Rebecca Morley catches up with Intense Europe managing director Werner Kastenauer and UK rider experience manager Jonny Howe to find out more about the Demo and Service Centre scheme
This piece first appeared in the July edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
The bike retail environment has seen lots of change over the last few years, with consumers modifying the way they shop and stores facing new and unforeseen challenges that have caused them to shake up how they operate. Intense is on the lookout for quality independent bike shops to become part of its network of exclusive Demo and Service Centres throughout Europe and the UK.
The process is as follows: the customer visits your shop, demos a bike for a demo fee, and then receives a discount code from the shop that’s the same as the demo fee. The customer can then buy their bike on the Intense website using the code and the bike is sent to the shop to be built. They then ride away and return to the shop for spares, warranty, service, etc, becoming a loyal and valued customer.
The scheme was first piloted in the UK in 2021 with Bad Ass Bikes near Bristol and Brilliant Bikes in Surrey, Intense Europe managing director Werner Kastenauer told BikeBiz.
“Every dealer that we talked it through with saw that they could buy from a very iconic brand that has been around for now over 30 years, and offer a bike that’s competing up with other brands but there’s a more value based price point, is just an enticing business proposition for them.
“Once they understand the concept, they realise it makes sense for them as a dealer, for the consumer and for Intense as a brand.”
Intense Europe/UK saw major restructuring in 2019 and is now solely owned by Intense HQ in California. It has been a direct sales brand since 2020, which it says has enabled it to offer great products at very competitive prices. Intense was previously distributed here by Saddleback, and Kastenauer described the transition to direct-to-consumer as “nice, friendly and smooth” and the “most professional transition I’ve ever seen”.
The Demo and Service Centre scheme is easy to implement, requiring minimal space and stock, said Intense, and the brand asks that all centres carry a minimum of two demo bikes, at a cost of full retail minus up to 35%. If a demo customer decides to buy an Intense bike through the shop you will receive 10%-15% of the sale minus the demo fee (and VAT). Intense will provide you with a special one-time code for the customer commission. You do not need to carry any stock as all bikes are sent directly from Intense.
“There isn’t actually any transaction of money between the customer and the shop,” explained UK rider experience manager Jonny Howe. “It can take shops a little while to get their head around it but when they’ve done it once or twice, it’s actually super simple for them.”
Intense wants to keep the barrier of entry as low as humanly possible, added Kastenauer. “We want to think through each touch point in the process, make it as easy for them.
“It enables them to actually run their standard operation and then just add another brand, another opportunity for an increased product portfolio without actually increasing any of their operational expenses.”