Trade Group Says Professional Agreements Platform ExpertVoice Is Incompatible With Specialty Retail

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(BRAIN) – An outdoor industry trade group is urging specialty retailers to reconsider their relationships with vendors who use the ExpertVoice professional bidding platform. The group, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, says ExpertVoice erodes brand value by turning consumers into discount buyers.

GOA says ExpertVoice provides industry offerings to more than just industry insiders. Consumers who join groups such as the International Mountain Bicycling Association may be eligible, he notes. And formerly eligible industry insiders remain “permanently” on ExpertVoice’s books, GOA said. ExpertVoice disputes both of these allegations.

“After extensive review and discussion, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is of the view that vendors cannot co-exist on ExpertVoice and Specialty Retail because our business models are incompatible,” reads a GOA position paper.

“For the long-term success of our businesses and our industry, specialty retailers must partner with vendors who are also committed to a level playing field in an omnichannel marketplace,” he continued.

ExpertVoice contradicted the group’s facts and argument, noting that participating brands choose which of its “expert” members get discounts. He also said he purges his expert roster of 40,000 names every month.

“No brand is targeting the 1 million experts because that’s not how our platform works,” Tom Stockham, CEO of ExpertVoice, said in a statement.

“Our Top 100 Brand Partners have each engaged an average of 25,000 experts over the past 12 months. Our next 100 Brand Partners have each engaged approximately 7,000 experts. Additionally, a given brand may target different groups of experts for different campaigns. For example, a large group to raise awareness, or a small group of elite experts to help shape their product line.”

Dozens of bike-related brands are on ExpertVoice, including Assos, Pearl Izumi, Limar helmets, Marin, Diamondback, Haibike, Tern, WTB and e*thirteen, to name a few. In addition to IMBA, USA Cycling members are eligible for certain ExpertVoice offers.

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