INTERVIEW WITH STEFAN REISINGER - HEAD OF EUROBIKE - PART TWO
It is not just Covid-19 that is bringing change to EUROBIKE this year. Head of Eurobike Stefan Reisinger provides insight into how plans for the 29th edition of the leading bike trade fair are shaping up.
“The bike industry is also experiencing the trend towards closer interlinking of products and services”
Stefan Reisinger, EUROBIKE has a lot in store this year and has also added a new event with EUROBICO. What’s behind all this?
Stefan Reisinger: This is a very pragmatic approach involving the trade association Bike & Co. By bringing together two strong products – our media events and the BICO order show – on a suitable date in a conveniently accessible venue, we have minimised expense for all involved, created synergies and achieved greater relevance.
EUROBICO is scheduled to take place from 24 to 26 July 2021. How confident are you that it will actually take place?
I am optimistic. We have carefully-selected attendance for EUROBICO with specialist dealers from Germany and European media representatives. It won’t be a mass gathering. Frankfurt Messe also has a lot of experience and is very well prepared for running events of this kind. In principle, everything should work fine.
By running EUROBICO as an event for the media, does this mean cancelling the previous MEDIA DAYS in the Alps?
This year, we have decided to concentrate on three events: VELOBerlin together with our partner velokonzept, EUROBICO and EUROBIKE. However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t be offering another media event in the Alps next year. This year though, we thought that an additional date wouldn’t be particularly beneficial. Firstly because of the coronavirus pandemic, and secondly because of the turmoil within the industry due to goods availability.
“The industry is building up a substantial backlog.”
Let’s take a look at Asia: The Taipeh Cycle Show is currently taking place in a purely digital format. What feedback are you receiving from the Asian region?
The current situation in Taiwan regarding Covid-19 in Taiwan does not present a risk, and everything is being done to make sure it stays that way. Hardly anyone is travelling abroad, with those arriving in the country subject to a strict 14-day quarantine period. And it’s going to stay this way for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, the order books of bicycle manufacturers are full. Everyone has got plenty of business, but there are currently shortages of raw materials, containers, ships and now labour as well. The industry is building up a substantial backlog. That is bound to remain with us throughout 2021, and will also have consequences for 2022.
“New products are definitely important, however trade fairs offer much more besides.”
A number of manufacturers are already announcing that they won’t be presenting any new products in 2021 and 2022. What effects will this have on EUROBIKE if there are no new products to present?
The requirement for all new products to be on show at EUROBIKE is outmoded. In recent years, we have seen many manufacturers taking advantage of other dates and other occasions to present their new products. We’re adapting to this trend and offering the manufacturers various solutions to design a successful show presence. This might involve direct contact to end users or global media reach. Companies can also simply showcase just one highlight, a small selection from their collection, or even just take advantage of workspaces to meet with suppliers or international sales partners. New products are definitely important, however trade fairs offer much more besides.
At EUROBIKE 2019, for example, there were special areas dedicated to cargo bikes and start-ups. Will we be able to see more such features this year?
We are in fact already involved in the specific planning to create even more of these areas. The advantage here comes from having everything on one particular theme within view, and supported by related talks. Cargo bikes will definitely have their own special area again. We’re also keen to have a greater focus on the topic of road performance, as this involves an important and large community. There are also plans for the on-trend topic of gravel/adventure to have its own area. And we’re working on giving more attention to the subject of e-sports, which is another fascinating subject at the moment.
Digital is an important buzzword. What’s your view on digital solutions in cycling?
Bikes and the bike industry area also experiencing the trend towards closer interlinking of products and services. In future, digital solutions will create important purchasing incentives for customers while bikes and actually using them will become interconnected with other areas of life. This is especially true of the e-bike, where the availability of electricity on board already offers many opportunities – and also in crossover business for other sectors and markets.
A year and a half ago, we saw the launch of a digital platform for the bike industry in the form of EUROBIKE CONNECT. How has the network developed in the meantime, taking into account the effects of the pandemic as well?
Response to the network has been growing during the pandemic. In contrast to the trade fair, EUROBIKE CONNECT is designed as an all-year platform and enables interaction over the full twelve months, especially when it’s not possible to meet in person. Although the platform has been in place now for a year and a half, it’s still very much in its infancy. We are constantly implementing new features and extending the business model. In this way, we are able to incorporate more profiles and companies into the network and to create additional links. This is an ongoing process – in fact it’s unlimited. The network has a great potential and will keep growing steadily.
“There is a tremendous potential for the industry as well as a lot of catching up and optimising to do.”
How does the networking operate?
We look to see where demand exists within the industry. This may involve widely differing contact points. Let’s take the current example of goods availability. Why shouldn’t it be possible to buy goods through EUROBIKE CONNECT? Or give suppliers the chance to sell off their excess stock? Most of the relevant information is already available in digital form. It has to be rendered easy to find on the platform and presented in a suitable form. However, this also includes content or services that we process together with Bidex, for example, in order to provide end users with the right size and colour of bike and display availability at retailers. Recruiting the right people is another major topic. It’s much easier to conduct a targeted and accurate search on a platform than by using small ads. There is a tremendous potential for the industry as well as a lot of catching up and optimising to do. And we’re playing our part.