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QBP forbids sale of its brands through third-party online vendors

Published March 7, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) — Quality Bicycle Products is forbidding its dealers from selling its house brands —  including Surly, Salsa and others — through third-party online retail platforms like eBay and Amazon.

QBP informed its accounts of the new policy on Thursday. 

"We're enacting this policy to support our core customers, specialty bike retailers. Bike shops provide a human connection we believe is vital for an exceptional bicycle shopping experience. Third party marketplaces erode brands by framing products as commodities to be purchased at the lowest possible cost," a QBP letter to retailers said in part. "We expect to lose some business due to this policy but ultimately it supports our dealers, our brands, and our values as a company." 

QBP's house brands include: Salsa, Surly, All-City, 45North, Foundry, Civia, Whisky, MSW, Problem Solvers, Dimension, Mechanical Threads, R12, Q-Tubes, Quality Wheels, Cogburn, Buzzy's and iSSi.

The company named  Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Sears, Newegg, Rakuten and Wal-Mart as examples of third-party online platforms, but said the policy was not limited to those operations.

The new policy does not forbid sales of other products bought through QBP on third-party platforms. Nor does it forbid sales of the QBP brands through retailers' own websites.

QBP will cease sales of its brands’ products to accounts that violate the new policy,  said QBP product director Tim Gallant. “We will enforce this policy unilaterally, consistently, and fairly,” he said in a press release issued Friday. 

QBP owners Steve Flagg and Mary Henrickson own a majority of SmartEtailing, a company that develops e-commerce websites for bike shops.

QBP said it will begin enforcing the policy immediately but expects it to take a month or two before all its products are removed from the sites.

“In terms of talking to people and alerting them, we’re not going to come in aggressively," Todd Cravens, director of national accounts at QBP, told BRAIN on Friday. "We tend to start with trust with our customers, so we’d rather have a conversation than resort to more drastic measures.”

He added: “A wide variety of dealers do this (third-party online selling), but some are more active than others. We always want to work in partnership with people, so now people can start taking action.”

Topics associated with this article: Web/Internet, Distributor news

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