I recently read several well-known motorcycle enthusiast magazines, one right after another when I noticed something that kept jumping out and slapping me in the face.
All of the magazines reviewed several accessories or clothing. They did a great job of investigating the products and informing the reader about the advantages and foibles. I also noted that every single one of them had the web addresses of the company either manufacturing or selling the product. I understand that a manufacturer’s website might have some more useful information, however, not one of these articles ever stated that the reader should drop into their local dealer to purchase these wonderful new products. Not one.
Maybe I’m being oversensitive, but I’ve been accused of that before. My store is right here; my customers read these magazines. We are experts. We pay local taxes. We employ local people. We are face-to-face every day with the readers of these magazines, and we know what will work for them. None of these readers would even have a motorcycle if it wasn’t for the units that a dealer, at some time or another, sold to someone to ride and enjoy. We help our customers with their problems, and make sure they enjoy the sport we
Are we the bad guys here for some reason? Is there a reason that the magazines are refusing to send their readers directly to us? Often, we have spent millions of dollars building our locations and stocking them with parts and accessories so that we can make sure our clients are served well. We spend a lot of money and time sponsoring racers and events. Many of us sell these magazines in our stores. Yet these same magazines seldom seem to send any customers our way. Why is that?
As I’ve pointed out before, many of the internet powersports companies are fronts for distributors who cut us out of the loop, selling direct to our customers, making more money by doing so. They often have a small staff, and many of them don’t even get the merchandise in until they get an order from the retail client. They have to stock nothing to have a viable business.
Many of the ad sales people of these very same magazines call me every month, wanting me to advertise either directly or as part of a group ad. After this last bit of research, I have decided to never do so again. If they wish to send my clients elsewhere, then so be it; I’m not going to be a party to it.
So please tell me: why is it not a given that every magazine sends their readers to our stores? We are the nexus. We are the hub. We are a huge part of the energy driving this industry. Pretty much every bike out there came from a dealership at some point. Why then, do magazines send our customers to some website for purchase, and not once even mentioning that a local dealership could help them get this product? Many of us have had a hard time over the last few years, and it would sure be nice if the magazines sent more readers our way.
But the web stores advertise in our magazines, they say. I realize that the print business is having its own challenges these days. But all of us are having challenges. Surely there is room in these articles to at least mention that your local dealership not only can get you the same product, but they may have some excellent advice as well.