serving and 10 total calories.

    "Given the research and development of our Active line, we have optimized waters' ability to hydrate and transport nutrients into the body," said Vishal Patel, the chief nutritionist for Nuun. "With Vitamins we learned our complete electrolyte profile with the correct vitamin blend could have a synergistic improvement on immune function and healthy hydration."

    Nuun Vitamins is debuting in Canada with two non-caffeinated flavors, Blueberry Pomegranate and Tangerine Orange, and two caffeinated options, Ginger Lemonade and Blackberry Citrus. The caffeine is 40 mg of organically sourced whole leaf green tea extract. Each tube of Nuun Vitamins contains 12 tablet servings with a retail price of $8.99. It is also sold in a 4-flavor multi-pack for $29.99. The line is available at Whole Foods and in store and online with MEC and other sports specialty retailers.

    More information at www.nuunlife.com.


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    WATERTOWN, Mass. (BRAIN) — Seven Cycles, Inc. Is now offering a $995 upgrade package for its titanium Sl or SLX Disc titanium frames. The XX package consists of 11 changes that colllectively save 15-20 percent (7 to 9 ounces) off the frames' weights, making up for the additions of recent popular features including disc brakes and thru axles.

    "Although, the industry has used lightness as a primary selling feature for several decades, what we see is that every year frames get heavier," said Seven founder Rob Vandermark. "Advances in component technology too often weigh more than their predecessors: Disc brakes, thru-axles, tapered steerer forks, PressFit bottom brackets, wider tires, etc. They all add significant weight to a bike. With XX we are leveraging our experience and our materials to their limits to push frame weight back down again."

    The XX upgrades include asymmetric dropouts and chainstays, an internatl seatpost binder, a 30.9 millimeter seatpost sleeve and butted 30.9 millimeter seatpost, more bottom bracket machining, enlarged frame breather holes, increased frame tube butting, modified tube profiles, a modified flat mount brake adapter, and a more compact frame design.

    Vandermark said, "We are fortunate to have data from thousands of Seven bikes in the real world, so we are able to extrapolate which new features can be integrated without a single failure. On top of that, we've done extensive fatigue testing of new build techniques and applied all of that to the XX frame upgrade. From our perspective, this is the apex of cycling weight reduction. This is what XX delivers."

    More information at sevencycles.com/options/xx.


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    RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Felt Bicycles has hired Tyler Meyers as international sales manager. Meyers has a long history in the industry, previously holding senior roles at Shimano, Electra, Trek, BionX and most recently launching Elby bicycles. Before joining Felt, Meyers worked on several projects with Felt as a consultant developing market analysis in key areas.

    "The projects and work he's done for us went so well that we wanted to bring him on board full time," said Adam Micklin, vice president of global sales at Felt.

    In his new role Meyers will oversee Felt's international distributors. Previously, Jake Duehring had handled international sales, but was recently tapped to head up sports marketing after the departure of company founder Jim Felt.

    "I am looking forward to expanding Felt's global business and continuing the strong partnerships that Jake and the entire team at Felt have cultivated over the years," said Meyers.

    Felt Bicycles has gone through a series of changes in staff and sales structure following its acquisition by Rossignol Group earlier this year.

    More recently, the company relocated to Rancho Santa Margarita from Irvine, California. Felt handles product development, engineering, marketing, creative and international sales out of its Southern California headquarters.

    Product is shipped nationwide from its warehouse in Ontario. Inside sales have transitioned to Park City, Utah, where Rossignol has offices, as well as accounting and finance.


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    CARLSBAD, Calif. (BRAIN) — As part of its plan to re-enter the U.S. market, Japanese tire maker IRC Tire named LiFT creative studios as its creative and interactive agency of record.

    Inoue Rubber Company is a global, two-wheel tire manufacturer based in Nagoya. The company was a dominate force in mountain biking throughout the 1990s when it marketed tires under the IRC brand and produced tires for many leading bike companies. A massive fire at one of its factories, however, derailed IRC's plans for even greater success.

    The company said it is ready for a comeback with the help of LiFTcs.

    "LIFT creative studios are thoroughly modern and insightful. They are just what we need as we take this iconic brand to new heights," said Bruno Suttles, IRC's North American sales and marketing manager.

    "Internally and externally, we assembled an expert team of innovators, hard-core marketers and leading-edge branding experts to return IRC to the market dominance it once enjoyed and to develop products for new categories. It's an exciting time for our team, our distributor partners, our retail customers and end consumers," Suttles added.

    LiFTcs completed an extensive review to win the account, said Steve Driscoll, LiFTcs' managing director.

    "Everyone at LiFTcs is thrilled to be selected to partner with such an iconic brand. In the 1990s, IRC was the premier tire brand and a supplier to many legendary mountain bike teams. I have a soft spot in my heart for the brand. Our goal is to re-establish IRC with a strong presence among IBDs and reintroduce the brand to consumers. Soon, we will share some exciting news that will be the first step in putting IRC back into the conversation," Driscoll added.


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    REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (BRAIN) — Kenda Tire continues to restructure its North American bicycle sales team with the promotion of Matt Boissy to the position of North American sales manager. Boissy steps in to service Kenda’s OEM customers after having spent several years in aftermarket sales.

    “This promotion is well-deserved,” said Al Clark, the senior director of Kenda’s North American bicycle division. “It is great to recognize the hard work Matt has put in and we look forward to his further contributions moving forward.” 

    Regarding his new role, Boissy said, “I am looking forward to continuing and building upon existing relationships, developing new opportunities, and am excited about the direction Kenda is headed!”

    New and existing customers can reach Boissy via email at MBoissy@KendaUSA.com or 614-729-7866

     


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    BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — The PeopleForBikes Coalition board of directors held its biannual meeting Tuesday. Among other business, the board approved the organization's 2018 budget and approved eight new recipients of PeopleForBikes' Community Grants program. The list of recipients is below. 

    In other board meeting business, the PeopleForBikes Business Network highlighted a congressional targeting campaign that featured 20 in-district visits to bike retailers and suppliers by members of Congress and their staff. That team's report also noted significant attacks on bike funding and public lands (relating to the bicycle commuter tax benefit and national monuments in Utah) and the organization's response to them.

    The board was briefed on the progress of the PlacesForBikes program, including momentum in the 10 Big Jump cities and the plan for the second annual conference, which will take place in Indianapolis in May of 2018.

    The board discussed strategies to get more children riding for a lifetime and talked about the link between bike sales and bike infrastructure as measured by PeopleForBikes' new Bicycle Network Analysis tool.

    The PeopleForBikes Community Grants Program is funded through the Employee Pro Purchase program, which collects donations from individuals who work in the industry and take advantage of pro pricing on bike equipment. Cannondale, Fuji, Giant, Shimano, Specialized and Trek currently participate.

    Funded projects are as follows:

    • Salmon Valley Highway 93 South Trail, Salmon Valley Stewardship, Salmon, Idaho: $10,000
    • Thomas Beginner Mountain Bike Trail, New Historic Thomas, Thomas, West Virginia: $10,000
    • City of Dayton Welcome Park Bike Park, City of Dayton, Ohio: $8,000
    • Sugarcamp Mountain Bike Park, City of Prestonsburg, Kentucky: $8,000
    • Ditto Landing West Greenway, Huntsville Madison County Marina & Port Authority, Huntsville, Alabama: $5,000
    • The Old Blue River Trail, City of Manhattan, Kansas: $5,000
    • Folsom Trail, Salt Lake City, Utah: $3,400
    • Red Lantern Repair Stations, Red Lantern Bike Shop, Braddock, Pennsylvania: $950

     

     


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    TORONTO (BRAIN) — E-bike brand Elby says its growth has surpassed its own expectations in 2017, as it signed its 50th North American retailer three months ahead of schedule. 

    Besides the agreements with 50 stores, Elby also sells online with an assembly and delivery option with the Velofix Direct program. The company also expanded into the European market this year and the privately owned company also said it saw growth in sales to automotive partners, government agencies and real estate developers. 

    "Elby is resonating with an increasing number of people who are making a deliberate decision to not only to live a healthier lifestyle, but to move freely and effortlessly in their daily lives," said Scott MacWilliam, Elby's director of global sales and marketing.

    "We are pleased to be ahead of our growth plan and to see such a positive reaction to Elby, especially when the traditional bicycle market is down across North America."

    The company said it doubled the size of its internal customer experience team and its North American field team.

    "It shows that the message of easy, congestion-free transportation alternatives is resonating with the market. This means only positive things for commuting, the environment, and overall quality of life in our cities," said MacWilliam.

    Elby was founded in 2015 by automotive industry veterans Frank Stronach and Fred Gingl. It offers a one-size BionX-powered hybrid that's available in single-speed and 9-speed versions, retailing for $3,700 and $3,900, respectively.

    More information at elbybike.com.


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    NEVERS, France (BRAIN) — Look Cycle has adopted a minimum advertised price policy for the U.S. and Canada, which goes into effect immediately. The company will sell only to authorized wholesalers, retailers, internet retailers and distributors. Along with this North American policy, the company said it is pursuing a similar global initiative to create a more sustainable marketplace for all authorized resellers.

    "Look's MAP policy is designed to preserve the brand's innovative, premium product heritage while supporting authorized resellers by maintaining a healthy and competitive commercial environment," said Mike Gann, LOOK Cycle USA's VP of sales and marketing.

    Pat McGinnis the VP commercial of Hawley-Lambert, Look's Distributor in North America, said, "I am excited to see this new policy enacted. It will help us create a more sustainable, healthy commercial environment for our dealers."

    Under the policy, authorized Look resellers may only advertise Look products at or above the minimum advertised prices published by Look. The company will publish prices annually, and as needed throughout the year. This new policy includes advertisement of Look-branded goods in all media and marketplaces, inclusive of direct mail, retail flyers, e-commerce, forums, magazines, and catalogs, and other promotional methods.

    For additional information or to see the policy, retailers can contact map@lookcycle.com or Mike Gann at mgann@lookcycle.fr.


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    STURGIS, Mich. (BRAIN) — Retailers Carol Ann and Phil Pattengale will retire in early 2018 after running their store, The Kickstand, for 37 years. Located in this small town about one hour from Kalamazoo, The Kickstand is a full-service shop that carries Trek, Schwinn and Haro.

    The Pattengales have relocated the store three times over the years, landing in its current 3,500 square-foot space in 2012. While the couple is looking forward to retirement, Phil Pattengale said they are sad to leave the town without a bike shop.

    "We're the only one. We are hoping someone will step and want to buy it because we hate to close. We're just ready to retire," he said. "My wife and I are both in our 70s and it's been just the two of us running the shop all these years."

    The couple began repairing bicycles out of their home in 1981, first for their own children and for friends and neighbors. They soon moved into a brick-and-mortar location and grew into a full-service shop. Phil Pattengale said the nearest bike shop is about 35 miles away, and the nearest Trek dealer is in Kalamazoo, about one hour from Sturgis.

    If the Pattengales haven't found a buyer for the business after New Years, they plan to begin liquidating inventory and shutter the business.

    "We're waiting to see if we can find someone to buy the store, but we are going to retire one way or another," said Phil Pattengale.


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    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) —  The National Bicycle Dealers Association is partnering with Quality Bicycle Products to support and facilitate its Profitability Project (P2).

    Two representatives from QBP will participate in P2 group meetings, starting in March: Lori Richman, QBP's director of organization development, will facilitate the three P2 groups that each meet twice annually, and Todd Cravens, QBP's director of national accounts, will provide consultation and support. The NBDA will continue to provide logistical and content support.

    "We are so excited to work with QBP on our P2 program. This is an incredible opportunity to have some of the best minds in the business working together to advance retail," said Brandee Lepak, the NBDA's board chair.

    Rich Tauer, QBP's president, said, "QBP is honored to partner with NBDA. Our organizations are well aligned to support one another. We both deeply believe in the importance of the specialty bicycle retailer and are committed to working to create success with them."

    P2 is a program designed to improve business for participating specialty retailers. Participants have an existing track record of business success, but are seeking more in the form of sales, profitability, delivering a better customer experience, and creating a distinctive legacy of retail success. The P2 process brings together successful industry leaders from noncompeting markets to learn, brainstorm, evaluate and create a more successful business model.

    For more information on P2 see nbda.com/articles/profitability-project-p2. Retailers interested in joining a P2 group should contact Sara Michaels at the NBDA office at 720-696-7018.


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    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (BRAIN) — TerraTrike, a U.S. manufacturer of three-wheeled recumbents, is working with Adventure Cycling to offer a free year's membership to the organization with the purchase of some models. The company also is offering a $200 discount on TerraTrike accessories with a new trike purchase.

    The company said the Adventure Cyclist promotion is part of an effort to promote its three-wheeled machines to current bike tourists.

    "Adventure Cycling has done for bicycle travel what Einstein did for physics — it has broadened riders' minds and made them realize so much more is possible," said Jeff Yonker, marketing director at TerraTrike. "TerraTrike is proud to join that rallying cry for more human powered transport."

    For the month of December, TerraTrike is offering a $200 voucher toward its line of branded accessories — cargo bags, panniers, lights, flags — and a free year membership to Adventure Cycling for anyone who buys a Rambler, Traveler, Gran Tourismo, Sportster or Tandem Pro. Buyers of all Rover models, including the Rover Tandem, are eligible for a $100 voucher on the same accessories.

    The membership includes nine issues of Adventure Cyclist Magazine, discounts on cycling maps, access to trip planning resources and other benefits. Every year, one issue of Adventure Cyclist is dedicated to recumbent bikes and trikes.

    "There's always been a passionate recumbent community in the world of bicycle travel," said Alex Strickland, the editor-in-chief of Adventure Cyclist, "and as more people discover recumbents we look forward to bringing them into the fold."

    More information at terratrike.com/winterpromo.


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    CHICAGO (BRAIN) — SRAM has added Darnell "Dr. Dunk" Hillman to its ambassador program. The former NBA and ABA player is the first member of the brand's new program that is intended to get retired pro athletes to take up bike riding.

    "Professional athletes inspire us with their skills and determination. Yet by the end of their careers, many pros sustain significant wear and tear to their joints or other injuries. The same thing happens to many recreational athletes. Cycling offers an effective outlet for athletes of all stripes to fulfill their need for physical challenge, adventure, and competition (even if it's just measuring against one's self)," the company said.

    Hillman played for the Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors. His accolades include winning the 1977 NBA Slam-Dunk contest and in 1997 received the Best Afro award at the ABA players union. Now 68 he is the Pacers' director of camps, clinics and alumni relations.

    In the 1970s while on the Pacers, Hillman would sometimes ride his bike to stay in shape close to the site where SRAM and Zipp's Indianapolis' facility now sits. 

    "Cycling is a new challenge for me. I've worked hard to stay in shape, since I like to kneel down on the court to talk eye to eye with the kids during basketball camps. I also still have that competitive drive," Hillman said. "Often I've seen group bike rides pass by and thought it looked like great fun and camaraderie. I look forward to riding my new SRAM and Zipp-equipped road bike."

    The 6-foot-9-inch Hillman rides a 64 cm Surly frame, built up with SRAM Force 1 with HRD hydraulic disc brakes, Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc wheels, Zipp Service Course SL-80 handlebars (46 cm wide), Zipp Service Course SL stem (140mm long), Zipp SL Speed seatpost (400 mm long), Zipp Tangente Course R30 tires, and Zipp Service Course CX bar tape.

     


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    ANAHEIM, Calif. (BRAIN) — Demolition has released several new colors for its aluminum BMX pedal, the Trooper AL. The new colors include Matte Black, Rasta, and Black Jacket.

    The pedals have 6061 T6 CNC'd aluminum bodies with a concave design for extra grrp The spindle is chromoly. The pedals have 10 removable flush-mount pins and weigh 16.2 ounces per pair. 

    The new Matte Black color retails for $89.99. The Rasta and Black Jacket colors retail for $99.99. 

    More information available by calling 877-488-1369or visiting demolitionparts.com.


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    BROOKLYN, N.Y. (BRAIN) — On Saturday, Dec. 9, 42 bike shops in 23 states and one in Stavropol Kai, Russia, held community events, fundraisers, sales and group rides in honor of the first-ever Bike Shop Day.

    Retailer Joe Nocella, owner of 718 Cyclery in Brooklyn, planned the event to recognize and celebrate the IBD, modeling it after Record Store Day.

    “Bike Shop Day is about getting people in the door,” said Nocella. “It's another way of doing something the internet can't do because there is no substitute for community and events.”

    “Bike Shop Day was a great success for us here in Brooklyn, as well as the 43 other shops who participated,” Nocella added.

    VeloSoul in Denver, Colorado, had coffee and VooDoo Donuts to share with customers.

    718 Cyclery held a raffle, hosted group rides and a pancake breakfast. The shop also had a sale and Nocella reported an increase of 345 percent in customer traffic and a 245 percent bump in sales over the same weekend day in 2016. Several brands stepped up in support of Bike Shop Day at 718 Cyclery, including QBP, Kona, Yuba, Kali, Evil, Surly and others, donating product for the raffle and swag bags.

    Several retailers, including Leo LaBelle of Dash Bicycle Shop in Providence, Rhode Island, held fundraisers alongside sales and other events. Dash held a coat drive on Bike Shop Day, collecting 23 coats for men, women and children to deliver to the local Amos House charity and in a post on the shop’s Facebook page, LaBelle said he will continue to accept additional coats all week.

    To view a full list of participating shops, see videos and photos, visit 718c.blogspot.com.

    Nocella has slated Dec. 1, 2018, for the next Bike Shop Day and invites other retailers to participate. Visit bikeshopday.com for more information.




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    EAGLE, Colo. (BRAIN) — Uncommon Communications has added Jordan Carr to the agency's public and media relations team. Effective immediately, Carr joins Uncommon as account manager.

    "Our goal at Uncommon is to perform good work for people we like and brands that we believe in. That seems simple on the surface, but to succeed it's essential to have the right people in place," said Uncommon's Mike McCormack, "Jordan brings a journalist's mindset along with tremendous technical acumen and an immensely respected background in cycling advocacy. He's a great fit with our existing team and we're all thrilled to welcome him."

    "I've worked alongside Mike, Logan VonBokel, and Mike Ferrentino in different capacities over the past several years," said Carr, "It's an honor to join them and to begin work on behalf of their amazing list of clients and brands."

    Carr joins Uncommon after a two-year stint with Kitsbow as the brand's field marketing representative. Prior to that, he traveled the U.S. as part of IMBA's Subaru Trail Care Crew with partner Lani Bruntz. Before joining IMBA, Carr spent several years as a staff writer at Mountain Flyer Magazine.

    Carr joins Uncommon on Monday, Dec. 18. He can be reached at Jordan@uncommoncommunications.net.

     


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    Company says it wants to remove barriers to purchase but keep retailers involved in the customer experience.

    RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Felt Bicycles rolled out its Customer-Connect online sales program to dealers on Monday. The Southern California bike company, purchased by Rossignol Group early this year, said customers will now be able to purchase a bike on the Felt website, which will be delivered by their local Felt retailer.

    Buyers will have two options on the Felt site: To go the Buy Local Now route and see if a local shop has the bike they want in stock on Felt's website, or they can purchase it from the Felt website and Felt will ship the bike to their local dealer, who will assemble and deliver it.

    The company found that less than 1 percent of total bikes sold in North America are sold online

    Felt will provide credit to a dealer's account immediately upon purchase of the bike. The company also said that any bikes purchased through Felt's site and delivered through a local dealer will count toward that store's annual product commitments or preseason.

    Felt notified retailers about Customer Connect through a dealer letter Monday. Felt sales reps also notified dealers by phone last week. All authorized Felt dealers will be listed on Felt's website as local delivery stores for online purchases.

    Felt VP of global sales and marketing Adam Micklin said the company analyzed various direct and online sales programs to determine how to model its program.

    "We think the IBD is an integral part of the business model," said Micklin. "We looked at programs out there. We felt that if a Felt customer wants a bike they need to have access to it, but it still needs to be consistent with our business. It needs to be the right bike with the right fit, and that happens through the dealer."

    Felt dealers will earn a commission for every bike sold on Felt's website that they deliver to a customer. The commission is based on the dealer level with the highest, 35 percent, for a gold-level dealer, 20 percent for silver and for bronze level dealers and 15 percent for a standard level dealer. The bike buyer pays a flat fee to ship the bike to the retailer.

    According to Felt's research in preparing to roll out this program, the company found that less than 1 percent of total bikes sold in North America are sold online. And most of those bikes are under $500 suggested retail.

    However, the company said Customer Connect is a way to break down barriers to buying for customers who are researching online and to provide access to product.

    "Customers vote with their dollars," said Tyler Meyers, who conducted analysis for Felt in preparation for the roll out and who has since joined the company as international sales manager. "The fact that they're researching the product online and if they choose to purchase it online we don't want to say, 'you can't.' We want to have a program and operational support to deliver the bike consistent with their expectation.

    "It's removing barriers to access but also saying, 'we want you to work with the retailer because that's where you get the best fit, or if you have questions or need service,'" he added.


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