Huffy bike maker growing: Dayton CEO shares future e-commerce plans

Huffy Corp.’s CEO says the company is evolving to stay ahead in an e-commerce world, whether that’s starting to sell on Ebay or launching a self-assemble bike that can be ordered online.

The key to Huffy’s success has been its willingness to adapt to change, whether its the decline of the sewing machine or the rise of e-commerce, said Bill Smith, the chief executive of the locally-based bike brand, speaking at a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce event this morning.

Huffy, now based in Centerville, has been in the area for 125 years and is preparing to move to a larger headquarters in Miami Township that will give the company 40 percent more space to design and showcase its sample bikes.

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Smith said it doesn’t mean the company is less focused on bricks-and-mortar retail, it just means the company is expanding so its selling bikes all the ways people want to buy bikes.

“We are fast and aggressively moving into this new distribution channel and we will be available where consumers want to shop,” Smith said.

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Smith outlined some of the ways the company is adapting to the current retail environment and the demands of online shopping, including:

  • Next year, Huffy plans to launch an easy-to-assemble bike line that requires no tools for the consumer to put it together.
  • The self-assembly is good for stores but even better for selling online, Smith said. "Everything literally snaps into place," he said.
  • The company just launched an e-commerce initiative so it can become a bicycle supplier in China, where most of its products are manufactured. "So we will use e-commerce as a new marketing vehicle to enter markets where we didn't have a presence," Smith said.
  • He said they are looking at ways to work with mom-and-pop bike dealers, which have the potential to become service shops and distribution centers for all of its e-commerce business. "Where if you wanted to buy a bike online, but you didn't want it delivered to the house, you could have it shipped to your local dealer. They could assemble it. And they could deliver it to you on Saturday when your home," Smith said.
  • Huffy also just opened a store on Ebay last week.
  • Smith also predicted the U.S. will see electric bikes become popular in the next decade. "They are very popular in Europe and they are very popular in China but have not really made it to the U.S. but when they do we will be in the forefront," Smith said.

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