Wednesday, December 05, 2007

East Coast Demo?

Last week, I read on the Bicycle Retailer site that Interbike is contemplating an East Coast Demo. For those outside the industry, Interbike is the bike trade show that is held every fall in Vegas. You've heard me talk about it enough here recently, but for any new readers, I like to clarify. But I digress...

Anyway, I didn't think much about this whole East Coast Demo until read it again today at Bike Europe (trade publication for..duh...Europe). Well, that got me to thinking and we all know that is a bad idea....

They are thinking of doing this demo time so that retailers on the East Coast that maybe can't make it to Interbike (it can be friggin' expensive) can have a chance to see the new bikes. Sounds good for the dealers for sure! They are even talking about having a consumer day. Imagine all the bike nuts that would line up to ride the brand spankin' new bikes that won't even be out until spring. I envision some riding buddies getting up early, making the trip down to Providence and spending a morning riding bikes like little kids on Christmas morning with a new bike. Cool image, huh? It will be a fun, fun, fun day for them. So far, so good...bring it on, right?

And then there are the industry companies in New England who will be pretty stoked to do a big event in their backyard. We don't have bikes for you to ride, but they talk about seminars and clinics and networking opportunities all of which we could possibly partake in. Getting to hang out with some dealers for the day is always a good time. And, we'd actually get to ride some bikes, too! We don't get to do that in the desert because it's always time to put up the booth and finalize last minute details before the doors of the trade show open. So, we'd get to be those kids in the candy store, too, for a couple of days.

Still....all good, right? Then I started to wonder about the bike companies. Not Seven Cycles or even IF (this is in their backyard, too). I started to think of Giant and KHS and Haro and Masi -- all located in Cali. They are all pretty drained after spending a week in Vegas - few days in the desert and a few days in the convention. This all on the heels of a pretty event-packed summer, I'd think. They'd have to almost go straight from Vegas to Rhode Island. Are they up for that? I know that the point of all this is to get your bike into the hands of the buyers - the more buyers that see your products, the more chance that they will like the product and buy it. I get that. Guess I just understand the fatigue side of it, too. And, let's not forget the expense. Maybe some of these companies have big, huge marketing budgets (I'm pretty sure a few have gigantic ones compared to ours), but maybe not. Shlepping multiple bikes and gear cross country isn't cheap.

And then I start to think....how many retailers don't go to Vegas from New England and the Mid-Atlantic States (because this would draw people from NY, NJ and PA, at least)? Would it be a lot of overlap? Some, I know, but most? Don't know. Or, would they choose not to go to Vegas next year just because of this opportunity and miss all the other companies that they'd want to see - small companies that can't afford to go to both - or even have the opportunity to be at both. Remember, you don't ride locks.....or bags....or lights....we can go and hang out and ride those shiny bikes, too, but would there be other spaces for us? Not really...ok, we can do a seminar, but would that show all the new products? Don't know - haven't thought that far yet, folks, just spinning thoughts here. And it's not about us, we're right here so we'll represent just fine, thanks...it's smaller companies that don't have those budgets to do Interbike and Providence - even to come and network.

Let's not forget Mother Nature...Oct 16th in New England? You could have that dirty four letter word...snow. No, I'm not a snow person - get over it - hate it. I certainly wouldn't want to be out in it for three days....although I know some people who would love to ride in those conditions.

I'm rambling. But, what do you think? Will New England dealers forego Interbike for Demo Time in Little Rhody? Will the big bike companies want to do both demo areas? Will they have the man/woman power and budgets to do both?

It's still all tentative and Interbike is sending, or has sent surveys, to dealers. We'll all know around Feb. 1st, which is the date to have exhibitor materials and pricing info by then. Interesting....let's hear what you think.

5 comments:

T-Guy J said...

As someone who hasn't been to Interbike and doesn't expect to go anytime soon, this would be fantastic. I would be on the phone with my friends in the industry in 2 seconds flat to get a pass and I would ride every $7,000 bike I could find.

Although, outside of my personal fun. I don't think it is realistic to ask these companies to travel 2500 miles for a few days of demos. They put so much money into Interbike, that it is going to be outside of even the biggest companies budgets to staff and ship products for 2 separate shows.

Connecticut said...

Don't worry, snow won't be a problem unless interbike is going to be held on top of Mt. Washington. The middle of October is generally peak foliage season. Hope to see interbike come out this way soon!

Rich Kelly said...

Donna,

As always, thanks for the thoughtful comments about our little show. That's exactly what we're looking for right now - feedback on the idea. I've been so busy with a number of projects here that I (obviously) haven't had time to blog on this subject yet over at IB Times. Seeing your post and a few others, I realize that this is now a very conspicuous absence on my part at a time when a little more insight from the "inside" might be helpful in framing the discussion and stopping any developing conspiracy theories.

We have not finalized plans to hold the East Coast Outdoor Demo at this point, but we have seen evidence that to suggest that Northeast retailers would support it. We're conducting research and talking to dealers to gauge interest.

The only way it would work for Interbike is if it works for the industry. We think it would be a true benefit to East coast dealers to be able to send more staff than can make it out to Interbike to demo bikes and gear and meet with manufacturer representatives. We also believe that the region has a very strong bike culture that we would be able to tap into and celebrate while we're there.

Stay tuned for a post on the subject over at interbiketimes.com.

Rich
www.interbiketimes.com

Arleigh said...

I would say for an east coaster there are a few reasons that I would enjoy an east coast show.

A. Different terrain. How do you figure out how a bike rides if you never ride in the desert?

B. More shop folks can go. I would say within a 8-10 hour drive people would easily drive just to have a demo.

My other thoughts are this. Maybe not have it the week after. Maybe have it the month after and be in NC. Pisgah has amazing roads/mountains and it will still be around 55-65 degrees most days. The other thought is to flop the interbike venue all together from one coast to the other. Sure we don't have as many manufacturers, but there are some.

Nadine said...

It should be later in the year than October or travel to several locations. Knowing from experience, October is still a pretty busy month for most shops. They can't afford to have their staff take a few days off to go ride bikes when this is their last chance to make some cash for the winter.