Arai Moves To Phase Out Mail Order And Internet Sales Of Its Helmets - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2001, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Arai Moves To Phase Out Mail Order And Internet Sales Of Its Helmets


In a move to try to eliminate internet dealers of its helmets, Arai has vowed to stop all mail order and internet sales of their helmets. What does this mean for you? This means that if you want an Arai helmet, you will have to visit your dealer and pay full retail price to buy one.

We urge you to contact Arai directly and let them know what you think of this policy. The contact information is as follows:

Roger Weston
Arai Americas
P.O. Box 9485
Daytona Beach, FL 32120
[email protected]
[email protected]

You can also contact John Walter at J&D Walter Distributing, a distributor of Arai helmets. Their phone number is (800)-TRY-ARAI.

Your voice in this matter can make a difference and we urge you to help us fight to keep prices down on Arai helmets.


(Daytona, FL) Arai Helmets Americas, Ltd. has taken a bold, and reportedly long and carefully considered, move to eliminate its helmets made during 9/01 and afterward being sold via mail order and Internet retail outlets. The reason, according to a statement from Roger B. Weston, President of the renowned helmet maker's North and South American operations, is basically a simple one: "to optimize the possibility that each and every Arai customer gets exactly what they are entitled to in terms of fit, size, comfort, noise levels, and the helmet's ability to do its job". In Arai's view, the best way for this to happen is when the specific helmet a rider is buying is fit to that rider's head by someone experienced in sizing and fitting helmets.

A helmet's job isn't just to be a pretty paint carrier, Weston said. "People buy an Arai with a lot of expectations, and we believe those expectations should be met - or exceeded - to the best of our ability. A person's opinion of Arai will be based on their experience with the helmet. If that helmet doesn't fit right, or is too noisy because it's a size or two too large, they will presume it is a fault of manufacture. The simple fact is mail order and Internet operations, by the nature of the way they do business, have less capability to address the individual rider's issues of fit, comfort and noise, among others, and how these factors can affect the helmet's ability to do its job properly."

Another concern is that a new rider, or one buying an Arai for the first time, may not know how the helmet should fit and may therefore accept the first helmet shipped to him, not realizing that another size and/or model might fit better and maximize future satisfaction with the helmet and the brand.

Anyone should be able to easily return a helmet that does not fit, but how do they know it doesn't fit? How loose is too loose? Written Instructions are a good guide, but are best used in consultation with an experienced fitter. It requires a selection of models and sizes, easily to hand, to optimize the fitting process.

A helmet that is too small will be returned because it is obviously too tight, but a helmet that is too large might be kept as it goes on easily and is comfortable at first, However, as the helmet is worn over time and begins to settle in, it may become too loose and noisy, leaving the impression that there are shortcomings in the helmet's desisn rather than that the helmet was to large to begin with.

"We know that some Arai mail-order customers tell us that because they have experience with our helmets, they already know their size and fit. We also know this is not universally true. Products change over the years, they evolve, so what might have worked perfectly a few years ago may not now. We have also learned that head shape is as important as head size in getting the proper helmet. As an example, our advertising and marketing person who's been with us for 17 years always wore a size Large Arai. His head size seemed to measure a perfect Large. But just two years ago, he was re-fitted " and now comfortably wears a Signet Medium. Last year, a well-known moto journalist who's been wearing and writing about Arai helmets for a number of years found that he, too, has been wearing a full size too large. When he was re-fitted he said he was 'amazed' at how quiet the helmet had 'suddenly' become. A helmet that's too large will be noisier. Unfortunately, these issues simply can't be fully addressed in the typical mail order or Internet retail scenario.

We wrestled long and hard internally with this; we looked at different sides of the argument. We knew we might take heat for it. We also felt we were right in what we're doing, that it is the best thing we could do for the person who buys an Arai helmet with a reasonable expectation of receiving all the benefits that were behind their purchase decision in the first place.

"Like most companies in the industry," Weston noted, "Arai's profits are made when its helmets are sold to its' distributors - not to retail dealers or consumers. If you think about it, high-volume mail order and Internet sales could be frosting on the cake for a company. So, this move will not increase Arai's margins and may even sacrifice some sales in the short term for the long term benefit of more satisfied consumers.

"We think there are definitely products that can best be sold via those outlets - which is why our decision is not, in any way, shape or form, an indictment or condemnation of mail order or Internet retailing. We just don't think that helmets - with all of the variables that can alter or affect their performance - are one of those products."

Weston noted the lavish praise heaped on Arai Helmets by the media and riders for their attention to detail, comfort, fit and quality, that Arai has ranked highest in customer satisfaction among helmet companies by J.D, Power And Associates for three years in a row. "Yet I fully expect some of these same people will now question or doubt that our reason for this move is to improve that level of satisfaction even further."

Hand in hand with Arai's decision is another one involving its retail dealer network. "This might not work if we didn't also have a solid plan in place to expand and develop our retail dealer network. We are pinpointing dealers across the country for detailed instructional seminars. We are preparing videos. We are committed to the concept of making every retail motorcycle store that has an Arai logo in the window or our helmets on the shelf THE place to go for proper, individual, one-on-one sizing and fitting of an Arai helmet." {END}

Last edited by ConqSoft; 12-06-2001 at 07:55 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2001, 07:53 AM
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Simple Fix...

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2001, 08:41 AM
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2001, 08:48 AM
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I'm glad that Arai has my (the customer's) best interest in mind. While they're at it, maybe they can explain why no dealer I've ever been to had the helmet in my size (small - I'm a peahead, I'll admit it). I had to mail order mine when I bought it 'cause ZERO dealers in this area had a small in stock of the helmet I wanted.

It doesn't have to be fun to be "fun".
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2001, 09:23 AM
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Dealers are going to suffer also....

The very fact that Arai is going strictly dealer puts tremendous pressure on dealers also. Arai will probably make dealers carry a lot more inventory, especially with the new shape (astro) coming out. Of course this might lead to dealers having to carry arai exclusively...Big companies like Arai can put pressure like Microsoft did to computer manufacturers.

We'll see.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-06-2001, 09:32 AM
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Reposted on the front page. Please reply to the thread there.

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