Backcountry.com to Launch Three New Bike-Specific Sites in Spring 2009 - SNEWS

Backcountry.com to Launch Three New Bike-Specific Sites in Spring 2009

Backcountry.com has announced plans to further bore into bicycle territory with the launch of two new high-end, bike-specific web sites and one ODAT site by Spring 2009.
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The e-commerce roughnecks at Backcountry.com weren't sure what they would find when they started wildcatting about the hinterlands of the bike industry in early June 2007 when they tossed high-end road and mountain product into their Backcountry.com mix and then launched Chainlove.com, their ODAT-style close-out site dedicated to bikes, bike components and accessories. But when bike product sales erupted on Backcountry.com and Chainlove.com's traffic hit 1 million unique visits in its first month of operation, Backcountry.com realized they had struck gold. Now, Backcountry.com has announced plans to further bore into bicycle territory with the launch of two new high-end, bike-specific web sites and one ODAT site by Spring 2009.

Backcountry.com's future bike lineup will include a new site focusing on the premium high-end road market, and another focusing on the premium high-end mountain-bike market. In addition, Backcountry.com will launch a One Deal at a Time (ODAT)-style close-out site for the road market, while repositioning Chainlove.com to focus on moving close-out mountain bike gear.

Backcountry.com's Bike Merchandise Division Manager, John Thomas, said that it was Backcountry.com's customers and the overwhelming success of bike products in the Backcountry.com mix that gave them the opportunity to expand their bike retail channels.

"Initially we were unsure of how bike would perform. But our bike push really tapped into a pent-up demand for middle to high-end, full MSRP product offerings. Sales and conversion were both higher than expected and Chainlove.com had the fastest rate of adoption that we've had for any of our other category-specific sites. Yeah, we noticed.”


Thomas attributes the company's success in the bike market to the same focus that took Backcountry.com from a $2,000 start-up investment to $200 million in annual sales in just 10 years: customer service, product selection and superior content. Plus, the bike lines have benefited from the support of forward-thinking bike brands looking for a dynamic web presence, such as Titus, Intense, and Litespeed, Shimano, Mavic, Fox, and Giro/Bell. Backcountry.com currently carries more than 130 bike brands.

Backcountry.com will leverage the same customer-centric programs in the bike market as they have in their other categories, including their money back guarantee, same day shipping, 24 hour in-house live chat and phone support and a 240,000 square foot warehouse stocked with technical gear and experts. All of this infrastructure is unmatched in the bike industry.

But Thomas admits that they are far from being embraced by the industry.

“In the bike industry, we're hearing a lot of the same reluctance from vendors that we heard from outdoor brands when we started in business: We'll lose our dealers, bastardize our brand, kill customer service … but show me an example--in any industry--of a leading brand going online and losing sales overall. Furthermore, relative to other consumer markets, the sporting goods category is still early in the curve of online shopping adoption. The online channel is only going to grow. The customers want you to be online.”

Thomas said he understands some of the push-back he's been getting. “The industry has a bad taste in its mouth because selling bikes online has been price driven. We will change that.”

Brand names and associated URLs for the sites have not been finalized, but Backcountry.com will support this expansion with a variety of marketing initiatives in 2009 to support the industry and build brand-name awareness within the market. Backcountry.com's bike buying team will be out in force at Interbike.

About Backcountry.com
Backcountry.com is an online retailer of performance outdoor adventure gear and apparel. The e-commerce site carries more than 400 brands in various categories, including biking, backpacking, camping, hiking, climbing, trail running, paddling, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and adventure travel. Backcountry.com also operates BackcountryOutlet.com, SteepandCheap.com, Dogfunk.com, Tramdock.com, WhiskeyMilitia.com and Chainlove.com.

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