The Piaggio Group continues to tinker with the traditional dealership model, launching a new e-commerce website to support the Moto Guzzi brand in the US.
What exactly is an e-commerce website? Does Moto Guzzi plan to sell its motorcycles online? Not exactly, it seems, at least not for now. Skimming through the Guzzi press release, it seems the plan is to conduct much of the pre-sales process (financing application, etc.) through this new website. For motorcycles, at least, the dealership seems to be planned as the final point of sale—indeed, that is required in many jurisdictions. Here’s how Moto Guzzi’s press release puts it:
With the addition of an online retail platform, Moto Guzzi USA supports the needs of future owners with resources to shop models and accessories, customizing their purchase experience, and ultimately connecting with a dealership that can manage their needs with clear direction, and in a timely manner from a digital storefront accessible 24/7.
As a tool to prospective owners, and authorized Moto Guzzi dealerships, the Moto Guzzi online store can assist in qualifying customers for finance options and current sales promotions, allowing dealerships to anticipate stocking needs before inventory even leaves their dealership.
It seems likely the new online platform will have increased focus on sales for parts, accessories and clothing, as those markets are much less closely-regulated than new vehicle sales. The release says “Additionally, the e-commerce solutions have grown awareness and interest in authorized Moto Guzzi accessories, as well as apparel and technical riding gear.” Realistically, these can be big money-makers for dealers, but if stock doesn’t sell, it adds a lot of inefficiency into the system. Moto Guzzi says it wants to work out logistics issues, and online sales may help with that.
Some dealers may not be happy, though, as Piaggio Group moves in this direction. Remember, the group announced a similar move for Aprilia earlier this year. While some dealers have done well in the World of COVID-19, not all have, and this move to centralize retail income may turn some shops off Piaggio Group’s brands. Or maybe it will make it easier for smaller outfits to carry Guzzi, Vespa, Piaggio and Aprilia, as they’ll have less overhead? We’ll see.