Scorpion Sports decides against sales to Amazon

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After supplying products directly to Amazon for resell, Scorpion Sports has ended the relationship to avoid ill will among its dealers.

Dealernews recently became aware that Amazon was selling Scorpion products alongside dealers in the online marketplace. We contacted Scorpion Sports for a comment, and the company replied via e-mail.

“Amazon was an experiment in helping raise brand awareness and potentially reach consumers in areas where Scorpion products would not normally be available via our dealer partners,” company president Rick Miller stated. “We felt this was an option that needed to be explored during these tough economic times.

“As the home of the brand,” Miller continued, “Scorpion is an innovative and forward-thinking company. We are constantly looking at new ways to promote and create brand awareness, and it was hoped that Amazon could be an effective promotional tool. However, after much consideration and discussion, rather than risk the negative perception among our dealers, the Scorpion/Amazon relationship has since been terminated.”

Amazon continues to sell its Scorpion inventory in its Motorcycle & ATV department, which launched in 2008. Amazon sells roughly 150 other brands in the department, including Arrowhead, Bell, K&N, THH Helmets, VCAN and Vega, though some of the brands appear to be supplying only a small number of discontinued items.

Several dealers also use Amazon to sell a much wider variety of brands. Amazon even lists a few vendors as sellers, such as Two Brothers Racing and LeoVince (in the latter case dealers fulfill the orders through Shopatron).

Scorpion Sports is one of the great success stories of the past decade. Eric Anderson and South Korea's Kido Sports founded the brand in 2004, and J.D. Power's annual helmet satisfaction study soon rated it as one of the country’s top five brands.

Early on, Anderson promoted the company’s dedication to dealer-direct sales as good for retailers. More recently, however, the company has been selling to consumers via its website. And last summer it began supplying helmets to Tucker Rocky, though Scorpion Sports remains the only source for both helmets and apparel. About the same time, Scorpion dismissed Anderson.

Most dealers we spoke with at last summer’s Tucker Rocky dealer show were thrilled about the addition of Scorpion. They saw the brand as a good replacement for KBC, which Tucker had stopped carrying.

But one dealer said she was concerned about Scorpion’s ability to continue to enforce its MAP policy for helmets. A Scorpion rep tells us the company has an understanding with Tucker to enforce the policy jointly.

Despite the tough economy, Scorpion is shipping to dealers — this month and next — a large selection of new helmets and apparel for 2010. Visit www.scorpionusa.com to see what’s coming.