The practice of presenting bike shop customers as employees in order to gain admittance to Interbike has been common for years. Now, Interbike is making the ‘golden ticket’ an option for registered retailers.
Interbike, the largest bicycle industry trade show in North America, today announced the launch of a new initiative to allow select consumers into the 2013 event for the 1st time in the show’s history. The new program’s primary intent is to showcase the industry to some of its most loyal enthusiast customers. Interbike’s goal is to help drive retail activity specifically through dealers that attend the show and to increase the value equation for exhibiting companies. The limited-access initiative, called Interbike by Invitation, will allow registered retailers to invite their best and most loyal customers to attend. These special invitees will be treated as special guests of that shop and will be afforded preferential treatment at the show. Interbike will not be adding a day for this initiative, and instead will be extending Friday’s hours and allowing access to both consumers and retailers on Friday, September 20, 2013. The show will now be extended to 6:00 pm on Friday instead of the previous 4:00 pm.
“The mystique of Interbike from a consumer perspective has been, and still is, very strong,” said Pat Hus, Managing Director for Interbike. “We believe we’ve found the proper way to include the consumer, by showcasing the industry through retailers who attend Interbike. Interbike by Invitation is not designed to open the flood gates to consumers seeking stickers and SWAG – but rather as anopportunity for retailers to invite their best consumers with the goal of leaving the show with the invitee feeling closer to both the retailer and the brands they love. If we’re successful with the model we’ve outlined we will have created a bonding exercise for retailers and suppliers like our industry has never seen before. Ultimately it will be measurable as demand for 2014 product is driven into the retailers.”
Retailers that register for Interbike will be allotted a limited number of consumer access invitations based on their geography. Consumers invited by retailers will be able to register on the Interbike website beginning in April, 2013. There will be a $50 entry fee for all invitees, which will include special access and a host of other benefits planned for the event.
There will be no sales transactions allowed on the show floor as part of this addition to Friday. In fact, Interbike will be increasing security significantly throughout the show floor and will be adding controls that will not allow customers to exit the show carrying any product. “This is a big deal and we have to mandate the no transaction policy in order for this to be a success” said Hus. “Our intent is to create consumer demand for new products and generate retail activity in stores after the event. In this scenario everybody wins.”
Interbike by Invitation was also created as a means of strengthening the bond between retailer and customer. Kevin O’Connor, owner of Gear West Bike & Triathlon in Long Lake, MN applauds the program.
“Interbike should have implemented a consumer initiative years ago,” he said. “It’s a natural next step as a way that Interbike can allow the end consumer to join the retailer as part of the process, and is the proper way to launch the program, in my opinion.”
A How-To Guide for retailers and exhibitors is planned for early Spring distribution. Interbike will be creating a guide that will include turn-key ideas and suggested tools to maximize the effectiveness of the process.
Exhibitors will have the opportunity to show off their latest wares to a passionate cycling audience who crave the latest and greatest in bicycle technology and fashion. Aside from vetting the program with many dealers over the course of the last 6 months, and gaining support from the NBDA, the Interbike team consulted and secured universal support with more than 100 of its top exhibitors on the initiative as well.
“SRAM is very excited about the addition of a consumer component for Interbike,” said David Zimberoff, Global Marketing Director at SRAM. “We’ll be developing consumer specific promotions to welcome and engage them that does not compete with any retailer activity. We’ll be focused on pushing consumers to retail so it should be a win-win for everyone.”