Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The "Interbike Golden Ticket": An Opinion Part II

Notice: The following is this author's opinion and may or may not reflect the opinions of anyone else. I base my opinions today on published material from the Internet and my own personal observations and experiences from my Interbike attendance over the past several years. In the end, I suggest you make up your own mind based on your own research. Now, on with the story.....

At the end of November I posted an opinion on the initiative that Interbike has proposed to include bike shop's "better customers" at the annual trade show in Las Vegas.  The point I made was that consumers were already coming to the show- in significant numbers- and that coming on the last day "legally" was not going to appease their desire to actually ride product at the outdoor demo. I stated also that Interbike's last day was typically a poorly attended affair with little to offer consumers.

Interbike should let consumers do this...
Now a new "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" edition has come out, and in each issue, "BRAIN" asks a selected set of retailers a question, and the answers get published in each new issue. This edition's question was, "What do you think about Interbike's move to allow retailers to bring consumers to the show as VIP guests?"

Well, if you read my earlier post, you would have the majority opinion of the matter as espoused by the 10 selected dealers. There were some other interesting comments doled out that were not like my opinion. One of the more interesting ones was how a dealer felt that the industry needed to rub shoulders more with consumers and experience "firsthand the same things that the average shop sees and hears everyday". 

That is a noble idea, however, this dealer has it all backwards. Do not bring consumers to Las Vegas, Neveda to a boring convention of bike geeks if you want to truly get the industry wheelers and dealers to see what is going down with consumers on the front lines. No- you send the "generals" to the battle lines and have them observe the action first hand. In other words, Interbike is the wrong venue for getting true and honest feedback to the industry. The industry needs to visit the shops, stay awhile, observe the action on the sales floor and rub shoulders with consumers there, not the other way around.

Besides, Interbike is kind of a distraction, don't you think? And if the show isn't, then the city would be. I mean heck- where's the party? Right? Isn't that why people go to Vegas?

Party Town? Right?
Which brings me to where I see this whole initiative going. Interbike wants these consumers to come on the final day of the show. There are a lot of vendors at Interbike. How do they attract these folks to look at their stuff, and not the other guys stuff? Well, the same way they get dealers to come by at the end of the day.

That's right- Beer and babes. (I didn't say it was right, but it is what it is) So, this can't be far off the mark: Company X marketing guy says to himself, "How do I make it attractive for these special VIP consumers to see us? Hmm.... I know! I'll bring in a couple of kegs of specialty beer. maybe a Belgian, or an IPA, and we'll get some pretty gals hired to pour the brewskis while consumers line up and hear our guys talk about the 2014 line. It's a can't miss!" 

Am I right or am I right? The thing is, the consumers that are already getting into I-Bike are doing this at the end of everyday already, plus they ride at the Outdoor Demo. You know- if I were a VIP consumer, I know what part of Interbike I'd want to attend. 

Here's an idea, Interbike. Check out Sea Otter, and Outerbike. What do they do that you do not do? They allow consumers to ride bikes. I mean, that's the whole idea, no? You want to put more butts on bikes? Then let the consumers come and actually ride bicycles. Vendors are already doing demo tours, and they do that for a reason- to get folks to actually feel and experience product. You want jacked up, excited consumers to come out of Interbike and energize the marketplace, (as you stated in your press release), then this is how you do that.

Oh....and don't forget the free beers!

1 comment:

Steve Fuller said...

As a customer, I have really enjoyed talking with the dealer reps that come through the shop that I frequent, especially the ones that have maybe worked at two or three companies and have seen a bit of the industry. As a consumer bike geek I'll take their opinions seriously, and many of them are honest about their company's good products and not so good products.

I really like what Salsa, Trek and others have been doing with their demo days at various shops. Truckload of fatbikes in the middle of winter? How awesome is that for getting people on the fence to hop off? New mountain bikes in spring is a great way to test out that new full suspension rig. Things like that benefit the manufacturers, and they also support the shops as most shops don't have a wide variety of bikes/sizes in demo fleets, nor the time to maintain them. It's also nice to ride a demo bike on your home trails, as it makes for an easier comparison to what you already are riding.

I'd rather see more of that than the offer of a $50 ticket to see something in Vegas. It