By Adam Newman
Specialized is warning local bike shops that a new app from Amazon.com could seriously undercut their business. In a letter to dealers from Specialized’s founder and president Mike Sinyard warns that the app, which allows customers to scan a bar code and find an item for sale online and make the purchase from their phone – often cheaper than in the store – would effectively turn a local bike shop into a fitting room for online retailers.
The Amazon.com cycling storefront includes "featured brands" Mavic, Crank Bros., Yakima, Thule, Diamondback, and Schwinn. Shimano and Pearl Izumi are other major brands sold through Amazon.
In the letter, Sinyard tells dealers that by ordering, stocking, and servicing these brands, they are supporting Amazon.com’s sales while undercutting their own. Specialized even produced a video demonstrating exactly how the app is used.
As a sign of Amazon.com’s commitment to cycling sales, it recently hired Paul Calandrella away from Specialized and named him Senior Vendor Manager for Cycling.
On of the major brands also sold on Amazon, Easton-Bell Sports – maker of Bell and Giro helmets and apparel – recently brought a lawsuit against Specialized, alleging that the Specialized was encouraging dealers not to stock Bell and Giro products. That lawsuit has since been withdrawn.