Here's a quick-hit Q&A with Anthony Bucci. These were a few more questions we had for Bucci after interviewing him for our story about RevZilla Motorsports, the e-commerce powersports retailer he co-founded with friends Nick Auger and Matthew Kull. Click here to read our original story.
Dealernews: Why is video so important for an e-commerce site?
Anthony Bucci: Video allows us to better inform our customers. It creates an additional medium for product research that can be absorbed without a phone call and at the customer’s complete leisure. We can also add our own expertise and personality to the videos. It expands the relationship with our customer. We have found that a mix of being very serious combined with some tongue-in-cheek humor has been a great combo.
DN: What makes Revzilla different from its competition?
Bucci: We are probably more technology heavy than our competition and through that have a very lean, agile and scalable operation. We also will go to extreme lengths for customers to provide the best experience — without handing the reigns to Amazon or a third party. That combo has been a great one-two punch for us when reinforcing our online shopping experience.
DN: Why are online retailers so vilified by traditional brick-and-mortar retailers?
Bucci: Selling online is easy. Selling online well by truly satisfying customers and remaining operationally profitable is very difficult. We focus on brands that are typically price protected through MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policies.
In my opinion the physical retailer always has the upper hand when a customer walks in to buy [one of these MAP protected products]. As long as they are stocking it, the customer can leave with it and the retailer can potentially choose to incentivize the customer via price to make that face-to-face sale. In my mind those factors really make the customer who is standing in the retailer’s shop theirs to lose.
As an Internet player we can fill the regional gaps all day long, but when we are getting customers who have a local bike shop nearby and our price adheres to MAP policies, some dealer somewhere isn’t stocking the right products or doesn’t have the right staff. The ball is being dropped. The flip side of that coin is the inertia of more and more consumers getting comfortable with starting, and eventually finishing, their research/buying process online.
I think the vilification of online retailers from brick-and mortar-bike shops is appropriate in many cases where other more unscrupulous online retailers lead with backdoor discounting. I think they also assume that the big online guys like us, Bike Bandit and Motorcycle Superstore must be secretly discounting product or undercutting them, when in actuality, discounting (other than closeout merchandise) is something that none of us focus on.
Further frustration comes from a lack of understanding of the complexities of how someone like us operates. The truth is that we strive to provide stellar selection, product knowledge and service and will always try to be competitive without breaking MAP [policies].
The other sticking point relates to how competitive the online landscape has gotten, even in the last three years. At this point, there is no way to easily or cheaply limp in.