WALNUT, CA (BRAIN) — Cycling website BikeRoar is offering U.S. dealers free listings to market their businesses, with an eye toward rolling out premium services that would display retailers’ in-stock inventory and pricing as well as detailed shop information such as videos and store tours.
BikeRoar launched in Australia in 2011 as a consumer information site populated with product reviews, maintenance and tech tips, and cycling advice columns. In December of that year, Dax Neech joined as business development manager to begin compiling a comprehensive list of U.S. dealers that consumers can search by location, using GeoIP database architecture, or by brands sold.
“We wanted to emphasize the local aspect of the search so that retailers in that city or town can maximize their exposure to cyclists nearby,” Neech said. “BikeRoar is a great tool for dealers to have in their belt to let cyclists know who they are and what they carry.”
The free dealer function beta launched with Colorado retailers over the summer during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Since that time, BikeRoar has been compiling shop data from other markets and encouraging dealers to submit their own information.
“One of our biggest hurdles has been the lack of current information out there,” said Patrick McBride, BikeRoar’s national accounts manager. “There are 4,000 stores in the U.S. and not one website lists all of them. We want to represent the stores as well as possible. We want to direct online shoppers into in-store traffic.”
Dealers can set up their own free information pages. The basic listing includes an “About Us” section, store logo, hours of operation, contact details, the option to review products and a section to showcase brands and products carried. Consumers can search for shops based on location or brands carried.
In the coming months BikeRoar also plans to introduce three tiers of premium services, including the ability to display real-time inventory and an online video feature. Premium pricing will range from $60 a month to $1,500 a year, McBride said, with the slate of services and timing of their rollout still to be determined.
Also uncertain is the technology that will be used to show in-store inventory, though BikeRoar has had discussions about the function with outside vendors and is still deciding whether to use a third party or develop its own technology.
The site will be partially supported by manufacturer advertising, but dealer fees for premium services will be its primary source of revenue. “We don’t want to be too ad-based because consumers get burned out on that,” McBride said.
For smaller retailers, McBride asserts, BikeRoar’s premium services will be a viable substitute for a pricier dedicated shop website.
“I know what shops pay for a full-fledged website, and what we’re offering comes in way less for what dealers need to have,” he said. “We want the give the LBS an online edge.”