It looks like motorcycle e-commerce is here to stay, at least in the US. Aprilia USA has a new online shopping portal, and it seems to be part of the company’s long-term plan.
It’s not as wild an idea as you might think. While the dealership experience is expected, even legally mandated in some regions, it wasn’t always that way. Decades ago, catalogs like Montgomery Ward used to sell bikes. More recently, the Chinese motorcycle invasion of the early 2000s saw thousands of bikes sold online and drop-shipped to customers. Some of those riders were very happy with their purchase, and others were burned by the process. When they needed support (parts or repair), it wasn’t there from the retailer. Customers without self-sufficiency were left holding the bag.
With that in mind, Aprilia’s new business model isn’t intended to replace its dealer network. That would create ill feelings with dealers, and it would be illegal in some jurisdictions as well. Some regional governments require vehicles have a dealer at the point of sale. So, Aprilia’s online platform is intended to work with dealers. Aprilia says the new online portal
provides a resource to better serve the demands of customers, while putting them in direct contact with authorized Aprilia dealerships. Giving the dealer network the ability to adapt to individual requests in advance, quickly and with the benefit of limiting contact, provides a better experience for the end customer, minimizing delays and increasing safety measures.
With the E-commerce platform, interested shoppers can browse all current vehicles and model options, as well as accessory and apparel options, with the ability to have the order serviced by an authorized Aprilia dealership.
As an additional resource to the dealership network, and the prospective Aprilia owner, the Aprilia Online Store will help pre-qualify interested parties for special financing and promotions. This assists to support each dealership in facilitating individual customer needs and preferences, while managing allocation and restocking orders in a more timely and effective manner.
So, if you start the sales journey online, you can get information on the bikes, accessories and apparel that Aprilia has for sale, without wasting a sales rep’s time. The online portal can help with financing decisions as well. Then, a dealership can help you with the final sale.
In the press release, Mario Di Maria, the big boss at Piaggio Group Americas says “… it is important for us to provide resources that are in line with the business evolution, and we know this step will assist to increase brand satisfaction, dealer experience, and as a result customer loyalty.”
Will it increase brand satisfaction? Hard to say, but it’s certainly true that this is where the moto industry is headed. During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, most OEMs in the US explored online sales options, and many dealerships also moved into the world of e-commerce. It’s the way of the future for all motorcycle brands, as profit margins tighten and people move more and more of their retail life online.
To see the new Aprilia e-commerce portal, visit https://storeusa.aprilia.com/.