eCommerce + brick & mortar fulfilmment?

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Monday, June 29, 2009
By Yokota Fritz

This is interesting: The Canadian mountain bike component manufacturer Syncros Applied Technology has added eCommerce functionality to its website with a twist -- fulfillment is via a local bike shop.

"Consumers consider the Internet one of their greatest shopping resources," said Steve Parke, general manager and vice president of marketing for Syncros. "Authorized Syncros retailers also offer consumers service and expertise that help them get the most out of their purchases. Now Syncros gives consumers the opportunity to buy their components online and have their local dealers fill their orders. This makes shopping for components more convenient and helps them maintain their relationships with the local shops."

The press release I got suggests the retailer is repsonsible for shipping the order to the customer, so I'm not sure what the benefit to the local bike shop is. The idea is that the customer deals with the local bike shop instead of directly with the manufacturer.

What do you think? Is this hybrid ecommerce/LBS model something that could work to benefit the customer and the local retailer?

Syncros is owned by Ritchey Design.

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Louis Garneau tried something similar awhile back. Potential benefit is that it helps retailers turn stock, potential downside is the very very high possibility of service failure (shop doesn't get message to sell/ship, shop's inventory reported is inaccurate, manufacturer and shop price item differently)
Darren: I'm imagining all the ways this could go wrong also, which is probably why I don't do sales or marketing.
Someone needs to imagine how this can go wrong to counterbalance the typical overconfidence of marketing departments in general.
The more bike e-commerce in Canada the better! I choke at the prices I see in my local after seeing what you Americans can pay online (we get screwed on import duty). I've been known to send it to friends coming to visit me from the US. Smuggling?

I am all for a good local bike shop, though I can think of few in Toronto worth supporting, but I am not sure why overpaying has to be the way for me to do it.
I can't imagine Canadian shops just gouge for the hell of it. I'd bet the higher prices have to do with various taxes associated with our fine neighbor to the north.

You smuggle our bike parts, we'll smuggle your drugs.
This reminds me of a friend's attempt last night to order dinner delivery. Ordered online through the service... but it never came. Called the local dinery and... nobody was there. It just hadn't been taken off the website. (Puir me, who goes by their house to scarf leftovers ;) )
Is the Canadian bike industry still protected? Used to be something like a 40% duty on bike stuff imported from Asia (which also applied for things transiting through the USA) -- is that still the case?

Sioux: Ouch.
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