Madison and Sportline CEO Dominic Langan on what we can expect from digiBike* 2021

BikeBiz catches up with Dominic Langan, CEO of Madison and Sportline, to find out what we can expect from 2021’s digiBike*

iceBike* is going digital for 2021, what can dealers expect from the online show?
Dealers can expect much of what they would usually see at the show in Milton Keynes. Plenty of top brands all showcasing their latest and greatest product – just instead of rushing around the exhibition hall, dealers can browse the digiBike* website at their own pace and watch videos presented by all of our brands.

It won’t all be one-way communication however as we will have a chat functionality on the website for dealers to speak to the relevant sales and brand managers to ask any questions they have. So in terms of learning about brands, products and getting access to exclusive show offers, all of that will be available on the website. Another hugely popular aspect of iceBike* is our seminar schedule. We will once again be putting on online seminars for dealers to log on and listen to. The full details and timings for these will be released a little closer to the date.

Of course, we will all miss the interaction with our industry peers over a coffee or a beer but we are putting in a tremendous amount of hard work to make sure that digiBike* provides everything you need to help your business. The other bonus is that dealers will be able to get the full iceBike* experience from behind a computer screen, at a time of the day that suits them. They will easily be able to involve all their staff who would normally be unable to attend iceBike* due to being needed in the business.

What was behind the decision to have digiBike* take place over four days, instead of the usual three-day format?
There are two answers here: firstly from a logistical point of view, we need the days either side of iceBike* to get the show ready and break it down. As we are online this year we don’t need that time.

Secondly and more importantly, we wanted to extend it by a day to give dealers as much opportunity as possible to log onto digiBike*, take their time and really take in everything that our brands are offering.

iceBike* is great because when dealers visit the show, they give us their undivided attention for the entire time that they are with us. It would be foolish to expect anyone to sit in front of a computer screen for eight hours, so by increasing the length of digiBike*, dealers can come and go as they please over the course of the four days. It will give dealers and members of staff much more opportunity to get around the whole website.

What particular aspect of the show are you looking forward to the most?
I think we are most looking forward to how our customers react when they see the level of effort we have put into making digiBike* a first-class experience. We consume so much digital content these days, it actually makes a lot of sense to trial iceBike* in this digital way.

Dealers will be able to take their time over the four days and concentrate on finding out more about the brands and products that best suit their businesses, making it really beneficial for everyone. We’ll also be able to analyse the data after the show which should give us some really important learnings about our brands and customers.

What are your hopes for this year’s show, and how might the show be different in future years?
Our hope is simply that dealers engage with the format and give digiBike* the time it deserves. As a brand new format, there is always going to be some hesitation but if dealers are able to allocate time in their day to really explore the website, watch the videos, speak to sales agents and look at the offer packs, we think they will be impressed.

We just need dealers to commit at least an hour at a time to explore the digiBike* website and not try to take all of the information in in less than 20 minutes. There is a lot to take in, so please put some time aside and invest in the experience. Whilst we are operating in a very different environment to what we are used to, business continues to move on and as businesses, we have to keep evolving too. We must keep up-to-date and work hard to drive our businesses forward.

So despite the pandemic, all the usual commercial aspects remain and iceBike* has always been about stimulating thought and ideas about business and whilst we can’t do that physically right now, we should still afford ourselves the time to review what is going on, see what new opportunities there may be and adapt and change as necessary. It is impossible to say how digiBike* might affect future iterations of iceBike* but we will definitely analyse the data after the show and see what we can learn from it to improve what we do in the future.

Do you think things will quickly go back to normal after COVID, or might fewer people attend shows in the future?
Another difficult one to answer. There is always going to be a place for trade shows in our industry as personal relationships are vital when it comes to doing good business and I would not want to lose that.

Who knows what long-term impacts the pandemic may have. If our suppliers and customers really love the new digiBike* format and it works well, then I think it could prove to be a powerful tool for specific product or brand launches especially during the busier times in the year when it is much harder for our customers to be able to visit a physical event.

Dealers are encouraged to sign-up for digiBike* now at www.digibike.co.uk. The show will take place over the course of four days from Monday 29th March to Thursday 1st April.

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