The era of the printed Quality Bicycle Products catalog has come to a close. And while the trusted resource will no longer make an annual trip to shops in paper form, its legacy as an essential shop business and operations tool will forge ahead online. We believe that focusing efforts exclusively on the well-established QBP.com dealer site will better serve shops with the superior format for communicating available inventory, tech, dealer account information, news, and more.
We continue to build resources to help specialty bike shops, often based on input from dealers themselves. “Customer feedback helps us make decisions and determine priorities when looking for ways to improve QBP.com. Whether the feedback comes in verbal form or is submitted electronically, it’s all evaluated and considered,” says Web Manager Josh Lindberg. Recent improvements include a better visual layout, enriched search functionality, more video and article content, increased access of related products and small parts, and better visibility to new products.
“We are willing to make special orders on your behalf for those odd and esoteric items no one likes to stock.”
– 1983 QBP Catalog, aka “Price List, Spring ’83”
The printed catalog “was an essential part of our growth and success,” says Larry Katz, long time employee and purchaser. “By providing all the important details of each product, the publication became known as the ‘industry bible’ long before QBP was the largest distributor.” Pouring over the new catalog was a ritual in countless shops, and for many shop employees, the first chance to see what manufacturers had been up to over the past year. It was also a chance for us to share QBP culture and values.
“We always tried to make our QBP print catalog not only a vehicle for sales and product info but also a means to communicate to dealers about who we are and what the cycling community means to us.”
– Steve Flagg, Leadership
Product Manager Jim Holst reminisces, “The QBP print catalog developed over time, not just as a parts ordering tool, but into a resource about what was compatible, which part was lighter, what they looked like, and much more. However, that information was just as simple to share online, and ordering off the site was much easier, so the need for print continually dwindled.” Eventually, splitting efforts between a static paper catalog and the fluid online dealer site made less sense, hence the decision to end the printed piece. Seeing that 95% of dealer orders are currently placed online, we also welcomed the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of producing a paper catalog.
QBP adopted internet technology early on, embracing its functionality before many others in the industry. Investing in the creation of QBP.com provided our dealers with information in real-time but more importantly, it gave them more free time to serve their customers.
The evolution of 35 years of QBP catalog content and design helps tell the story of the bicycle industry’s modern era. We’ve brought together covers and highlights, including the first 8-page photocopied “price list,” early versions of the website, all the way up to our final 2016 print catalog. Take a stroll down memory lane, and thanks to so many of you for coming along on the ride with us! Long live the QBP Catalog!