Fisher is bringing five new brands to Expo this year – can you name them all yet, or will we have to come along to see?
I’ll tell you about them now, but you should definitely come and take a look! There is some great new exciting ‘stuff’! The first two we will be launching – and this is a global first-see – are Eastway bikes and Union 34 luggage – both brands will demonstrate some fantastic innovation and style specifically developed for the active commuter market and all product developments have been driven out of consumer and retailer demand. Miss our show and you’ll miss out on being first in the queue for getting your customers something new and exciting.
I must also mention that we will be re-launching Kansi folding bikes at Expo, now developed with leading manufacturing processes and quality controls. Come and talk to us and we’ll explain exactly what that means – they really are fantastic.
The other three brands have already been announced: DZR shoes, Carrera sunglasses and Yepp childseats. DZR is an innovative and dynamic brand of clipless pedal compatible casual shoes which are making waves amongst urban riders. We’ll have the new range at Expo and visitors will be able to see what the buzz has all been about. Carrera sports glasses (owned by the Italian eyewear manufacturer Safilo) is a brand with a huge amount of heritage and this is coupled with great technology and style.
Finally ‘Yepp’ child seats, which are backed by a great deal of R&D and heritage from their parent company GMG. Since their launch they have won numerous design awards and are really challenging the child seat category in terms of comfort, safety and design. We think this is something the category has been lacking and we’re delighted to be able to launch this innovative brand at the show. There’s a great story behind the Yepp designer so please come along and meet him, you will be impressed.
And what kind of seminars can dealers expect to find at Expo?
We have a digital agency, Cimex, coming in to do a seminar called ‘Smart Online Retailing Ideas for the Independent Specialist’. This will be invaluable advice for any IBD with, or developing, an online presence. We will also be talking about Kansi, going through the changes to the bikes and the plans for 2012. The SRAM Tech Centre will also be doing daily workshop training. As well as these seminars, there will be technical talks on the stands throughout the show talking about new technology and products such as LOOK Keo power pedals and the TACX genius turbo trainer to name a few.
This year you’re also offering SRAM workshop training – what will that involve?
Our experts from the SRAM Technical Centre will be giving seminars on popular maintenance topics such as bleeding Avid brakes and Reverb seatposts and also Rock Shox Lower Leg Servicing. Getting the knowhow from experts will help dealers to get the inside track and add value for their customers, so we encourage stores to bring their mechanics along to the show. Dealers can check fisherexpo.co.uk for timings but they will be run on every day of the show to ensure everyone can benefit.
Has SRAM been a key performer for Fisher again over the past 12 months?
In January we added Zipp to our portfolio and then we regained exclusivity on all SRAM products. It was a real vote of confidence from such a big brand. With some exciting new developments coming in 2012 we’ll see SRAM gain further market share and of course this means growing the profits of IBD who stock the products. SRAM lead times are excellent so all IBDs should take advantage of our good stock levels. We can now confirm that the new SRAM Red will make its debut at the show so dealers can get up close and personal with this ground-breaking product.
Once again SRAM has shown itself to be at the cutting edge of development and we are thrilled to be able to share this with our customers. FK Day, the president of World Bicycle Relief and SRAM’s executive VP will also be our keynote speaker on Monday evening which is something I am very excited about. WBR is a charity that Day helped set up and is making a difference to the lives of people in Africa through the power of bicycles. He will be joining us on our Sunday afternoon charity ride and at Expo all day Monday.
We’ve had mixed reports on how tough 2011 was in the bike trade. How did you and your customers fare?
We’ve continued to grow our business in 2011 even though the market conditions were far from ideal, something we are really proud of.
We’ve done this by building on our excellent portfolio, offering customers better value for money, improving our operations (albeit with a few teething problems) and by having an industry-leading sales team. We know that in this economic climate, coupled with factors like the Cycle to Work changes, many IBDs found it tough in 2011. In response we’ve done a number of things to help, such as the introduction of our ‘Essentials Range’.
We took a category approach to everyday bike shop essentials by offering lower prices on bread and butter items. It’s been a great success and we will be expanding it in 2012.
What kind of special offers and incentives will be available for attending dealers?
We will have great deals and some enticing offers available at the show for all who attend, with some show-only special offers. Everyone will also receive a goody bag as well so nobody leaves empty handed.
The charity ride is back again this year – has it been increasingly popular?
We started the ride in 2010 as the sales team wanted to go riding with their customers during the show, as well as it being a great way of raising money for good causes. It has proved popular so it’s returning for 2012.
Anyone can bring their bike on the Sunday and join VIPs and Fisher staff for a leisurely spin across the Hertfordshire countryside from 2pm. We will have refreshments along the way and showers for afterwards, plus a secure lock- up for bikes will be available. If you need another reason to come along, we will be raising money for World Bicycle Relief.
What is coming up next for Fisher?
We have been continuously working on enhancements to our Warehouse Management System, which will make our customer’s ordering and stock holding processes easier.
Notwithstanding last minute technical issues, our new B2B will also be launched at Expo. It’s fast, it’s clever and it’s for you! As we push ahead with our new product development initiatives Kansi, Eastway and Union 34 will all continue to provide the market with best in class products. By this autumn/winter season the ranges will be even bigger and better.
The SRAM Tech Centre is going from strength-to-strength and you can expect to see the guys out on the road with technical support at major events throughout the season. The STC is also consistently running at turnaround times within 48 hours, which is quite an achievement, and they continue to run free hands-on training seminars for SRAM dealers. To date almost 100 IBDs have been through these training sessions with overwhelmingly positive feedback, so come to the show and get a taste of what the STC team can do for your business.
Our Taiwanese office is up and running which is going to improve our business from a logistical and product development perspective – it’s onwards and upwards from here. We also have some great athlete sponsorship lined up including the Cycle Premier team and Chris Akrigg as well as athletes like Oli Beckinsale, Wendy Houvenhagel and Vicky Holland who are gearing up for the Olympics this summer. With the exposure the games will bring plus initiatives such as the Summer of Cycling, I believe that 2012 will see a big boost to the sport and we’ll all see benefits to our business.
Any final words?
I’d like to thank all our customers for their business over the last 12 months and we look forward to seeing as many of them as possible at the show. Please come and say hello and let’s talk about how to be successful together in 2012!
Fisher Outdoor Leisure has been working on Expo’s hospitality offering, Allmark explains: “Giving visitors to our show a warm welcome has always been a top priority for us. We want every account to meet with their sales rep, talk to the other Fisher staff and get an opportunity to enjoy the hotel facilities where the show is being held. The spa is open to anyone who has booked a room so it’s a great chance to enjoy some well-earned R&R too. We will of course be providing some top-notch entertainment in the evenings with some special guests from across the cycling spectrum.”
Dealers are welcome to bring their families along to Expo too, Allmark says: “They absolutely are. We want our customers to enjoy the facilities and see the show with their partners and children.”
Fisher’s Expo runs from Monday February 20th to Wednesday 22nd at Sopwell House, St Albans, AL1 2HQ