Barbeques and bikes! Got your attention now? Madison’s not short of major announcements this month, so Mark Sutton tracks down its marketing director Will Fripp to discuss another B2B revamp, a changing show schedule and a second iceBike* to be held in the summer...

SPOTLIGHT: Madison and iceBike* Winter

To begin on an exciting note, a July iceBike* is planned for this year – how did this second date come about?
iceBike* Winter, showcasing the winter range, will be taking place on July 20th to 22nd with a
Sunday preview day on the 18th for those who find it hard to travel from their stores on busy weekdays. The new event has been created thanks to the success and great feedback from dealers and suppliers about our February show and nicely rounds up the various secondary launches that Madison often holds for bikes and winter goods all into one bigger event, earlier in the year.

The second show offers a new platform upon which we can launch what’s new from our bike brands ahead of the arrival of new stock. The summer date also allows dealers to start gearing up for the winter season with new offerings from Shimano and our lighting, helmet, clothing and footwear brands.

Will the format be the same? Dealers are invited to stay for entertainment and perhaps a barbeque?
It’s the height of summer, it would be rude not to have a barbeque, so we will be offering food and drink during the show as per the February one, as well as an evening BBQ on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Also on the Wednesday, the annual Madison staff bike ride will take place and dealers are invited to join us in what is always a great (and often wobbly wheeled, on the ride back) evening.

Next up, there’s some pretty significant changes coming to the Madison B2B. How has the system been improved?
The premise behind B2B has always been to allow our customers to interact with Madison at their convenience and to do anything they could normally do by phone – online.

As part of this mission we are bringing an online payment system to B2B allowing customers more flexibility in how they manage their account with Madison. So, for example, if they are a new Pro-forma account, then rather than placing an order then having to phone credit control, pay and they then release it –it now runs seamlessly. Equally, existing customers can opt to pay for their orders immediately by card, or pay off retrospective outstanding invoices by card.

Dealers who want to pay us by BACS can also notify us which invoices they want to pay in this way, the system then generates a reference number for them to use when they do the BACS payment so it can be quickly married up.

Credit and debit cards are accepted – settlement discount still applies for orders and invoices paid within the given time, but for CC’s only, there’s a one per cent handling fee, as there is by phone, now. Debit card payments are free.

How are you keeping credit card charges to a minimum?
Madison isn’t a business trying to make money from credit card transactions, so despite additional fees now incurred for transacting online, it has chosen not to pass these on and to keep its minimal fees (for credit cards only).

What advantages are there with the B2B revamp?

It’s not so much of a revamp as an augmentation, as is constantly happening with our B2B platform. Seventy per cent of our sales are transacted by what we see as an industry-leading B2B site and so we see the addition of online payments and a proper BACS process as a move in the right direction.

Madison is set to switch its London show attendance – why is this?
There are several reasons why the new Excel show will be beneficial to us. The timing of the show is ideal – just after Christmas when cyclists have some money to spend, but also when they’re thinking about their lifestyles and the year ahead.

Fitness and health is at the forefront of most people’s minds and we want them to be thinking of cycling as a way of achieving this, and with our brands in mind. The London Bike Show is partnered with the London Boat Show and the Outdoors Show, allowing visitors to attend all three on one ticket. This means there’s great potential for a vast amount of visitors at the London Bike Show, far more than can be expected at any other show held in the UK.

There’s great cross-over in consumers between the outdoors world, sailing and cycling, so while we have a chance to expose our brands to a wider audience, the cycling enthusiast will be able to investigate what the other shows have to offer.

Are you seeking to draw non-cyclists’ attention in particular?
The London Bike Show is a cycling specific show, so we will be seeing cycle enthusiasts and this is reflected by the commitment to taking brands such as Shimano, Cervelo, Genesis, Ridgeback Saracen, Commencal and Pearl Izumi. However, we’re very aware non-cyclists are hard to communicate with on a distributor level which is why the partnership with the other two shows and the access to non-cyclists has been a big draw for us.

In other news...

Mavic opens North American office to support sales and service

Mavic, the French manufacturer of bicycle wheels and equipment, has opened an office in Waterbury, …