National Marine Manufacturers Association and Marine Retailers Association of America Select New "e-Hub" to Streamline Distribution, Accelerate Growth and Improve Consumer Experience
SAN FRANCISCO, August 8, 2000--The world's two leading marine industry associations, representing more than 80 percent of boat manufacturing and retailing in the U.S., today endorsed boats.com as the premier Internet boating marketplace. The four-year exclusive agreements unite the 1,400-member National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the 3,600-member Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) with boats.com to fuel the growth of the marine industry and make the consumer experience of buying and owning a boat as satisfying as boating itself. Today's agreement, the first of its kind, aligns an industry's top manufacturers and retailers behind a single Internet business--all to create an industry-wide, consumer-centric online marketplace.
"The endorsements by the NMMA and MRAA move the entire industry closer to our goal of providing a better consumer experience for boaters," said Paul Rabe, president, COO and co-founder, boats.com. "Our business is designed to enhance the marine industry's existing economic model and distribution channels by aggregating manufacturers, brokers and retailers for the benefit of consumers, while simultaneously expanding the industry's consumer base. By combining rich content, online catalogs and dynamic communities within a single site, we intend to help the NMMA and MRAA fulfill their long-term growth strategy for the industry."
The Internet offers the $100 billion global marine industry an opportunity to streamline fragmented demand chains, make marine commerce more efficient, and ultimately improve the consumer experience. According to 1999 NMMA data, the U.S. marine market alone is enormous, with more than 77 million active boaters who spend more than $23 billion annually on boats, engines and marine products. While over 60 percent of these boating enthusiasts have Internet access, there are more than 18,000 sales and service businesses, many of which have not yet fully leveraged the Internet as a channel.
The NMMA, with roots dating back to 1904, and the MRAA, which was created more than 30 years ago, are working together to unite the marine industry and grow the sport of boating. The Internet offers a unique and valuable opportunity to accomplish both of these goals.
"Over several months, we have examined many marine Internet businesses to determine how they could best serve our members and help grow the boating industry," said Thom Dammrich, president, NMMA. "Boats.com exceeded all of our criteria for evaluation--industry knowledge, sound plans, a sustainable business model--and most importantly, they shared a common vision of partnership with our members and their existing distribution channels. Through this partnership, we can make the boating industry a better place for businesses and consumers."
As part of today's agreements:
*The NMMA and MRAA exclusively endorse boats.com as the industry's demand-side Internet partner.
*Boats.com will establish an Affiliate program for manufacturers and retailers to publish information for their new and used boats on the boats.com site.
*NMMA member products and MRAA dealer information will be displayed on the site at no cost, with a "level playing field" that presents boat, engine and product information in a standard and objective format, along with industry-standard third-party evaluation indexes and NMMA Certified Product information.
*Boats.com will work with the industry to promote and develop the Marine Industry Certification (MIC) programs.
*Boats.com will become a major partner in the industry's Discover Boating initiative designed to promote the benefits of the boating lifestyle to current and prospective boat owners.
*Boats.com will become the exclusive demand-side Internet sponsor of NMMA's 22 consumer boat shows produced across North America.
*Industry Oversight and Advisory Boards will be established to monitor and evaluate new economy opportunities for the marine industry. The Boards will consist of NMMA and MRAA representatives, including leading manufacturers and dealers.
*Boats.com will adopt the industry Internet Value Statement, developed jointly by the NMMA and MRAA, which calls for an objective marine information source for consumers while promoting the lifestyle and enhancing long-term industry growth.
"Along with the NMMA, we developed the marine industry's Internet Value Statement to set guidelines as we looked for a partner with similar ideals, a focused vision and a strong and viable business plan," said Phil Keeter, president, MRAA. "Boats.com will give our industry the solutions we need. It will give our members the opportunity to compete through e-commerce, and help educate consumers with better, faster information that shortens their purchase cycle."
"By working with both the marine manufacturers and marine retailers, we can ensure that it is a win-win-win situation for everyone involved--manufacturers, retailers and most importantly consumers," said Stuart Johnstone, chief strategy officer and co-founder, boats.com. "We are creating an industry-wide marketplace where the boating consumers will quickly and easily find anything they need and where the industry will have access to today's most sophisticated and customer-friendly technology."
Boats.com will be launching the industry-wide marketplace later this summer.
Founded in 1972, the Chicago-based Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) is the nation's largest marine retailers trade association. The MRAA represents an industry with more than 100,000 employees and nearly $20 billion in annual sales. The mission of the MRAA, "Progress through Participation with Industry Partners," is accomplished by promoting programs and services and helping to create an environment that helps marine retailers to operate. With more than 3,600 companies, including boat dealers, marinas, ship chandlers, boats service/yards and storage facilities, the MRRA promotes and furthers the interests of all its member companies and the marine industry in general. Marine retailers become members in the MRAA by joining directly or through affiliated organizations throughout the United States.
Established in 1979, the NMMA is a non-profit organization made up of more than 1,600 companies that either manufacture and market marine products or provide services to support recreational boaters. NMMA members produce an estimated 80 percent of all marine products sold in North America. The NMMA supports its membership by providing a wide range of programs and services specifically tailored to member needs including technical expertise, standards monitoring, government relations advocacy and industry statistics.
Boats.com is building the premier online hub for the boating community and the marine industry. The boats.com site will enable boaters, manufacturers and resellers--including yacht brokers, boat dealers, marinas, boatyards, and other marine service businesses--to participate in a thriving online marketplace, opening up new commercial opportunities for the industry while enhancing the consumer's boating experience.
The boats.com management team is made up of boating and Internet business veterans, whose depth and breadth of experience has enabled boats.com to build and leverage strong strategic partnerships in the brief time since the company's inception. Founded in 1999, boats.com is a private, venture capital funded business located at Pier 38, The Embarcadero, in San Francisco, California.