There's a notable absence from this week's trade shows. Paligap's Managing Director David Lane explains to BikeBiz why Paligap has changed its show strategy this year...
"This week is Core Bike Show. It’s an event that we’ve attended since the beginning. But you won’t see my company exhibiting this year.
"We’ve just cancelled all of our trade shows and expos at home and abroad for 2016. No Taipei, no NEC, no Excel and no Core. It might sound like a strange move and here’s why.
"We’re taking a year off from spending our marketing budget on trade shows and expos. Instead we’re investing in driving customers into great independent bike shops. We’ll spend less on designing booths or on hotels, fuel, meals and coffee and more on our customers. The cycle market is a tough place. Every penny and every sale counts. It’s more important than ever to look carefully about what we should be doing and what we should not be doing.
"With a bit of time and cash freed up we’ve recruited some fresh talent and turned our Product Managers into all-singing, all-dancing Brand Managers to support our sales team. They can offer the full package of support to dealers and better service than ever before. They are already out meeting people face to face, training shop staff and offering them great promotions. They’ll bring more support to our shops and a lot more face to face time to give them what they need.
"As I write this, I’m on the road visiting our dealers in the North West. It’s been great to see the stores for myself and hear about the challenges of getting customers into the shops and investing in great products. Trips like this make that once-a-year chat at the trade show suddenly less vital."
Pictured: TRACS Bike Shop and Hire at Delamere Forest, receiving custom Point of Sale for Marin last week
"We’ve also created the Powertap Power Ambassadors programme (www.powerambassador.com) a series of workshops in local bike shops and gyms. We’re using these to educate customers about training with power meters and to connect them with their local bike shops and coaches. This has already generated good sales for the shops, and increased their customer loyalty. We love meeting our customers and showing them great products that will make them ride further and faster. The next event is Friday 5th February at Cadence Sports in Burton on Trent.
"And of course, we’ve also invested in getting customers on demo bikes to try for themselves. We’ll be touring the UK with the fleet, meeting our dealers and their customers and getting them out on our bikes.
"And that’s why you won’t see us at the shows this year. We’ll miss them and we’ll miss seeing our friends in the industry. For this year at least we’re looking to be smart and invest in our customers and in supporting independent bike shops.
"I’d love to hear what you think. You can tweet me on @davidlane69 or you can read more about my company at paligap.cc. If you’re one of our dealers (or you’d like to be), I’d love to chat about how we can help you and your customers in 2016.
"Whatever you’re doing in the bike industry this year, good luck, I look forward to seeing how it goes!"
Managing Director, Paligap.cc