Specialized Direct to Consumer Bike Sales

Did I miss this news, or is this NEW news?

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The article says it was only announced to some earlier this week and then shared in a Zoom call today

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That’s what I saw, but my sketchy memory was likely blurring in some older news that wasn’t “bike” related for Spesh ordering. That or I was thinking about the limited options I think Trek introduced too.

AFAIK, this is BIG news for Spesh buyers and possibly dealers. The shear number of delivery options is kind of mind bending. Part of me wonders if they are testing the waters and will reduce to a few from this larger list, after they see what really takes off.

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I guess many (at least I) assumed this was their next step after the whole Mikes Bikes thread

I think this was just the formal announcement of the assumption

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I was really surprised they said it’s the same cost to deliver direct to the consumer as to deliver to an LBS who will assemble and deliver to your door. Also interesting that ebikes are not included.

Now, if they would only get some bikes in stock!

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The cynic in me:
Why share the revenue with a bike shop when you can get to keep it all!

This is not to help consumers, this is to make even more money by charging the same MSRP and keeping all of the money they would have to share with stores…

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Maybe, to a point. But those bikes don’t go from the shipped packing to deliverable without some extra work. Reading the work added in a couple of the steps, S is having to pay their own employees for that work, vs what previously went to the LBS.

I don’t see it as a blanket “cash grab” since there are “new costs” they are taking on vs “outsourcing” with the traditional LBS sales model. Weighted percentages of these sales still end up at the LBS in some of the sale options.

I though bike were sent on boxes and put together at the store…
If thats not the case…then maybe there is more cost associated…

But the Mr Cynic here say its all a cash grab. Someone has to either put the bike together and send it, or put the bike on a box and shipped it (probably paid by the consumer as a delivery fee).

I think MSRP has all that baked in… shipping and all… now they get the charge same MSRP + cost of shipping…

:man_shrugging:

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  • Yes, traditionally they come in a very tight “shipping” condition box. Assembly consists of usually installing the front wheel, front brake, bars, pedals, and general tune up at the least. Fully’s need more work with dropper post cable setup and maybe tubeless setup.

  • If you read the options in the article, some of the delivery options are full assembly while others are partial assembly. Each of those takes someone to do. In all but a few cases, that “someone” is new S employees since it is not the LBS doing it like the old days.

  • First sentence seems to conflict with the second?
  • I sure don’t know the details (but may learn them the next time I talk to my boss), but perhaps S has deals on lower assembly cost in their hands vs the LBS?

Otherwise, adding options for consumers, that mimic or match other sellers like Canyon seem to be the lead motivators to me vs pure cash.

That cost is baked it, but you have to look at all the delivery options they offer. Some are likely to vary on ultimate cost. That is part of what I suspect they are testing, to see what is most cost effective vs what consumers choose.

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A buddy of mine bought two Hot Rocks for his kids for Xmas…LBS said he couldn’t get them until May, I think. Buddy found them on the Specialized website for immediate delivery and had them shipped to his house. We built them up at my house and it was insanely easy…basically install the HB, seatpost and pedals.

Box design was excellent also…basically you pull the box off from the top and the bike is sitting there in a reinforced “tray”.

But this announcement is gonna set dealers off, I think…Specialized had always been very good about sharing ecommerce revenue with its dealers. But when dealers are getting shut out of inventory for Specialzied to sell direct? Hmmmmm…

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Yeah, I am SUPER curious to hear what my shop thinks…

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A bit more detail here. Including some comments on the impacts to retail stores. Specialized is going consumer-direct for complete bikes - CyclingTips

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They can’t get bikes to stores, why should I believe they can get one to my door? Unless they have been purposefully withholding inventory from stores to have ‘online avalibility’.

If I could find a store with a 52cm Aethos in expert or lower I’d have already bought a bike….

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So I’m just gonna throw out a few random thoughts and preface it by saying I have zero inside knowledge on the deal….I’m just trying to connect a few dots.

My guess is that they bikes are getting “nearly-assembled” in Asia and shipped that way. Paying a US employee to unpack a bike, near-assemble it and then re-box it makes absolutely no sense financially. Similarly, does it make sense to pay for the added freight to ship the nearly-assembled bikes to the US if they are going to a dealer?

Now let’s look at my buddy’s case above….he wanted two kids bikes and was told by the LBS not until May. But he was able to order them direct from Specialized for immediate delivery.

It could be that Specialized is bringing the bikes over both ways….near-assembled for consumer-direct sales and just sub-assembled for bike shops. That would help explain why the two bikes my buddy got were not available to the LBS.

Again, total speculation on my part, but there is some logic to it. But the again, doubling your SKU count and order-management challenges is kinda dumb, too….

But if dealers start realizing that Specialized is holding back bikes for direct-to-consumer sales while they miss out, there will be a revolt, I suspect.

It could also be that Specialized is doing the same shared-revenue program that they have always done with their dealers via the their alliance network.

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Some dealer feedback already….not the mass uprising I was initially expecting.

I bought a Canyon because it was available #1 and #2 I couldn’t get what I wanted for almost 2 years. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was 30% less than a Specialized of similar spec. but having something in the current situation is better than nothing.

With this plan, I get to pay more to have it shipped to me at full MSRP vs. buying or ordering from an LBS and then get to put it together too. Unless there’s stock at Specialized vs. the LBS, or I can’t order through the LBS, I don’t see the attraction and the closest Specialized dealer to me is a good 45-50 minute drive away. I’m pretty sure they’re (the LBS) not going to drive close to an hour to deliver a bike to me under option #5. They do too many deliveries like that and they’d need more staff.

I had that initial thought too. On the one hand, I can see it being more work for less margin with the deliveries, but on the other hand, the LBS eliminates the time spent reviewing specs with you, letting you test ride multiple bikes, large inventory of different builds and sizes, etc.

Trying to think of positives for those “drive an hour away shops”, this is from the CT article I linked above:
“On the surface, all of this seems like a major degradation of retailer relations and financial support in terms of how they make their money. And indeed, there seem to be plenty of retailers who feel this way. That sentiment isn’t universal, though, at least based on comments from the owner of one multi-store chain who preferred to remain anonymous.

“They need to reach every rider they can in a way that every rider wants to buy,” they acknowledged. “They just want every rider to buy a Specialized however that person wants. If you live in the middle of nowhere, this is great. I’m a fan of direct-to-consumer when the bike shop is involved, even if it’s less margin because there’s so much work taken out of it for the dealer. But this new one … yeah, we may lose a few sales. It’s hard to know.””

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Ship unbuilt bike to consumer and charge more then others with same business model. Brilliant

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When trek started this my friend thought awesome and set his radius for 50 miles… That’s as the crow flies. After a couple 4 hour round trip deliveries that meant he wasn’t in the shop doing repairs or it having to be shut down completely if his wife had to go pick the kids up etc he reduced it by a lot.

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So I just saw this and I thought I would add it after my post above….apparently, Specialized is indeed using US employees to unpack bikes, nearly-assemble them and then repack them for shipment to consumers.

They can buy directly from the Specialized website and opt to have the bike delivered to their home in a mostly assembled state, similar to what consumer-direct brands like Canyon offer. Specialized will use facilities in Salt Lake City and Ohio to pre-assemble bikes for this delivery option, and then ship them in larger boxes to the consumer. The packaging will include tools and QR codes that direct consumers to assembly videos

I can’t see how this makes much sense financially, but Specialized has clearly run the numbers and deemed it viable. I guess they are just using the margin that the delaer normally would have made and using it to pay for their assembly / labor / packaging.

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