Wearable tech, electric bikes, further B2B investments and IceBike; 2015 has already been busy for CEO of Madison and Sportline Dominic Langan. BikeBiz finds out what’s next from a rapidly evolving business…
How was the move to the MK Dons arena received?
The number of people attending iceBike* 2015 was up 18 per cent and the number of actual accounts was up 16 per cent, so the new venue helped draw more people to the show. That was half the job. At the show itself, we also had a great response with some really positive feedback. One journalist wrote to us saying “iceBike* was the most enjoyable expo I’ve ever been to.” You can’t hope for much better than that.
Are people staying at the show longer with more content on offer?
Yes. We had over 65 stands all showcasing the best and newest products so there is a lot to see. Over the three days we had 860 subsidised rooms booked at our partner hotel, so people were staying for multiple days to see everything.
How much value do you feel product presentations add?
We have much more than just product presentations at iceBike*. We use the booths to go into detail on the products, but the seminars are focused on educating the attendees on wider brand stories, for example the scientific benefits of compression. We also invite experts in retail to present on a range of topics from how to “Build loyalty and community among your customers” to “Making the most out of the internet.” As well as this, we invite ACT, ATG and Shopatron to attend and support our retailers, ensuring they are getting the most out of their visit.
With 50 per cent more media in the house, do you see iceBike* as becoming a must-attend for cycling journalists and bloggers?
We were really happy with the media attendance and coverage of the event. It is must-attend event for media because so many brands launch new products and ranges at the show; this year’s show even hosted the global launch of Ridley’s 2016 cyclocross range.
This is a big undertaking for Madison. What kind of effort and preparations go into putting on a show like this?
We did a quick calculation and it turned out that the set-up and pack down of the show space came to over three thousand man hours, almost two thousand of those on the weekend. That really demonstrates how much work goes into the show production, not to mention the pre-show organisation and post-show follow-ups. It is a huge operation and I’m proud of the great job the Madison and Sportline teams do.
Overseas brand reps flew in for iceBike* – what do they take from time on the show floor?
Our international brands all recognise the value of iceBike*. So much so, we were pleased to host people from all levels including the owners of Lazer, Park Tool, Finish Line and Ridley. The UK is a key territory for all of our brands so this is a great opportunity for them to meet with key accounts and Madison’s sales team and keep them up-to-date with the latest news from their brands.
How’s business at present?
Madison goes from strength-to-strength and all aspects continue to grow. Recently we have added a number of exciting brands to our portfolio with huge potential in the UK, including Compressport and Quad Lock, and built on the brand teams accordingly.
We are heavily activating Lazer’s sponsorship of British Cycling as the official helmet supplier for Team GB to drive the brand forward in the lead up to Rio 2016. We also see Pearl Izumi as a huge growth area; with the new outlet store open in Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, we are now able to support our retailers with a buy back at the end of the season. We are expecting 2015 to be a strong year.
Which of your own labels have particularly impressed with innovation this year?
Every day I am impressed with the innovation coming out of our own brands. We will have the 2016 bike launch this summer and there is some really exciting stuff to look forward to. But at iceBike* the new ranges from Madison Clothing are fantastic and the Adventure Bikes Café series, unveiled at the Sportline Show, received a lot of attention.
What trends or tech do you foresee making waves in the industry through 2015/2016?
Without wanting to sound too ‘on trend’ I think wearable tech is really going to cause a stir in the next couple of years. It is something we are also investing in and now have a number of wearable tech brands in our portfolio, including Garmin, Recon Instruments, LifeBeam, Compressport, Quad Lock and Lazer. We are also fully investing in e-bikes and driving it forward, including our own brand Ridgeback, which is using Shimano’s innovative STePS system on the Electron, the new bike launched at The Sportline Show.
You’ve invested heavily into the B2B in recent years – how has that been received?
B2B has been one of our focuses for a few years now and is something we believe makes us stand out as an industry leader. We are always listening to retailer feedback and changing our offerings accordingly, and B2B is no different. As others follow our lead into ecommerce we are continuously investing to make improvements to stay ahead. There is a big upgrade planned for this year and serious investment in resource has been made to support our digital marketing and internet-based business ambitions.
Where does the average sale price of a bike sit nowadays? Is it true that the value is steadily rising in the market?
Bike pricing has not changed dramatically in recent years as it is a highly competitive market place in which the consumer continues to enjoy fantastic value for money.
The Adventure Bikes range has been heavily revamped for 2015 – are you investing in the everyday family sector as much as the higher end?
Between Madison and Sportline, we have a full range of products that cover all sectors whether that be road, MTB, commute or family. It isn’t a new direction we are taking a such, as Ridgeback has been a key brand of ours for many years but the new Adventure Bikes Café Series did stand out at The Sportline Show with its all-new look and feel.