With all this talk about alternative vs. established sales schemes in the motorcycle industry, it seems fitting that we hear now that Kawasaki has decided to take its Costco sales referral program nationwide. We reported a while back that Kawasaki was teaming up with Costco, in a program that saw the wholesale supply chain acting as a sales lead for local dealers. At the time, the program was only in the trial phase, but it seems now Team Green liked the results, and has decided to take the program across the US.
The idea of the Costco Customer Referral Program is pretty simple really. Kawasaki dealers put a bike on display at their local Costco warehouses, which then serves as a vehicle (no pun intended) for new sales that Costco sends back to the dealer. The deal is a win for Kawi dealers, as it increases their exposure, and it’s a win for Costco as well, at the company adds one more perk to being a Costco member (Costco makes the majority of its revenue off membership sales, not item sales).
For shoppers, it’s a pain-free experience as buyers have an up-front price for their motorcycle purchase, and also receive a $250 gift card good at any Costco warehouse (imagine how much pizza that could buy). As a part of the nationwide roll-out, Costco members will be able to purchase Kawasaki’s complete line of motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft, and utility vehicles, and we hear dealers not involved in the trial program are eager to enroll with the Costco sales scheme.
We like this bold move by Kawasaki as far as exploring new ways of selling their product (it probably helps that were avid Costco fans too). The interesting thing to contrast here is not only how the pressures of the recession are making OEMs rethink things about their business, but also a glimpse on how and how not to play with sales distribution models in the motorcycle industry. It will be interesting to see if other manufacturers hop on-board, and whether Kawasaki has an exclusive agreement with Costco (Honda’s at Sam’s Club anyone?).