Out­door

How ven­dors and re­tail­ers are nav­i­gat­ing a new trade show sched­ule.

Footwear News - - CONTENTS - By Jes­sica Kaplan

Con­ver­sa­tion As the OR sched­ule gets more com­pli­cated, how ven­dors and re­tail­ers are adapt­ing.

As trade show Out­door Re­tailer’s Win­ter Mar­ket kicks off in Den­ver on Nov. 8, the in­dus­try is de­bat­ing what a sched­ule shift will mean for busi­ness.

Out­door Re­tailer now has three ma­jor dates on its cal­en­dar: this week’s event, the Snow Show in Jan­uary and the Sum­mer Mar­ket in June. (OR re­lo­cated to Den­ver for this year’s edi­tion and ab­sorbed SIA, which is rooted in ski­ing and snow­board­ing.)

Or­ga­niz­ers said they have tried to for­mu­late a sched­ule that works for ev­ery­one. “It all started [a few years ago] with a sur­vey to our con­stituents and re­tail­ers [about] tim­ing,” said Marisa Ni­chol­son, OR’s VP and show di­rec­tor. “What we’ve seen is more prod­uct be­ing in­tro­duced in very early time frames.”

But the ad­di­tion of an event in Novem­ber has sparked con­fu­sion among brands, at­ten­dees and me­dia.

“OR is a big trade show for us, and as a smaller brand, it rep­re­sents a huge part of our sales and mar­ket­ing bud­gets,” For­sake mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Jack Knoll told FN. “Be­cause of that fac­tor, we have to be su­per-attuned to the suc­cess and fail­ures of spend­ing money. We’re hope­ful that Novem­ber brings po­ten­tial ben­e­fits be­cause it’s at the start of the sales sea­son — though if it ends up be­ing an in­ef­fec­tive show for us, I know we can’t fore­see us com­mit­ting to it long-term.”

From a footwear per­spec­tive, some brands cited other unique chal­lenges. “We’ve been forced by out­er­wear com­pa­nies to go into this Novem­ber cy­cle,” said Peter Sachs, GM of Lowa. “When cer­tain big com­pa­nies hold up a red jacket, they also show a shoe to go with it. I’m try­ing to Com­pete for that mar­ket share in Novem­ber.”

Some mer­chants said the sched­ule shift is part of an evolv­ing cli­mate. “It would be eas­ier if there was one [phys­i­cal] show,” said Ira

“The big chal­lenges are just be­ing on the road more, which takes us out of the of­fice more.” — Wes Allen, Sun­light Sports

Rosh, DMM for Paragon Sports in New York. “[But] we’re not fac­ing any big hard­ships with how things are evolv­ing. We’ll ad­just ac­cord­ingly.”

For Sun­light Sports in Cody, Wyo. — with deep roots in both the tra­di­tional out­door arena and the ski and snow­board mar­kets — mul­ti­ple show dates are cre­at­ing ob­sta­cles. (The re­tailer also at­tends the Grass­roots Con­nect show in Novem­ber.) “The big chal­lenges we see are just be­ing on the road more, which takes us out of the of­fice more and away from over­head work — and, most im­por­tantly, our cus­tomers,” coowner Wes Allen said.

To sup­port re­tail­ers, Ni­chol­son said OR is tout­ing its schol­ar­ship pro­gram to ease the bur­den of trav­el­ing to both shows. “We’re tak­ing the fund and try­ing to spread it out over as many re­tail­ers as we can,” she said. Fi­nally, the show will host its In­no­va­tion Awards at this week’s event to help fuel the com­mu­nity spirit.

A Salomon boot at the 2018 Snow Show

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