Get ready for round two, everyone.
After debuting its first all-digital trade show this summer, learning from industry feedback, and making tweaks to the format, Outdoor Retailer is ready to go forward with its second iteration of the online show in just a few weeks. A replacement for January's traditional Snow Show, "OR Winter Online" will open to registrants on January 6 and run for more than 10 weeks, through March 19.
Unlike the conventional in-person show, which squeezes hundreds of events, speeches, meetings, parties, and presentations into three head-spinning days—and unlike this summer's digital show, which largely tried to replicate that format—OR Winter Online will unfold at a more leisurely pace, with much of the content available on demand for users to access whenever they wish.
In other words, this OR will live in the background of our lives for months, rather than deluge us for a week. To help the industry plan for that shift, OR leadership today released the show's education and event lineup and opened the calendar function of the registration dashboard, where attendees can start mapping out their schedules.
What to expect from OR Winter Online
Outdoor Retailer show director Marisa Nicholson told SNEWS that, so far, the upcoming show is projecting a better attendance than the summer run, with more buy-in from exhibitors and attendees across the board.
"[Our numbers] are way up compared to where we were at this point before the summer show," said Nicholson. "We have thousands of retail buyers and designers already registered for the event, as well as about 120 companies. Every week, we're getting about 20 new sign-ups."
Nicholson confirmed that some of the brands participating in the show include Fjällräven, Helly Hansen, Asolo, Darn Tough, Scott, Oakley, PrimaLoft, Sweet Protection, Kari Traa, Life is Good, Clif Bar, and W. L. Gore, among others.
The opening keynote on January 6 will be delivered by Lindsay Peoples Wagner, the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue who was awarded a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the media category this year. The topic of her speech, Nicholson said, will be how outdoor brands can commit to DEI practices, with lessons adapted from Peoples Wagner's work in the fashion space.
Nicholson also said that OR will host its signature Innovation Awards—an event that reliably draws big crowds at in-person shows.
"We've had more submissions this year than ever before," said Nicholson. "We had 189 submissions, which the judges have narrowed down to 34 finalists. Those finalists will be on display in our digital innovation gallery, which will be available online starting on January 6. People will be able to view those products for more than two weeks before we host the awards ceremony on January 21."
Overall, Nicholson predicts a much higher rate of engagement at this show than what OR saw in the summer.
"There was just so much uncertainty this summer," she said. "People are more comfortable now in this digital space. They understand that this is how we're conducting business and engaging right now. There seems to be a little more openness and willingness to use this as a platform to connect. I definitely feel like there's a lot of energy going into this and a lot of ability to create momentum."
The show's education and events will open on January 6 and run through March, with the peak "Summit Days" taking place January 20 to 23.