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Zwift invests in enhancing IBD experience with indoor cycling

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Zwift is ramping up its retailer experience program this year with an emphasis on driving customers to IBDs armed with more knowledge and a membership teaser to join the simulated riding game.

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Ian Moir, Zwift Experience dealer manager, said at Eurobike on Friday that the software company is making a significant push to educate IBDs about indoor training in general and Zwift in particular. The Zwift Membership Card program has existed the past two years, but this year it’s just one part of an enhanced dealer experience initiative.

Zwift will add a functional dealership locator on its website. It will list IBDs that feature the Zwift test-ride program, essentially a bike trainer connected to the software platform projected on a monitor. A web-based dealer training portal is in the works, too, Moir said, featuring incentives for dealers to complete their Zwift education.

“We have people asking, ‘How can I try Zwift, and where can I try Zwift? What do I need to buy to use Zwift, and where do I go to buy it?'” Moir said. “We’re trying to do what we can through our test-ride program with our hardware partners to help drive customers into these stores where they can get their questions answered and get the best setup.”

Moir said the content will be Zwift-focused, but also feature basic indoor training information. For example, defining the difference between erg and sim modes, and explaining what an Ant+ plug-in is and why you need it for a laptop application.

“This is about equipping retailers with the tools they need to ease the journey for their customers,” he said. “The membership cards are just one part of that. Indoor training for most people is still not a simple, straight forward proposition. You need a fair amount of hardware.”

The cards (for three- or 12-month subscriptions) are prepaid and wholesale-priced that IBDs get from Zwift’s North American distributors, primarily Trek, HLC, QBP and most trainer manufacturers. Moir said they are essentially gift cards that are offered to customers.

“Our original intent with the cards was to open a lot of doors with the bike-shop test-ride stations, trying to sell Zwift, but most importantly to connect the dots with our customers.”

Moir said Zwift has 1,200 dealers full-time globally. That number peaks at 2,000 when seasonal IBDs set up Zwift on their floor, usually September through February. Normally, those are smaller IBDs who can’t commit the floor space needed for a year-round display.

He said the retailer test-ride stations have experienced close to 50 percent growth every year, mainly driven by hardware partners like Wahoo, Saris, Elite and Tacx.

“We are relying pretty heavily on our distribution partners and their sales reps to do most of the marketing,” Moir said. “This winter, we’ll be in a position to invest more time and money and resources.”

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