MARINA, CA (BRAIN)—Sidi America hosted a small group of editors for its first media day last week at its offices near Monterey on California’s central coast.
Editors from Outside, Lava, Rodale, Peloton, Road Bike Action and Pez Cycling spent the day hearing about and riding 2011 shoes as part of Sidi’s efforts to garner media attention as it focuses on regaining market share lost over the past five years.
Al Budris, president of Sidi America, which launched a year ago after the Italian company took over its U.S. distribution from Veltec, said the high-end shoe manufacturer has lost half the market share it had five years ago when he last managed the brand for Veltec. Budris estimates Sidi currently owns about 15 percent of the $66 million U.S. market, but he’s aiming to return it to the 30 percent the brand held in 2005.
In addition to the media day, Sidi will also launch a mobile fit studio that will travel to six key West Coast consumer events next year—San Diego Gran Fondo, Sea Otter, Wildflower Triathlon, Napa Gran Fondo, Tour of California and the Ironman in Couer d’Alene. The custom sportsmobile will hold 70 pairs of shoes in order to provide the selection of sizes and models that consumer might not be able to find at retail.
Retailers struggle with the cycling shoe business because of a prevailing attitude that it’s better to lose the sale than be stuck with too much inventory, Budris said. He estimates 30 percent of all sales are lost due to retailers being out of stock, out of the right size or not having the right model in stock.
“It’s a really difficult category that doesn’t turn and they’ve got a lot invested,” Budris said.
In another effort to combat that issue, Budris will send his product manager to visit Sidi’s top 100 shops in the first quarter of next year to run fit clinics. Sidi America will also launch a shoe sizing program in January that allows consumers to order different shoes sizes direct from Sidi to allow them to find the right fit. Consumers would provide a credit card to pay for freight out and would be responsible to return samples within a week at their expense.
For more on Sidi America's 2011 plans including details on pricing and SKU reductions, read the January issue of BRAIN.