In a move that surprised no one, Outdoor Retailer announced Wednesday that its January snowsports trade show will move to virtual as the nation continues to cope with the coronavirus crisis.
This is the second consecutive show that San Juan Capistrano, California-based OR — which is owned by the publicly traded Emerald Holding Inc. — has had to pivot from in-person to virtual. June’s OR Summer Market suffered a similar fate, as have most conferences since COVID-19 hit the U.S. economy in late winter.
In the place of Outdoor + Snow Show as it was most recently called (it was formerly known as just Snow Show), Outdoor Retailer will launch Outdoor Retailer Winter Online, a “digital marketplace and enhanced online experience to support this winter season.”
The online event will replace the in-person show, originally scheduled for January 27-29, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, bringing “the winter sports and outdoor communities together online to connect, learn, and discover what’s new in the industry.”
“While there’s incredible value in gathering in-person, it’s our responsibility to provide a safe environment and serve the best interests of the snow and outdoor communities,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer senior vice president and show director. “We are now focused on expanding upon the digital options we launched this past summer and are excited to introduce Outdoor Retailer Winter Online. We’re taking what we learned, along with feedback from our industry, and designing this next online edition with a host of enhancements for exhibitors and attendees this winter.
“Our commitment to our industry,” Nicholson continued, “is to provide an online experience that allows all attendees to discover new brands, products, and buyers; learn trends, best practices, and gain actionable insight; create connections, network, and engage with each other. As we continue to utilize new digital tools, it’s important for our community to remain united and take advantage of this opportunity to come together and help each other, and our industries, move forward.”
Outdoor Retailer Winter Online will differ from its summer predecessor thanks to the addition of artificial intelligence. The AI being deployed can infer a “user’s likes and dislikes, suggesting matches, and creating a uniquely tailored experience for each user to find products, brands, retailers, and education best suited to their needs. Outdoor Retailer Winter Online will also feature streamlined communication between brands, buyers, and media, including live video conferencing and live one-on-one chats; data-driven lead generation in real time; personalized dashboards and networking opportunities; and a comprehensive schedule of education sessions with industry leaders, experts, and visionaries.”
Outdoor Retailer said it will work alongside Snowsports Industries America (SIA), Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and other industry organizations, to develop educational programming and offer business tools. Key events will continue to be part of the online schedule, including the third annual Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards – the entry window is currently open.
Said Nick Sargent, president of SIA: “We are disappointed that we cannot gather this January, but this is our common reality due to the pandemic. That being said, there is a silver lining here. We have the opportunity to innovate and push the boundaries of how we do business. We also have the ability to maintain the momentum going into this season and keep the winter outdoor community together. Outdoor Retailer will provide a B2B platform in support of the trade, while SIA will continue to host our Industry + Intelligence educational sessions aimed at growing your business in this continually evolving world. We are all in this together.”
Added Lise Aangeenbrug, OIA executive director: “While the impacts from COVID-19 continue to disrupt our individual lives, communities, and businesses, we know that coming together – even virtually – is more important than ever. We look forward to partnering with Outdoor Retailer to bring together our industry and collectively mobilize around new challenges and opportunities that can help create thriving outdoor businesses, keep our planet thriving, and ensure more people thrive in an equitable and inclusive outdoors.”
Image courtesy Outdoor Retailer