Responding to the increased online presence of (and perhaps pressure from) its dealer network, Kawasaki no longer will sell accessories on www.buykawasaki.com.
The online catalog is still there, but instead of offering a shopping cart, it allows consumers only the ability to create "wish lists" that they can print out and take to their local dealer.
"A survey we conducted recently revealed that almost 40 percent of our dealers have a functional e-commerce site," says Jim Williams, senior manager for Kawasaki Accessories. "Of the dealers that do not currently have an online sales presence, 29 percent indicated that they intend to establish one. This was a key element in our decision to take a fresh look at this end of the business." Williams credits the growing affordability of Web services for the emigration to virtual selling.
Launched in 2000, Kawi's old system allowed online buyers to choose a supporting dealership, which received 60 percent of the normal dealer margin for each sale.
"Even with this relatively generous revenue sharing model, most dealers would prefer to service the consumer at the dealership or through their own website," Williams notes. "This new approach affords them full margin as well as an opportunity to upsell."
Online Kawi dealers do their own stocking and shipping. "Dealers will now handle [all] accessory sales in the traditional way," Williams explains.
Kawasaki is offering the digital data only to Web providers. "Our current practice is to work through established third parties, as we believe this represents the most cost-effective solution for a majority of our dealers," Williams says.