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March 12, 2007 – E-commerce acquisitions announced

March 12, 2007
Filed under Features

INDIANAPOLIS — Three powersports companies made bids to become greater presences in the industry’s growing e-commerce business with acquisitions or partnerships.
All three moves were announced at the Dealer Expo. They included:

  • the company that owns CycleTrader.com acquired the largest Web site provider to dealers, PowerSports Network;
  • ARI, an electronic parts catalog and dealer marketing services provider, purchased OC Net, an e-commerce provider to dealers; and,
  • an online partnership between Marshall Distributing and 50 Below was formed, enabling dealers to offer an online store for Marshall products.
    The PowerSports Network move figures to impact the largest number of dealers, at least initially. The Network, which currently has more than 2,100 customers, was purchased by Dominion Enterprises. Dominion, which is based out of Norfolk, Va., has its roots in printing, having published Cycle Trader, Boat Trader and other such publications. During the past 10 years, the company has added Internet advertising to its portfolio, creating such Web sites as Cycletrader.com., Homes.com and TraderOnline.com
    “Now we think we can better serve our customers by providing more services that go beyond just purely advertising,” said Rick Murchake, vice president of Dominion’s Vehicle Web Services division.
    Dominion takes over a company that, according to Network officials, has doubled its customer base every year since its founding in 1998.
    “We developed some things that PSN has not yet developed, so they are going to be able to take advantage of those for the powersports and marine industries,” Murchake said.
    Those developments could include online lead generation and data distribution, where dealers’ inventories are sent to a number of different classified advertising sites and search engines.
    Murchake said no fee increases are currently planned for PSN, but “as we roll out additional features, some of those could include fees.”
    Murchake also said dealers should notice no changes in PSN’s operation. The senior management, including founders Nick Avgoulas, Steve Weiner and Kevin Brandenburg, will remain with the company as will the rest of the current employees.
    Another online acquisition announced at the Expo was ARI’s purchase of OC Net, a California-based company that currently provides online selling capabilities to roughly 300 powersports dealerships.
    Dave Perry, ARI’s director of marketing, said OC Net offers online whole goods catalogs, which will pair nicely with ARI’s online parts catalogs.
    “The (OC Net) sites are built for e-commerce,” Perry said. “You can use them as a dealer locator, but they’re really built for e-commerce. Dealers who buy it will sell directly off their Web sites 24-7.”
    Another industry move aimed at improving e-commerce was the partnership between Marshall and 50 Below.
    The partnership allows Marshall Distributing’s “Ultra” dealers to have an online store with browsable catalogs at no cost. Each “Ultra” dealer can upgrade their online store so consumers can shop the catalog via an enabled shopping cart for $50 per month. This upgrade also allows dealers to market their online store outside the Marshall Distributing dealer locator.
    The consumer will actually buy from the dealer’s Web site, not from Marshall Distributing, meaning the dealer will still place the order with the distributor.
    50 Below currently offers similar services to select dealers for Parts Unlimited, Drag Specialties, Custom Chrome, Western Power Sports and World of PowerSports. It also offers online stores branded for select Arctic Cat, BRP and Polaris dealers. psb

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