On July 21, Harley-Davidson announced the first step in a new online customer engagement initiative in the form of its H-D1 Marketplace. The online platform consolidates searching, selling, and purchasing pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles across North America. Supported by its extensive dealer network and backed up by the Harley-Davidson Certified program, the brand builds the H-D1 Marketplace for anyone looking for “that special” pre-owned Harley-Davidson.
It’s no secret that Harley-Davidson, America’s oldest motorcycle brand, has been struggling. The brand’s once loud reputation has quieted down as it’s struggled to attract younger riders. Harley styles the launch as the spearpoint in the process of overhauling its website. “The launch of H-D1 Marketplace is the first step towards our ambitious transformation of H-D.com into the leading online destination for everything Harley-Davidson,” said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President, and CEO of Harley-Davidson.
Zeitz’s statement rings with high hopes for the guttering brand. Here’s what it all means.
H-D1 Marketplace: Overview and Capability for Customers
Zeitz continues to describe the Marketplace, gradually zeroing in on its utility. “The H-D1 Marketplace platform will connect our customers, community, and our strong dealer network, with the goal to become the largest marketplace for pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the United States,” the CEO said.
Launching first in the USA, the H-D1 Marketplace will start by including every pre-owned Harley-Davidson available at participating dealers. The platform also supports financing, giving customers access to the brand’s in-house financial services, which it calls “industry-leading.” Also, customers will be able to use the network to sell their own bikes through the “Sell My Bike” feature.
Struggling Harley: Charting a New Course
The explicit goal for the Marketplace and Harley’s broader branding initiative — called the Hardwire Strategic Plan — is to engage its customers. The company’s struggles with reaching younger audiences has been a long-lived and persistent headline, even despite a recent sales uptick.
The brand says, “Customer experience is a key element of the Hardwire Strategic Plan, designed to enhance our position as the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world. The Hardwire puts customers at the forefront of our products, experiences, and investments. Our goal is to seamlessly engage with customers, creating a meaningful, unique, and personalized experience with Harley-Davidson, every day.”
Based on an initial cruise of the new H-D1 Marketplace, it looks helpful if not totally unique. There are plenty of customer utilities, and the search function is a breeze. But so far, there’s not a whole lot else to talk about. Then again, it’s still early. Time will tell whether Harley can pull itself up by the self-branded bootstraps.
To check out the new marketplace, click here.