Cover Story: Full Speed Ahead
"It may be a slow shift, but I think it's one that people will be more comfortable with once they can see the benefit of the website," says Tim Barcz, e-commerce manager at J&P. "We can offer infinitely more SKUs on the website — multiple pictures per SKU, as well as additional information — than we can in our catalogs. If you're looking at a particular helmet, maybe there's a sizing chart specific to the product from the manufacturer that we want to show you. We can do that."
J&P Cycles isn't forgetting about retail. The company is exploring the possibility of opening stores in more locations, including Canada, where it has a strong customer base. Future endeavors also call for a push into the mobile space, as well as continuing efforts to monetize its social media presence — J&P has Facebook and MySpace fan pages and a Twitter account.
While not your typical social media crowd, bikers are slowly adopting the emerging channels. During its recent open house, for example, J&P posted pictures to its Twitter account in real time and drew a steady stream of traffic to the site. Knowing that social media is the wave of the future, J&P wants to make sure it's there when its customers arrive.
"Our demographic is in its mid-40s and up, so that's not your Twitter crowd quite yet," Barcz says. "However, we do know that that generation is the largest growing audience on Facebook. So we're making sure that when our customer base does get to Facebook that we're there already."
J&P is still in an exploratory phase when it comes to mobile marketing. It's currently working with vendors to develop technology that'll allow consumers to use their mobile phones to take pictures of products in its retail stores, then have the information on those products automatically downloaded onto their phones. The company also ensures that every email it sends is formatted to display properly on mobile phones.