Shop Talk: Bauer World event in Florida all about customer service
Behind The Mask was invited to the 2018 Bauer World Global Hockey dealer conference in Miami from Oct. 24-27.
Dealers from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia and other countries attended.
We arrived on Wednesday night, checked in to the hotel and had some free time to walk the gorgeous hotel property (11 pools and nine restaurants) and settle in.
Thursday morning started with a 7 a.m. breakfast, followed by the opening ceremonies.
Bauer talked about the state of the retail hockey industry, the direction they are going with fewer dealers and stronger retail partnerships, and how the select dealers they had invited would be getting exclusive Bauer products moving forward such as exclusive sticks and skates. Bauer also discussed a new custom stick and skate-fitting program.
BTM has been on the ground floor with Bauer with our 3D custom fit center, allowing customers to customize any of the three high-end families of skates (Nexus, Supreme and Vapor). In 2019, Bauer will also be allowing customization on the second level down skates as well, and then with custom goalie skates by the summer of 2019.
We got a chance to attend pods on all the new products. The five 90-minute pods were on protective, helmet and facial, goalie, roller and apparel. We got to listen to the presentation of those category managers. All five pods were very informative.
That night, we had a banquet meal and an open trade show where we could walk around, touch and feel the product and speak with the product managers, many of them who we have had relations with for many a year. Always good to catch up with them.
Friday morning started with an executive question-and-answer breakfast followed by guest speakers. We listened to Chad Brown, the CFO of Trek Bikes, talking about how Trek runs its business. It was fascinating to hear. He spoke of how specialty sporting goods stores can thrive if the give extraordinary customer service. Ordinary customer service at retail spells long-term disaster. He walked us through how Trek partners with dealers throughout the entire bike-buying process.
We also had author Joseph Michelli speak about retail business practices and the in-store shopping experience. He has consulted and written books on Mercedes, Starbucks and Amazon – another inspiring guest speaker who explained that in-store retail beats online if the customer service is top-notch.
Friday afternoon, we had some time off and several of the dealers ventured to Gulfstream Park West to spend time in the sun watching the race horses. It was a good chance to talk business in a fun setting.
Friday night, we had our Havana night that included a barbecue, rum tasting and cigar rolling station. It was a casual setting with a chance to catch up with some of our retail friends.
Saturday morning was a wrap up on the day’s events, complete with some swag for the retailers – handshakes, good byes and a new inspiration of making BTM better.
The Monday after Bauer World, we sat down with our managers and went over what all of us can do to make the customer experience better in our stores.
Thanks to Bauer for including us in this global dealer event. We had an absolute blast!
Randy Exelby is the owner of Behind The Mask Hockey Shops.
(Dec. 6, 2018)