Trek’s Site Becomes Tour de Force

James Maguire

Updated · Aug 22, 2005

When the Trek Bikes Web site switched its software platform, it made an unusual change. The well-known seller of bikes and related gear moved from a custom-built platform — usually considered the most desirable solution — to a platform made by MarketLive.

Why the switch? “We had outgrown our old software,” says Tonja Green, Trek’s e-commerce manager. “Last year the site crashed almost every day during the Tour de France — we have such a surge in traffic at that time.”

Trek’s site is not its primary sales outlet. Instead, “We try to push as much business to our dealer channel as we can,” Green notes. The site sells items that aren’t sold at the retail level: key chains, mugs, posters, and similar paraphernalia.

Still, to handle site traffic and sell its peripheral inventory, Trek needs a robust solution — hence the migration to MarketLive. Among the reasons Trek chose MarketLive was the vendor’s customer service.

“There were other platforms that we thought could have fit the bill, but customer service is a number one priority for us,” Green says. “MarketLive had excellent follow-up, and the customer service has been great.”

The new platform went live in mid June.

“We set a very aggressive launch schedule, and we were only 13 days late, so I’m pretty pleased with that,” she says.

Promotional Tools
In moving to MarketLive, Trek has not completely moved away from a customized solution.

Marketlive has helped Trek deliver a reliable and highly customizable Web site.

“They did some customization with us that we were pleased with,” Green says. Trek has a database of images, and the MarketLive software allows consistent updating of site images. “We change it one time, and it doesn’t matter if we have it as the featured item or the category level, it’s all the same image — we can control the image from one spot.”

The MarketLive platform provides Trek with a handful of helpful promotional tools, Green says. These include the ability to track the response to print ads. If Trek hands out flyers at an event, with source code on the back, “When a consumer comes to the store and enters that code, we can tell how effective that printed material is based on how much redemption there is.”

MarketLive enables the Trek site to use “kickers” — an up-sell/cross-sell technique that offers related products and allows Trek to track where shoppers come from. “So you have a little bit more knowledge from a marketing standpoint as to what’s working and what’s not.”

Green finds the software easy to work with. MarketLive “gives us a lot of flexibility,” she says. If Trek wants to add or subtract a site category, “it’s a very simple admin tool — it’s very intuitive.”

Vital Statistics
Name: Trek Bicycle Corp.
Founded: 1976
Sales/revenues: N/A
Content management/storefront system: MarketLive
Database backend: SQL Server (for MarketLive)
Visitor analytics system: Google’s Urchin & MarketLive’s reporting
Affiliate technology provider: N/A
Ad server: N/A
Payment solutions provider: VeriSign Payflow Pro
Hosting provider: MarketLive for store and DataPipe for all other consumer sites (including product image hosting for store)
Number of tech staff: N/A
Number of employees: N/A
Key strategies:
• Not competing with channel partners.

• Choosing a platform vendor with excellent customer service.

• Tracking effectiveness of promotional ads with special codes.

James Maguire is a contributor to His column appears every Monday.

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