ICAST keeps your business top of the pile, says buyer
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Since his first visit to ICAST in Las Vegas five years ago, Kevin Baxter has watched in awe at the seemingly never-ending line of innovative new products that have graced the world’s largest fishing tackle trade show.
And the buyer for the Fishing Department at Kentucky Lake Outdoors is adamant about the value of attending. “You have to go to ICAST if you want to stay on top of the pile in the fishing world,” said Baxter. “Your store or website cannot afford to have the same products year after year. Anglers thrive on new items and the show in Orlando is the only place where you get such a comprehensive array of innovation.”
Baxter added: “ICAST also provides a unique opportunity to sit down and talk face-to-face with the product’s designer. This invaluable insight allows me to be the best prepared to actually sell that product. The interaction gives me a feeling for the product that I wouldn’t have by just reading about it or a seeing video. Nothing beats one-on-one interaction.”
For Baxter, a classic example is the Concept Z reel from 13 Fishing, which has no ball bearings and was runner-up in the Freshwater Reel category in the 2017 New Product Showcase. “Talking to the guys in their booth gave me an in-depth detail and a comprehensive understanding of the thinking behind it. It put me in a better position to explain it to my customers. As a result, we sold out in five minutes.”
“As well as viewing the innovative new products at the show, ICAST is the perfect networking venue and a place where you can identify trends within the industry. It is important to know what is going on and where the trade is headed,” added Baxter. “You have to ride the trends – or let them go – but you would find that crucial information almost impossible to obtain if you were not at the show and speaking to people.”
“ICAST also puts you in front of manufacturers you have never heard of before. We have met a number in the kayak sector who we have subsequently worked alongside and been successful with.”
Baxter is also heavily involved in social media and understands the benefits that working with it can bring, running an e-commerce website – tacklefreaks.com – for the Calvert City-based business and being active blogging and filming videos.
He is a busy man at ICAST. As well as making buying decisions for his employer, he live streams with vendors at ICAST – last year his broadcasts produced 45,000 views – and delivers updates on Facebook and Instagram, which he says generates more sales. “People see the products and want to have them instantly,” he says.