Kimpex Changes Distributor Show Format to Smaller Regional Events and Virtual Exhibition

Kimpex takes a new direction in 2014, holding 13 smaller regional events across Canada this fall instead of one central trade show for its dealers. The marine product distributor, based in Drummondville, Quebec, has also added a new virtual tool to its arsenal and ultimately aims to reach more of its customers one-on-one than ever before.

"We have decided to change how we do shows,' explains Michel Cote, Kimpex's Vice President of Sales. "Over the years, I always found it disappointing to not reach as many dealers as we wanted to with our events. We've tried many different formulas with our shows over the years – including holding a single large event in either the US or Canada. The most we ever seem to attract to a single show is between 100 to 220 dealers from coast to coast.'

Considering that Kimpex says it has between 2,000 to 2,800 customers in Canada for all its various product categories, Cote felt rounding up only 200 or so of them was underwhelming. "When we don't reach dealers in remote areas or have fewer resources, we miss an opportunity,' he says. "These businesses will not see the new products and will not have access to the show promotions.'

He adds that sending a Kimpex representative directly to absentee clients, with a hockey bag full of new product, is a far cry from a professional presentation.

Kimpex has surveyed its customers over the years in hopes of finding a better answer as to how it can keep them informed about new product while enabling them to take advantage of show-time incentives by being present. "There are many reasons a dealer might not be able to attend an event, but the two biggest are always: ‘I don't have enough resources to leave the shop' or ‘I can't leave my business for two or three days'.'

By holding a national tour closer to some of its clients, Kimpex hopes to over double dealer attendance this fall. "Instead of reaching 200 dealers, I want to reach 400 to 450 dealers,' says Cote. "We will go and meet our dealers where they are. It will be much easier to attend because we will be closer. They'll also be better prepared to explain new products to consumers since we can spend the time to take them through what's new.'

This year Kimpex's show tour includes four stops in Ontario, four in Quebec, two in the Maritimes and three in Western Canada.

Kimpex Trade Show Tour:
Drummondville, QC – Quality Suites – Oct. 14 to 16
Kelowna, BC – Four Points by Sheraton – Oct. 14 to 16
Moncton, NB – Super 8 – Oct. 15 to 16
Orillia, ON – Highwayman Inn – Oct. 15 to 17
Sylvan Lake, AB РBest Western Plus Ch̢teau Inn РOct. 20 to 22
Winnipeg, MB – Canad Inns – Oct. 20 to 23
Halifax, NS – Comfort Hotel – Oct. 21 to 22
Jonqui̬re, QC РDelta Jonqui̬re РOct. 21 to 23
Sudbury, ON – Hampton Inn – Oct. 21 to 22
St-Jérôme, QC – Super 8 – Oct. 28 to 30
London, ON – Best Western Lamplighter Hotel – Oct. 30 to 31
Val d'or, QC – L'escale – Nov. 4 to 6
Ottawa, ON – Residence Inn Marriott – Nov. 5 to 6

Another issue Cote says Kimpex reps experienced while holding a single show was having insufficient time to spend with each client. "We don't want dealers leaving the show with a sour taste in their mouths because they felt ignored. When they come to our show, they want to see their rep. With this national tour, we are scheduling appointments with the dealers.'

Cote says dealers will be provided the same incentives previously offered at the single show. He admits the regional events will be smaller than former shows and will not include as many products onsite. However, he believes Kimpex has more than addressed this challenge thanks to a new partnership with Virtuanima, a company specializing in the creation of virtual exhibitions. Kimpex believes the digital tool will enable it to effectively show even more products to its dealers during its national tour ( "This will allow us to show the product that will not be on the floor,' Cote says with excitement. "We'll have a few specific items onsite and all the rest of the products will be presented virtually on big screens.'
The new platform is already integrated into Kimpex's B2B booking system on its website, potentially making it quick and easy for its dealers to see what the company offers as well as train staff members about new products. Cote says Kimpex's customers will be able to use Virtuanima to help describe product to consumers as well.

"Usually, only one or two people from each dealership attend a show to see new product,” adds Cote. “Do you believe they actually return home and can effectively describe each new item they saw to other staff members? There's no way that happens! We're in 2014 and people are accustomed to shopping on the web. This technology is available and we have to use it.'