By Mike Imlay
SEMA Show Guide for Buyers
Top Features to Maximize Your Game Plan
With more than 2,500 exhibiting companies, including 500 new exhibitors, representing every aftermarket segment, the 2016 SEMA Show promises buyers overwhelming opportunities. As a buyer, you’ll want to formulate a game plan before hitting the Show floor to stay focused and get maximum return on investment.
Buyers attending this year’s SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), should expect more business opportunities than ever before at the world’s premier automotive aftermarket trade event.
“The 2016 SEMA Show features the best mix of exhibitors we’ve ever had,” said SEMA Show Director Tom Gattuso. “In fact, we’ve exceeded our prior year’s space to the point that we’re stretching this year’s Show canvas to every square inch of the LVCC halls and beyond. This is certainly a terrific benchmark as we celebrate the Show’s 50th year, but no matter what year we’re celebrating, our business proposition for buyers hasn’t changed. We understand that they’re looking for tremendous return on investment, and we’re here to connect them with quality exhibitors. That was the focus 50 years ago, and it remains our focus today.”
Moreover, according to Gattuso, the keyword for this year’s Show is “interactivity”—with products, exhibitors and the industry. And, with so much more to interact with in one week, it’s important to note that SEMA Show surveys consistently indicate that 70% of buyers ensure their success by creating a game plan before they even step onto the Show floor. As you create your own “buyer action plan,” don’t forget to make the following key 2016 SEMA Show features your top priorities.
Start With the New Products Showcase
Without a doubt, the New Products Showcase should top every buyer’s to-do list. The Showcase boasts hundreds of new and featured products and free scanners to instantly capture product data and locate exhibitors.
Truly successful buyers know that their first SEMA Show stop has to be the New Products Showcase, which continues to rank among the Show’s most popular attractions. As a buyer, it’s your number-one resource for identifying hot products, connecting with exhibitors and charting your course throughout Show week. Bigger than ever, the 2016 Showcase resides on the Skybridge between the LVCC’s Central and South Halls and includes not only a diverse array of new products from hundreds of exhibiting companies but also their most significant featured products.
The Showcase opens each morning at 8:00 a.m., giving buyers extended access before and after the main Show floor opens and closes (Tuesday–Thursday, 6:00 p.m.; Friday, 3:00 p.m.). Buyers also have access to free scanning equipment so that they can instantly collect detailed product information and build personalized exhibitor lists for follow-up during and after the Show.
“Thousands of buyers and media visit the Showcase to discern the leading aftermarket trends each year,” said Gattuso. “It really is the cornerstone of a winning buyer’s Show plan and the most effective way to begin interacting with companies and their products right from day one.”
Download the 2016 SEMA Show App
While buyers will certainly want to make the New Products Showcase their first real-time Show destination, they’ll also want to immediately preview the entire Show floor by downloading the free 2016 SEMA Show app. Redesigned with a 50th anniversary theme for this year’s Show, it’s a simple, indispensable tool for efficiently creating your personalized Show itinerary, finding exhibitors and getting to choice features and attractions.
“Filling every usable square foot of the LVCC, the sheer size and scope of the SEMA Show can be overpowering,” Gattuso said. “By tying directly to our online floor plan, the mobile app helps you map your Show experience and prioritize destinations and activities. In addition, you’ll find a complete, up-to-date Show schedule and planner, detailed information for all of our 2016 exhibitors, events and education programs and numerous other helpful features such as FAQs, celebrity appearance listings and social-media tools. Available for Apple and Android phones, the 2016 SEMA Show app can be downloaded through your device’s native app store.”
Explore the Performance Pavilion
This year, the SEMA Show presents buyers with more than 2,500 exhibiting companies, including 500 new exhibitors, representing every category in the automotive specialty-equipment market. To help connect buyers with this unprecedented number of new exhibitors, the 2016 SEMA Show again includes the Performance Pavilion, a first-time and featured exhibitor expansion area located just outside the LVCC South Hall (adjacent to the Renaissance Hotel).
The Performance Pavilion area also includes a transportation hub, making it a primary thoroughfare into the SEMA Show. Introduced last year, the Performance Pavilion is actually one of two expansion areas showcasing companies that are new to the Show and displaying new and featured products in highlighted niches.
The second expansion area is located in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Like the Performance Pavilion, this area will also showcase companies that have previously not exhibited.
Refresh Your Education
For the first time ever, the SEMA Show will extend its education tracks through Friday, offering attendees tremendous opportunities to stay on top of industry trends and improve their business skills. This year’s track features more than 75 free and several pay-to-attend events presented by leading industry experts.
While known worldwide as the specialty-equipment industry’s premier trade event where business gets done, the annual SEMA Show is also heavy on learning opportunities, with more than 75 free and several pay-to-attend educational events covering everything from social media and online marketing to customer service, industry trends, business skills and more. Plus, for the first time ever, the 2016 SEMA Show is introducing education tracks on Friday.
“The additional Education Days sessions on Friday will provide attendees with the opportunity to accomplish even more during the Show, create a schedule with more flexibility and participate in desired sessions that they may not have had time to attend earlier in the week,” said Zane Clark, SEMA’s senior director of education. “Now, from Show beginning to end, buyers will find a huge roster of educational seminars and learning events geared toward every segment of the industry.”
SEMA Show education focuses on presentations by leading experts who arm industry professionals with the tools and resources to deliver career advancement and businesses growth. Courses and education-related events are open only to registered 2016 SEMA Show attendees, exhibitors and media. For a complete list of the 2016 curricula, visit www.SEMAShow.com/education.
Tap Into Your Buyer Incentives
SEMA-member companies in the buyer category—identified by their red badges—enjoy some special perks through the Show’s Member Buyer Rewards (MBR) program. While a more detailed look at member benefits appears on page 404 of this issue, here are a few highlights:
If you’re an association member but have not yet received your MBR card, you can pick one up during Show hours in the Members Lounge, located in the LVCC North Hall, room N251. The card gains you entry to the exclusive MBR Lounge, also open Tuesday through Friday during Show hours. You’ll find it to be a great place to rest your feet, grab some coffee and even get a meal, with hot lunches available for purchase from 11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m. daily or cold Grab ‘N’ Go’s available for purchase during Show hours. The lounge also provides access to a computer with internet service and a printer as well as charging stations for cell phones and other wireless devices.
Your MBR program further makes buyer participants eligible to receive one complimentary ticket to the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet on Thursday evening. (Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.)
To make your daily departures from the Show easier and more convenient, you’ll also be able to access dedicated MBR taxi lines from 2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. on Friday.
Interact With SEMA Central
Located in the LVCC Grand Lobby between the North and Central Halls, SEMA Central remains one of the Show’s most popular attendee destinations, principally for its cutting-edge presentations of technology and trends. This year, SEMA Central is serving up a series of automotive-themed demonstrations of virtual reality (VR) video and augmented reality (AR), giving attendees firsthand glimpses of how the technologies can be applied to all areas of automotive aftermarket product sales, marketing and development. The SEMA VR Experience includes live VR broadcasting, 360-degree video and fully immersive VR and AR experiences.
SEMA Central also includes the SEMA membership counter, where you can discover the many benefits of your association membership. If you aren’t an association member, no worries. Joining up at SEMA Central is quick and easy, and qualifies you for two paid 2017 SEMA Show registrations for company personnel who meet Show eligibility requirements. You’ll also get immediate access to the MBR Lounge located in LVCC room N251, along a free T-shirt voucher (limit one per new-member company). Note that these offers apply only to non-members attending the 2016 SEMA Show as buyers.
Within SEMA Central you can also pick up your tickets to the Industry Awards Banquet and visit the SEMA Garage demonstration space.
Stay Through Friday
With exhibitors and events going full throttle right to the end of Show—plus the annual SEMA Cruise and SEMA Ignited lighting up Friday night—there’s more reason than ever for buyers to stay through Friday.
Admittedly, many attendees once considered Friday a wind-down day—but not anymore. Smart buyers know the SEMA Show remains busy and productive right up to closing on Friday afternoon, with the excitement going well into the evening.
“Our exhibitors are here and ready to meet buyers throughout Friday,” Gattuso confirmed. “It’s not a throw-away day. Exhibitors remain present and eager to do business from 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., and features like the New Products Showcase, Ford Out Front, the GM Proving Ground, SEMA Central, Optima Alley, Hot Rod Alley and Arctic Cat go full throttle, with many celebrity appearances, demonstrations and workshops also taking place Friday. Buyers focused on getting the most out of the Show by staying the entire duration will see tremendous return on investment.”
Even after the LVCC lights dim, the Friday-night action is just getting started with the annual SEMA Cruise, with hundreds of Show vehicles parading out of the LVCC to the Gold Lot for SEMA Ignited, the industry’s Friday-evening after-party and consumer-facing event.
Introduced two years ago, SEMA Ignited includes themed vehicle displays, food, live entertainment and the culmination of the 2016 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. Credentialed Showgoers can attend the event at no cost. In addition to fun and celebration, both the SEMA Cruise and Ignited offer buyers glimpses into what’s currently revving up consumers.
Get the Most From Your Show Experience
The top buyer priorities found in these pages represent a fraction of the opportunities that await you at the 2016 SEMA Show. To learn more about these and countless other Show programs and events, visit www.SEMAShow.com.