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Well, maybe not "VI dealers" as such, but the network is now expanding to the other side of the shop counter.
We all depend on parts dealers to keep our bikes running and, of course, the dealers depend on us for a living. That should be a pretty good foundation to build upon, right?
How can we make the Network benefit both sides? It could fall in the categories of Information, Cost, Availability and Testing. Read on...
Really basic, but VI readers can get to know a few "VI active" dealers a little better through the dealer pages and articles here, and come to think of them as kind of "their" dealers. That, in itself, will promote better contact between dealers and customers. Knowing your dealer (or customer, as the case may be) pretty good enables customers to choose the right place to go for specific parts and services, and the dealers to supply it. This is becoming increasingly important as the www shrinks the world, and dealer & customer may find themselves on different continents.
Further, staying in touch will keep VI Listers and readers updated on the latest parts (and maybe even what's in stock at a given dealer at a given time) long before the next round of printed catalogs come out -or, dare I say it- long before the dealers' websites are updated. Kind of the way things have been working so far, with articles on new parts, only more so.
Second, there is collective buying power. Just making the dealers recognize VI as a pool of customers should make us attractive for discounts and other benefits. Of course the dealers would get direct access to a group of friendly potential customers, again balancing things out to make everybody happy.
Working together has other advantages too. We, as customers, stand alone with just catalogs in hand, and even more vulnerable when facing swap meet vendors. Together we can call for new products, and give the small repoppers a market to survive in. The dealers in the Network could serve as retail outlets for some of the parts that VI projecteers are developing.
Networking dealer could also possibly pool orders to get prices down. Like a group of dealers ordering, say 1000 sets of spokes would make it possible to sell them for less than if each dealer ordered 10 sets. This could become one of the major breakthrougs in getting volume up and, consequently, prices down.
The next benefit is availability. What's the biggest chore in resurrecting an Indian? Searching. Dealers already network among themselves, and even when a distributor is out of stock on a common item, they have the most alternatives at hand. Locating a VI active dealer in your region could cut repair down-time by minimizing shipping delays, not to mention assisting in returns and refunds.
And, as mentioned above, networking dealers could also make some of the VI projecteer parts available worldwide over the counter. That would be a nice case of the different branches of the VI Network supporting each other. Parts developed with the help of the Exchange system or with the use of Project Blueprint, Test Pilots doing their bit and feeding back, VI Dealers taking on retailing.
And, finally, we will have a forum for testing parts and their sources. Opinions can be sorted out, buyers can voice their grievances or warnings, dealers can speak on their own behalf, and distributors can spot problems before faulty lots of hardware are sold globally.
But all of these are just suggestions.
As things stand now, this new part of the VI Network is wide open for participating
dealers to shape more or less as they wish, so let's have some feedback
and let's see some more dealers join Liberty as VI Network supporters!
Dealers (so far):
VI Dealer Network:
Get to know your dealer
Gang up for bargains & getting new parts made
Communicate to solve problems