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Outdoor Retailer

Outdoor Retailer explains decision process of show schedule shift

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Jennifer Holcomb, senior marketing director of Outdoor Retailer, talks about the show’s move to June and November and other upcoming changes.

Jennifer Holcomb, Outdoor Retailer
Jennifer Holcomb, senior marketing director of Outdoor Retailer // Photo: Manuel Lemus

Outdoor Retailer recently announced a major shake-up of the future shows. Starting in 2018, Summer Market will be in June, and winter will benefit from two shows: November and January. On top of that, for the first time, starting this year Winter Market is three days instead of four. Jennifer Holcomb sheds some light on the reasoning behind the changes and how you can share your feedback.

1. How do you think the shift to November and June will affect the industry?

We want what is best for the industry and we believe an efficient show calendar is one of the things we can contribute. We know this a huge change, but it’s a healthy change, and the right one. With Outdoor Retailer as the first show of the buying season, everyone comes together to see the launches, the trend presentations, and the side-by-side product comparisons to understand the marketing stories and the factors influencing the industry. That’s when we have those high-level, big-picture conversations about where we’re going. From there and with all that information, retailers go back to their regional shows, sit down with their reps, and write their orders.

2. What are you excited about for this show?

Retailer Skills Course! We’re working with Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and the Outdoor Industry Association, and this show we’re going to debut three days of specialty retail education called the Retailer Skills Course. It’s designed by retailers, for retailers. The overall theme will be about employees with a new topic each day: Day 1 is “Hiring the Right Employees,” Day 2 is “Developing Leaders,” and Day 3 is “Measuring Employee Success,” which will cover topics like accountability and performance reviews. We want people to go back to the store and be able to make an immediate impact. Retailer education is another way to do that.

3. Why did Outdoor Retailer decide to switch to a three-day format? 

After every show, we send out a post-show survey, and after Winter Market 2016, we asked retailers if they preferred a three-day show with a demo, or a four-day show with a demo. They wanted a three-day show with a demo and no weekends, and we listened. I think it’s going to be three really strong days. I think people will be able to use their time at the show effectively and still be able to be back in their shops to sell.

4. Any tips for navigating the show given the shorter time frame? 

Retailers who benefit most from Outdoor Retailer are the ones who approach it most strategically—from the way they book appointments (based on location or market segment, etc.) to the way they schedule time to wander and discover new brands and products. I think you’ll find the best success if you really plan your show. Our Show Planner tool has been completely revamped and enhanced—it now has matchmaking tools, lets you communicate directly with exhibitors, and helps manage appointments. Between that and the mobile app, there are so many tools at your disposal to help make walking the show the easy part. Our Retail Relations team will be available, too.

5. What can people expect from the two different winter Market shows starting in 2018?

We’re reimagining our traditional show in January and thinking of November as a preview opportunity. We’re seeing more four-season buying for retailers, so we’re trying to provide options in each of those buying cycles. We want retailers, brands, media, and all of the key stakeholders to be able to choose what best serves them in those different time frames. For us, it’s about efficiency—strengthening the entire show ecosystem to drive specialty retail so they can drive participation.

We haven’t finalized the details of either show, but we expect to release more information in mid-2017. If you want to share feedback, we’re here to listen. Brands should talk to their account executive, reps and retailers should talk to Joe Bustos and Kimberly Aguilar, and media can reach out to Kate Lowery.

Have questions or feedback for the Retail Relations team? Feel free to reach out to them:

Retail Relations Manager Joe Bustos:

Retail Concierge Kimberly Aguilar:

Brand Development Director Larry Harrison:

This article was first published on p. 10 of the Pre-Show edition of Outdoor Retailer Daily.