MONTREAL, Quebec (BRAIN)— ExpoCycle 2011, powered by the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, which kicked off Sunday was held for the first time at the Palais des Congres in Old Montreal. The new venue created a totally new feel and vibe to the show—a welcome change by all attendees. The show opened to an optimistic group of retailers, suppliers, reps, media and industry professionals looking ahead to the 2012 season.
With 110 exhibitors representing more than 800 brands, ExpoCycle 2011 experienced growth in both brands attending and exhibitor booth size reflecting the optimism in both the show and industry. Bike trade retailers were able to preview new brands from first-time exhibitors that included: Merrell Canada, Dartmoor Bikes Canada, Treloc, RSD Distribution (Jett), Bike Glow, Passion Sports (Evoc and Orontas), Kristin Green and Associates (LightSpeed), Stage-Race Distribution (Boo Cycles, Carrera, C4 Bicycle Components, Dash Cycles, Fondriest, Museeuw Bikes, Pantani Bikes, Passoni, Scapin, Storck Bikes, Thm Carbones, Tiso Bike, Tune, Vandessel Sports).
In addition, retailers re-connected with a number of brands that returned to the ExpoCycle 2011 after a brief hiatus, including: Giant Canada, Ryeka Sports, Contour Cameras, Hincapie Custom Apparel, Spinervals & Carmichael DVD's, DZ Nuts, VeloPress Books, Sombrio, and Part One International (Catlike, Vanmoof, Wilier Triestina).
These new and returning brands used new booth designs that visually merchandised in creative ways—picking up on the mindset of selling a lifestyle and an experience. Retailers in attendance had the opportunity to mirror these techniques in store to inspire consumers to be cyclist.
Even before the show started, ExpoCycle 2011 was underway with its Retail Power Program of educational seminars. Part of the Retailer Power Program, "Social Media: What You Should Know" got underway. Lynn Switanowski, from Creative Business Consulting Group, inspired and educated attending retailers with new social media strategies to shift marketing tactics to meet today's consumer needs. "Eighty six percent of Canadians from the ages of 18-34 use social media daily," Switanowski said. "It's where your customers are. A face-to-face relationship is no longer a requirement to bring customers to your store." Switanowski then engaged with attending retailers on real examples and strategies to implement into their businesses.
The education continued throughout the day with seminars from leading experts coaching on a range of topics from: visual merchandising, building bicycle friendly communities, Facebook and selling electric bicycles. These seminars became the spark to help jolt retailers into action.
To celebrate the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal—sponsored by All Risk, Canadian Cycling Mag, Louis Garneau and Shimano—BTAC arranged for a live-video feed of the race to air throughout the day to make it convenient for retailers to juggle appointments and still take in the race. As the race heated up the cold beer (during the last hour of the race) kept the celebration going.
Continuing the party, ExpoCycle 2011 wrapped up a successful day with BTAC's Industry Party to celebrate cycling in style on the Palais Terrace. Those in attendance soaked up the view and beverages, networked with piers and enjoyed the entertainment that included live DJ's, bike vids and giveaways.
"Our early feedback has been very positive," said Janet O'Connell, executive director, Bicycle Trade Association of Canada—producers of ExpoCycle 2011. "The buzz from this year's show is terrific—attendees are telling us that they enjoyed the new venue, social and networking opportunities, and new educational seminars. In our view there are four key pillars to a successful trade show: venue, product, education and networking, and having invested significantly in these areas this year our sense is that investment is paying dividends."