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Is the new boat show online?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by YachtForums, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Email blast from MarineMax:

    "Fort Lauderdale is where many of our brands debut new models and we do an excellent job connecting with customers that attend the show. Now we decided to push the envelope further," stated Abbey Heimensen, MarineMax Director of Marketing. "This year, we plan to host an Online Boat Show in conjunction with the physical show so everyone can see these debuts. Our team has been hard at work designing an online event for those who would like to attend the show from the comfort of their own home."


    They're a little late to the party, but a welcome guest. I think they'll find the metrics support a digital boat show. Logistics, cost and a diminishing ROI for vendors, compared to spreading those resources digitally, well...

    .... I think the new boat show is online.

    What do you think?
  2. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    I watched most of the Cannes Boatshow online. Did I miss the crowds, traffic. parking and prices?

    Err...have a guess?
  3. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    No, and I'll clarify.

    I believe tire kicking, looking at boats in general, advance looking, window shopping, narrowing down interests, and pre-shopping are done well online. You don't have to go to physically see all the boats.

    However, I think the Boat Show still has it's place. First, it's important for those in the industry to interface with others. Second, it's a tremendous resource for the serious shopper, even the one not buying yet. It's for in-depth looking. You can't walk a boat and get a feel online.

    I think what Marine Max is doing is wise and that is using the two to complement each other. It's not unlike what we're finding in retail. Online sales are not killing our brick and mortar stores, but they're supplementing it. People can look and decide what they want to come see closer or try on. Or they can order another color of the item they bought last week. We show our store inventories online, allow ordering there, then handle those orders with store personnel who also contact the customer acknowledging the order and updating the status. We also have customers call and ask for ideas and a salesperson who knows them can suggest, look at item 12345. Looking at one product, women's apparel. Over 20% of it is now being sold online. Return rates are 30-50% with some higher. Then there's a substantial percentage of customers disappointed (normally with fit) who don't return but don't rebuy. You can't be profitable with those return rates. Also, if you buy from those trying you will be getting previously worn items much of the time. You can't do fit online even as much as many have tried.

    I think online is excellent for preliminary looking and shopping and that's it's limit. You might say fit isn't relevant to this discussion but it absolutely is, determining how it feels when you step on it and into it.

    Brokers perhaps could do fine having their own shows online and offline. However, that would be a dangerous move. You miss those not initially knowledgeable about you and you lose the value of presence. Not being seen has a cost. Not having a nice representative inventory at a show is even seen as a reflection on the health of the broker or dealer. Builders need FLIB's and there is no end of that in sight.

    So, I agree that online is the place for preliminary looking and shopping for many. It can eliminate the need to go to many builders and many shows before you even have an idea. It can lead to a better prepared and more knowledgeable shopper at the show or in the showroom. This can also work both ways and I'd say any broker or builder without computers set up with their web sites, with all available models, at the show is failing to use the available technology.

    Oh, and crowds for shows will decrease due to online, but buyers and serious shopper will still come. It's those just out to look around who won't be there.
  4. sgawiser

    sgawiser New Member

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    We have learned a great deal at boat shows even when looking at boats that were not at the top of our list. Sometimes a boat that can't meet our needs has features that we had not thought about and end up on our must have lists.

    And that educational process helps to focus us when we are purchasing a new vessel. At least for us old folks, looking online while very helpful, cannot replace siting on a helm seat and checking the real visibility among other things.

    So I would agree that both have a role to play.
  5. Maxwell

    Maxwell Senior Member

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    Completely agree with Olderboater with online being a great avenue for preliminary looking etc. When we first started getting into a little bit larger boats (for us), I had scoured the web for as much information about the boats we had narrowed our search down to. This however didn't give us a completely clear picture as most of the available content (excluding YF) consisted of basically paid advertisements in magazines, online reviews etc where the writer would be hesitant to say something negative about the boat for fear of lost advertising revenue. The ability to spend time on all the potential candidates in the same place (Miami show in our case) allowed us to really compare features, serviceability, and functionality of the boats and make the right buying decision for us at the time.

    Max
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I once got into a conversation with the owner of a large car dealership from whom we bought two cars that day. We talked about the impact of the internet. He said, if anything, it had increased his business as customers were so much better informed when they called or came in. He said tire kickers were down substantially as they did that online. Now, one difference in cars vs. boats, is now pricing is far more transparent and he said that had eliminated competing against those less honest about prices. Also, now people came in not talking about wanting a Porsche 911 and asking what colors it came in and what they had. Now they walk in to look at the Blue Metallic 911 shown online for $150,810 and that if it was as pretty in person as online, they were definitely interested. One short walk to the car, a short ride and they signed to buy it. He commented that when we arrived, my wife already knew they had the car she wanted in stock.

    Those who will get left behind are those who fail to integrate new technology into their business. You can't fight change, so best to embrace it. FLIBS does not do a good job of that yet, in my opinion. They should have full photos and descriptions of every boat in the show on their website. That wouldn't keep interested buyers from coming. Also, they would then be offering the builders and brokers a virtual showcase and help offset the pricing resistance they experience. Then it would be, "You don't just get XXX visitors to the show, you get YYY visitors online as well."
  7. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

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    I just searched Marine Max online virtual boat show. They have good SEO as it came up right away, good start.
    I would have to sign up to "receive access". As I am not shopping and only like to look at all sorts of boats, I am no that interested to cause me to sign up.
  8. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Good for you to not sign up I think. I once signed in to the METS trade show in Amsterdam to get an advance ticket, and since then my mailbox is flooded with all kind of offerings in Dutch... So after this, I never register online to anything and usually gives away a fake mail address when needed to have access to boat shows...
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I also resent requirement to sign up. You're advertising and want me to jump through hoops to see your ad? Not going to happen and definitely not going to use a legitimate email address. Have many extras for that purpose that I only look at to verify and get access.
  10. Alzira II

    Alzira II New Member

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    After the recession when a lot of companies were cutting back on boat show expenses and sales were down and internet was new everyone thought boat shows would become obsolete. I think the only thing that changed is our front doors moved to the web. They land there first, if they like what the see then maybe they swing by. In hindsight I think its like the rollout of instant communication/ video conferencing digital world we live in. I think there was a time when we thought you would be able to avoid travel for work you could just videoconference everyone. In reality the mobile age just made it easier to do business further away and the end result was we actually began traveling more. So from a marine marketing perspective I think by the time they walk in the booth or the dealership it's the dealer deal to lose.
  11. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Just returning from 4 of the hottest days I've ever experienced at a boat show. Most people were congregating inside or very near the air conditioned tents. Judy was babysitting a Broward north of Las Olas. Not too many folks willing to walk that far in the heat. She sent pics...

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  12. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Took a tour of the Bell of the Ball with Mike Joyce. These pics were taken from the bow of Baba's...

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  13. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Empty docks at FLIBS?
  14. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Quiet on opening day. Thur & Fri were busy. Visited with my favorite builders, skipped the rest. Too hot.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    It's only been in the 80's. I don't get all the whining about heat except by those from Alaska.

    I heard Thursday and Friday from opening until about 3:00 both days were extremely busy. We went by on the water and traffic looked heavy. One thing I heard was that the percentage of visitors who were serious buyers or potential buyers was up.

    Now, the biggest negative undertone to the show was the fear of tariffs by the Chinese builders and their discussions of delivering offshore, commissioning offshore, and flagging offshore to the US.
  16. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    I'm glad you enjoyed the breeze of cruising by the show, but those of us on the docks didn't enjoy the same.
  17. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Not online, but the old fashioned way:
    Crowded even 10:30 Friday, but good people watching.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2019
  18. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    As if the first days of the show weren't hot enough, the rain yesterday added humidity and mugginess that was pretty unbearable even for us long-time Floridians. I think this was the lightest traffic I have ever seen at a boat show.
  19. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

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    Well there was that virtual boat show. I still don't get that as YouTube and web surfing has always been a virtual boat show. I wonder if one did a study or created a spread sheet to look at all of the online website visits and YouTube views for each model and compared that to actual sales, what they would find.
    Seems like an interesting project for an MBA candidate.
    Does online exposure correlate to sales?

    If online exposure is important do buyers then skip shows and go direct to dealer/manufacturer?
  20. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    They always say that. It's Industry speak for "it made sense for us to be here, whatever the circumstances".

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