Keywords: buy online,open

Online store

Gerard Vroomen - 09-Jan-2017
If you've been to our site lately, you may have noticed we now have an online store. Which reminds me of when we started setting up our European office in Switzerland with Cervélo ten years ago. A few of the Canadians came over and we hired a few Swiss people.

I won't say that the Swiss don't have humor, but let's say it's less common. I remember many occasions where I would make a quip, only to be taken seriously and watch the whole discussion go on a crazy tangent. Anyway, our first supply chain manager was particularly humorless (our second one was fantastic, just in case you're reading). 

At one point she suggested we put our inventory online so all the stores could see what we have, and one of the Canadians said "This internet thing, I think it's a fad, I don't think it will ever take off". Obviously a joke, but the supply chain manager proceeded to "defend" the internet and sell its virtues. "Nah", said the Canadian, "I don't think so, next you're going to tell me that some day people are going to buy products directly on the internet." "But they already do, I bought a plane ticket online the other day", the supply chain manager exclaimed in complete exasperation, "they do!" "No, I don't think so", "Yes, really" .... This seriously went on for five minutes. Shame on me as a manager to let it continue but I was just flabbergasted. And of course, it is just one more example why the OPEN route - small, simple, no employees - is much more suitable to me.

Anyway, ten years later, it seems the internet is not a fad and we introduce an online store. The reason behind it is twofold:

The first reason is generic and philosophical: It's not the companies but the customer who decides where to buy. That doesn't mean companies have to offer their wares everywhere, but it's slightly patronising to tell the customer where they should buy. So in my opinion, a company should offer the options that make sense (Walmart does not make sense to us) and then the customer can decide (and if that customer insists on buying a bike at Walmart, it simply won't be an OPEN and both sides should be OK with that).

What is important is that between the channels that the company chooses, it doesn't play favorites. Don't try to move customers to your own stores at the expense of your 3rd party retailers, don't push from physical store to webshop, etc. The brand should be "channel-agnostic" as Patagonia, the responsible apparel company that pioneered much of this, calls it. After all, the customer decides.

The second reason is very specific to OPEN: We cannot have more bike shops than Andy (a Swiss guy WITH a sense of humor) can service, which means there are lots of consumers on this planet who don't find themselves anywhere near an OPEN retailer. These people contact us already, and we help them decide what's best for them, which model, which size, which options, etc.

Then we either connect them to a bike shop that is at least in the same country or state, or if that doesn't work for some reason (because there is none, or because they have had bad experience with that shop, or whatever other reason), we sell to them direct. But this is a cumbersome process, especially the payment part. By having the online store, we can do this much more easily.

As an aside, people sometimes ask us why we can't ship to their local, non-OPEN store. There are a bunch of reasons for that, most of them related again to using our time efficiently (setting up a store for a single order is a lot more cumbersome than selling a single order to a consumer).

Anyway, when you use the online store to purchase a frame, you will notice it will ask you if you would like to have it shipped to one of our retailers or directly to you. It's up to you (channel agnostic!) and if that option is feasible for you, shipping via one of our retailers is likely the best choice for service, bike fit, bike assembly, etc.

"Oh, but you don't really mean that Gerard", I can hear some of you say. "In the end, you'd like to make the sale and the extra margin." While that is for sure a common thought, it really isn't a thought Andy and I are having for four reasons:

  1. We're already big enough, so we don't need to grow.
  2. OPEN retailers are a crucial element to our success. There are stores who really get behind OPEN, have demo bikes and educate our customers. They are fantastic representatives at the local level in a way that Andy and I never could be via email and Skype. Of course not every store falls into that category (yet), the Pareto rule applies here as well, but we continually work on getting better and better (as opposed to more and more) dealers.
  3. This extra margin also brings extra costs. I always ask brands who talk to me about going direct-to-consumer one simple question: "Do many of your retailers drive a Ferrari"? Of course the answer is no, so apparently there's not too much profit on the retail  side. "But that's because they have a building, etc, etc". True, but even if you look at the pure direct-to-consumer brands, even the bigger ones, their profit margins are pretty thin. They don't drive a Ferrari either.
  4. Selling direct instead of via a retailer costs time. And for Andy and I, time is our most valuable commodity (or to be exact, focus is our most valuable commodity, and direct sales are a killer for that too as they are very disruptive to our everyday work). So if a retailer saves us even a little bit of time, it's worth every penny of the margin he/she makes.
For small parts and apparel, the situation is a bit different. OPEN retailers generally don't sell our apparel, and it's hard for most to keep all our small parts in stock, so in the past we would mostly sell these things via email or at events. That process will be greatly simplified with the online store. Andy will talk a bit more about that in the next week or so.

And yes, unless we forget, we'll turn off the online store on Black Friday so everybody, Andy and I included, can go ride instead. For those (mostly non-Americans) who are not sure what this is all about, check out #optoutside.


Comments & Questions

Great! Very happy to be able to buy those parts (derailleur hanger etc) more easily. Good stuff!
Post #1 of 25. Posted by Claude on 09-Jan-2017 11:00:40 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1319]
Any leads on where to find some of the Orange touch-up paint? Love my U.P.! THANKS!
Post #2 of 25. Posted by Paul on 09-Jan-2017 11:38:45 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1320]
Since the orange hue tends to change slightly over time, the best match is usually found at a auto body repair shop with touch up paint.
Post #8 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 09-Jan-2017 15:44:17 GMT in reply to post #2 [1320<--1326]
NICE!! Where is that slick "MTB" Open tshirt?
Post #3 of 25. Posted by Travis Reid on 09-Jan-2017 12:32:43 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1321]
I mean "MTN" shirt - https://opencyc...about
Post #4 of 25. Posted by Travis Reid on 09-Jan-2017 12:34:00 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1322]
Old OPEN T-shirt. We started out with this OPEN MTN thing for OPEN Mountain, and that T-shirt is the MTN part of that.
Post #6 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 09-Jan-2017 15:42:35 GMT in reply to post #4 [1322<--1324]
The one you're wearing in your "about" page is the one I'm talking about. Would love to see that shirt for sale. The circle color scheme with MTN on the front and OPEN on the back. Or vice versa. Or even a version that is just the color circle with MTN on the front. I love the fact that you reply to these Gerard! Thanks!
Post #9 of 25. Posted by Travis Reid on 09-Jan-2017 15:50:01 GMT in reply to post #6 [1324<--1327]
Yep, I know which one you're talking about. Chance we'll make that again is pretty slim though. There are some like that in orange with a blue circle and a white OPEN, we're sold out of those too but some retailers may still have some. Anyway, I am sure at some point this year we'll have a few more T-shirts, and I'll hope you'll like them.
Post #11 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 09-Jan-2017 16:33:19 GMT in reply to post #9 [1327<--1330]
Of all the topics to talk to Gerard Vroomen about I'm talking about a tshirt.

Thanks a lot for the replies. I Love my UP! Keep up the great work!
Post #13 of 25. Posted by Travis Reid on 09-Jan-2017 18:07:33 GMT in reply to post #11 [1330<--1332]
Looking for a good clip on fender that I can take on and off easily for the UP. Getting a lot rain in Norcal these days. I have been using my old sks raceblades but while the back one fits okay, the front doesn't.

P.S. Bike is awesome.
Post #5 of 25. Posted by Matt Wyman on 09-Jan-2017 12:38:11 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1323]
I can't really recommend anything but I have put on my list an effort to try a whole bunch of fenders in the coming months.
Post #7 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 09-Jan-2017 15:43:16 GMT in reply to post #5 [1323<--1325]
okay. sks has an xl fender that fits up to 32 tires. i have not tried that fender yet. but i think the problem may still be the fork width
Post #10 of 25. Posted by Matt Wyman on 09-Jan-2017 16:24:50 GMT in reply to post #7 [1325<--1329]
Hi Gerard Vroomen, your blog made me laugh, nice one - all the best to you and Andy for 2017, love the way your company works.
Post #12 of 25. Posted by pvd on 09-Jan-2017 17:08:12 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1331]
Just need a crown race, unable to source one in the UK, any chance?

Post #14 of 25. Posted by Dan on 10-Jan-2017 08:54:38 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1333]
That's odd. It should match the headset though, is it a Cane Creek headset you have in there?
Post #15 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 10-Jan-2017 09:46:19 GMT in reply to post #14 [1333<--1334]
the one i have is damaged from removal, i have the stock rotor headset supplied with the frame, UK distributor stated that item is not a stock rotor item and was bespoke for Open frames
Post #16 of 25. Posted by Dan on 10-Jan-2017 15:14:46 GMT in reply to post #15 [1334<--1335]
Hi Dan, although the headset is Rotor, according to them the fork race is a standard Cane Creek piece, part number BAA0010S. Hope this helps, if not just send me a direct message with the link on the left.
Post #17 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 11-Jan-2017 09:20:29 GMT in reply to post #16 [1335<--1336]
Link to purchase touch up paint and OPEN Gear
Post #18 of 25. Posted by Steve Dakhlian on 03-Feb-2019 09:08:54 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18215]
Hi Steve, just go to the website and to the shop section. We just added some new T shirts and Hoodie also if you are intersted
Post #19 of 25. Posted by Andy Kessler on 06-Feb-2019 11:16:27 GMT in reply to post #18 [18215<--18219]
trikes for bad weather (including winter) and fairing, and electric assist for year-round mobility for our elders and winter safety for everyone
Post #20 of 25. Posted by ron mccurdy on 10-Jun-2019 12:45:39 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18583]
I've just purchased an original OPEN 1.0 frame in a large to build up as a project. Unfortunately the frame does not have a Cable guide under the BB shell so I'm not sure how the gear cable is routed for the rear Deraillleur.
Can you throw some light on this and tell me where I can buy a cable guide in the UK.
Post #21 of 25. Posted by Gary Evans on 27-Jul-2020 18:11:05 GMT in reply to blog [0<--22436]
Hi Gary, you can find the complete shift kit here (near the bottom): https://opencyc...ssory
Post #22 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 18-Aug-2020 11:46:42 GMT in reply to post #21 [22436<--22448]
have you guys fixed the poor carbon build quality of your frames?
Post #23 of 25. Posted by Ben Wyatt in Omaha on 16-Aug-2022 23:50:46 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24648]
Hi Ben, where would you get that idea?

Regards, Gerard.
Post #24 of 25. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 17-Aug-2022 08:41:20 GMT in reply to post #23 [24648<--24649]
I really, really don't need one more bike. But reading your story, now I want one and I want to spread the OPEN spirit all-around. Thanks for making my day!
Post #25 of 25. Posted by Gilles on 09-Jun-2023 13:53:21 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24805]