Interbike Consumer Invitation Program Opens Doors to Bike Shop’s Best Customers

interbike opens industry tradeshow to consumers through independent bike shop IBD invitation program

Looking to mingle and schmooze the bike industry in Vegas without having to bug your bike shop buddies for a “Retailer” credential? Cool. Now you’ll just have to bug them for a “Consumer” invitation.

Interbike today announced the details of their consumer invitation program for the 2013 tradeshow held annually in Las Vegas. Called “Interbike by Invitation”, it lets dealers cherry pick their most loyal customers and grant them access on the final show day, Friday, September 30, 2013. To help with the extra traffic, the show hours will be extended from the usual last call at 4pm until 6pm.

Besides finagling an invitation, there’ll be a $50 cover charge, but IB promises to deliver plenty of extras for that fee. One thing they aren’t offering is the ability to haggle for demos and show remnants, stating that security will be beefed up and anyone with a Consumer badge won’t be allowed to leave the hall with merchandise.

Retailers that register to attend will be allotted a certain amount of consumer invites based on geography and remaining availability – only a limited number will be on hand.

Full PR after the break…

PRESS RELEASE: 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 an opportunity 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.

Want more? Check out Interbike’s announcement page for Q&A and other show details.

Comments

Tim Aah - 11/26/12 - 10:23pm

As someone who goes to Interbike to get business done, I can’t say that this is exciting to me. It just seems like appointments will be harder to come by (to say nothing of end-of-show sample blowouts). An odd move after this year’s lockdown.

Ajax - 11/27/12 - 4:04am

I am actively involved in the cycling industry and talked to many vendors about that at this past Interbike. Every, not most, but every single industry exec I spoke to whose company was big enough to attend other bike shows outside of the USA said that allowing consumers on the final 1-2 days would be good for the show. It allows manufacturers and other vendors to communicate directly with the people who have the most influence in the cycling industry, and that is the consumer.

gringo - 11/27/12 - 8:33am

@AJAX
I am activley involved in the cycling industry and I can tell you that every, not most, but every single industry guy and gal who has the option to get the heck outta Dodge, does so and is as far away from Eurobike consumer day as they can possibly be….
There is a time and place for repetitive, elementary questions and brake lever squeezing. The end of a 3-4 day meeting marathon is not it unfortunately. No one has the time or energy to respond to the interest and give the attention all of our consumers deserve on consumer day.

A specific public demo day would be more appreciated and beneficial I would think.

Trey R - 11/27/12 - 9:51am

My curiosity outweighs my fear of this. Other than the locals, not many are going to buy a plane ticket to come out just to be annoying. For the most part we’ll get face to face feedback straight from the horses mouth for the first time ever. The main people that would be taking advantage of this, (I think) will be shops’ more influential customers and friends that will take what they’ve learned and take it back home to spread the word. Sure, the fear of sticker grabbing, “will you sponsor me”, “you know how you should really do it”, folks sounds scary, (“working Interbike” is MUCH different than going to Interbike), and it is! We are usually zombies by Friday and it sounds like Friday is now going to be another “Monday”, (ugh), and the fact that the show now ends at 6pm on Friday, (ugh), means a bigger rush for everybody to get to the airport for their redeye’s, (my flight lands between 6-6:30, and I make it home by 8am on Saturday). In the end, if I just pack more advil, walk around vegas a little less, and drink a little less on Thursday night, (you hearing me Tyler?), it’ll surely be okay.

Michael-Vittoria Shoes - 11/27/12 - 11:09am

As a manufacturer in the Bike Industry, I can’t leave. And for MANY years, there has been massive theft during Interbike. I can think of specific brands and bikes in particular that were taken. For us, we are in a better position to avoid theft. Which is always great.

The biggest problem I forsee is the retail customer heading home with wholesaler knowledge and pricing. This will certainly complicate things. We already have many people calling us trying to buy things directly. We always point them to a local dealer. That’s the way we work. But I can see this retailer day as a paperwork nightmare, making sure we don’t give wholesale pricing and info to joe consumer. Or wrongly giving the retail to a legit dealer.

I am not looking forward to this honestly. I know of many people who approached me this year who were “friends” or friends of friends who got badges. So what is the difference? It’s already happening. I think this is a way for Interbike to show they care all the while not.

This industry is too screwed up already to have these games. If you wanted to make a consumer end of things, make it Saturday. Keep Wed tru Frid dealers. I have a full media schedule anyways all the days, so this will just screw me and my chance to present my wares to the press.

I personally hate this idea.

Michael
Vittoria Cycling Shoes

Ajax - 11/27/12 - 12:02pm

There are a ton of big execs in the cycling industry that want a consumer day or two. They have pushed Interbike for it. Eurobike has one and it hasn’t killed that show. In fact, it has only been a boon for them.

The idea that Interbike is all product demos and feedback sessions with distributors and bike shops is not true. Interbike is a lot of fun, even for industry people. There are shop employees, distributors, execs all over feeling out on the new stuff squeezing brake levers, chit chatting, etc. It’s not all business all the time, and even on the last day everybody lets their hair down and has some fun. Heck, people were getting drunk and celebrating with new friends. Some company, Praxis I think, had like 3 kegs of free beer on tap. There were lines of people ferrying drinks from them to their booths and just getting drunk. I am not kidding.

And this so-called evil taboo thing about companies offloading sample products on the last day. These aren’t Asian companies. They all do it. Even the Euro companies. is true. I specifically know of some Italian companies, one in particular starting with the letter ‘C’, that are hush hush in doing this. Do you blame them? I don’t. These guys face the huge time and financial burden of packing all their sh-t, and trust me there is lots, to put on a plane just to go back to Italy. It’s a huge cost as well as pain in the ass. If they can, and they do, they will offload (usually pre-arranged), a lot of their goods before leaving the US to their best dealers. This is going to continue to happen. No way that Interbike should or can police that. Interbike would lose a huge portion of Euro companies as booth vendors if they were to snuff this out.

DJ - 11/27/12 - 12:50pm

As a consumer, I don’t understand how someone who markets a product for purchase, Michael of Vittoria, could complain about having to interact with the people who buy the product. Why should I, with money to spend, buy something from someone who wouldn’t want to give me the time of day, or is too tired to do their job. It all boils down to getting your product out there. Adding a consumer day to Interbike seems like a good way to line the pockets of everyone on board, even if it requires mustering up a little extra energy to deal with stupid questions. By the way not all consumers are as “dumb” as some might think. I for one pride myself on trying to know more about a product than people who work in the bike shop before I buy it. I will definitely be hitting up my local shop to secure a pass for consumer day, if for nothing else than to take note of all the industry people who tried to brush me off.

Psi Squared - 11/27/12 - 1:32pm

+1 to what DJ says. I think that manufacturers that are too put out to deal with customers on one day are showing what they think of the customers and are therefore not very worthy of customer money.

Tyler (Editor) - 11/27/12 - 2:07pm

Trey, I’m not the one that picked the German restaurant, but I’ll be darned if I wasn’t going to make the most of it!

Trey R - 11/27/12 - 4:07pm

Hey Tyler…….. I don’t know how much you paid that “waitress”, but I felt that in my eyeballs! I’m getting you the guy in the lederhosen next year. And how has that video not ended up on here? (yours not mine).

Anyway, before everyone gets all riled up about what Michael was saying, Interbike is a place for people to get business done as well as show current and up-coming products to retailers. Adding a consumer day to something that already has a very tight schedule is harder than it sounds. Fridays are usually more relaxed and a time for folks that couldn’t connect earlier in the week to try and get together one more time. Interbike is VERY exhausting as a vendor, and there are issues with theft as Michael stated when you only have a select few in the booth at a time. So by the time Friday rolls around, we’re trying to get our marbles back and planning logistics for take down. Overall, the consumer day is probably a good thing……. not to everybody maybe, but the best thing to do is embrace it and make the most of it.

Just Passing Through - 11/27/12 - 5:07pm

I think the problem here is that the “Consumer Day” is mixed in with a regular retailer day.

Michael is right in that it’s going to be a pain in the ass for folks to keep regular consumers from getting retailer pricing. Yes, many of the folks who get these invitations are probably on such good terms with their shops that they have an idea of retailer pricing, but there are a fair few who won’t have a clue and will then try to drive ridiculous deals afterward based upon information they shouldn’t be privy to anyway.

I think it’d be better if this was done on Saturday. Yes it would mean that many folks would have to stay an extra day when they would rather get home. But it would also allow exhibitors to make sure that they only have materials out for consumer consumption. If a exhibitor gives out information with retailer pricing it would be their mistake and they couldn’t blame “confusion” for the issue.

A dedicated consumer day on Saturday would also allow consumers to get to Vegas. Folks making a weekend out of it could arrive on Friday and spend a day there Saturday. They are consumers, so them not having to take a day off for Friday would enable more to visit.

These are the consumers that one would think the industry would want to see what Interbike has to offer. They are the ones who are wanting to see new things — things they can bother their home shop(s) to carry that they might not want to carry otherwise. I know of many consumers who are much more out in front of the people running their shops when it comes to emerging tech and trends. Not just the regular shop employee but also their purchasers as well.

I think it’s a great idea, just poor implementation. There is no need to mix retail and consumer groups. have a day dedicated to consumers. It’ll also eliminate the snarky comments from retail folks having to mix with the “commoners”.

Michael-Vittoria Shoes - 11/27/12 - 7:39pm

I wanted to clarify some of the things that were in my post earlier…and by the way, thank you to those who defended my comments.

I am not opposed to a consumer day. Not at all. I am opposed to a consumer day TIED onto the same day as a retailer day.

I have been in the bike industry for over 25 years. I have worked in it as a shop owner, mechanic, manager, parts manufacturer/designer, racer, pro team mechanic and company/manufacturer boss guy. I have done it all.

I am fine with a consumer day or show. For those who think I am calling them dumb or don’t want to show people my wares, far from it. In fact, I have been to over 100 events this year showing and talking about our products just this year. I love events and routinely come back to the office with no voice due to talking about the shoes. So that is not the issue. And it’s not that I think a consumer is dumb. I do believe many people are unaware of us or the things we can do. Which is very true. But not dumb. Just uninformed. Just like I am uninformed as to what Shimano, Specialized or SRAM or others have out there.

For those thinking I am pissy about a consumer day due to the fact I have to stay an extra day, I already do! I don’t leave till Saturday. My reps however, that’s a different story and sadly something I can’t control. I can ask them to stay. But I can’t demand them too. That is one reason I disagree with making a consumer day tied with a retailer day. We as a company have outside people who work for us and work the events. They handle appointment meetings with retailers. I personally do that also. But my job is primarily getting the reps up to speed and the media. The BR guys can attest to the meetings we have had. And Marc, the almost meeting this year. I had 4 appts booked at the same time when we were supposed to meet and literally shook hands, said Hey and hope we can meet up later. This is an issue with the TIED show days. I won’t have the time to meet up with media OR consumers.

For us, it is difficult to meet everyone. In fact, I was closing up shop on Friday, putting things away and Maurice from Dirt Rag showed up, around 6:30pm wanting to be fit in shoes!

It is very difficult to meet everyone during the normal days, let alone the normal day and throw in a consumer day.

I think for this to be a REAL consumer day, it needs to have its OWN DAY!!! Like Eurobike has. The day they have is specifically a consumer day. Yeah, they are retailers walking around. But because they want to, not have to. So I am not opposed to allowing consumers in. Why not just make it their own day?

matt - 11/27/12 - 10:16pm

Consumers already have way too much leverage over dealers already, last thing i need is more customers beating out more of my margin or getting interbike deals. I saw a couple customers of mine on the interbike floor getting stuff less than wholesale, and it’s infuriating. If the industry keeps going this way you can see the the IBD’s going the way of the dinosaur. Its bad enough that you can buy campy grouppo’s online cheaper than I can buy them with a wholesalers license. All of that lost margin hurts shops being able to employ a knowledgeable staff that can earn a living wage. This is a terrible idea and if anything interbike needs to be more strict on who they let in.

Marc - 11/27/12 - 11:03pm

I sympathize with the suppliers who have all that they can do to meet with their wholesale customers (to say nothing of media folks such as myself). Yes, Interbike is about relationship building as much as anything else and yes, that often includes after-hours (and on-floor drinking). But the idea of adding a sort-of-consumer day on the day when everyone is typically trying to catch those they missed on days 1 and 2 (sorry Michael! I tried to make it back!) sounds awful. Besides, everyone is wiped out by about 1:00 on Friday- working the show really is exhausting.
Anyone else for a dedicated consumer day? A consumer On Dirt Demo like Gringo mentioned would be ideal in my opinion.

Michael-Vittoria Shoes - 11/28/12 - 1:09am

Oh Marc, I’m not mad or anything. I was just using things like our meeting and the one with Maurice from Dirt Rag as examples of what can and does happen during the show and could be exasperated by including a consumer day WITH the regular retailer day.

I agree an outdoor day would great for a consumer day. I think Interbike sees what happens at Eurobike and says, why can’t we do that? But not everything will transfer over. But I do hope it works. I never want anyone to fail.

Pablo Tan Santa - 11/28/12 - 1:57am

The bike shops “best customers” are already there.

During Interbike this year I was at work, at the bike shop, on the shop computer, during lunch, scrolling through images of the booths and the parts that had already been posted by various blogs and websites, when I spot a familiar 17 year old kid in one of the pictures. How would I know it was a 17 year old child of privilege? The kid with the silver spoon up his ass is one of our customers at the shop I work at.

I damn near lost my mind. Here I am, a loyal employee of one of the bigger bikes shops in XXXXX, working hard trying to earn a joke of a paycheck and I find a picture, no more than 24hrs old, of an asshole customer at Interbike. And to top it off, he’s 17!!! Doesn’t drink, still a virgin, mouth breather,

So should customers be allowed into Interbike? Pfffttt…Next question.

Trey R - 11/28/12 - 9:20am

I’m with Michael and others on if there is to be a consumer day, it should be on an additional day. They shouldn’t further squeeze vendors into having an even tighter schedule than they already do, and they should gives those a chance that don’t want to, or need to be there for a consumer day to pack up and get out. I have no reason to be there for a consumer day as I work for a B2B company with zero presence at the consumer level. They should give vendors a choice on whether they want to participate in an extra day as a consumer day, so they can stay, leave, or at the very least keep only the staff they need on hand, (its very expensive to put up and feed several employees each day in Vegas).

I don’t think it will be as bad as some are trying to make it seem, (this year anyway), as all they are doing is making what is already happening “official”. Over the years though, since its becoming public knowledge, it will become more prevalent and hopefully there will be more discussions in the short future on how to handle it based on feedback from vendors.

Ajax - 11/28/12 - 6:15pm

It’s really simple. If manufacturers aren’t willing to meet their customers because they are too tired, just get extra staff.

gringo - 11/29/12 - 3:23am

is AJAX for real or is someone pulling my chain?!

From comments like ‘just get extra staff’ to perhaps the coolest Noob paragraph ever:

”The idea that Interbike is all product demos and feedback sessions with distributors and bike shops is not true. Interbike is a lot of fun, even for industry people. There are shop employees, distributors, execs all over feeling out on the new stuff squeezing brake levers, chit chatting, etc. It’s not all business all the time, and even on the last day everybody lets their hair down and has some fun. Heck, people were getting drunk and celebrating with new friends. Some company, Praxis I think, had like 3 kegs of free beer on tap. There were lines of people ferrying drinks from them to their booths and just getting drunk. I am not kidding.”

Hey! chit chat??!? like, 3 kegs?? NO. WAY. ..!

it seems mr. AJAX has been employed by a mid size delaer as assistant buyer for all of about 11 months and has no clue about how business works or just how exhausting it really is to actually make decisions that will affect the entire industry based on information exchanged in places like Vegas, Friedrichshafen, Taichung, etc…

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