How Previous New Product Award Winners Gained an Edge

By Chad Simon

Barry Perlin, CEO of Deluxe Wheel Co., accepts a New Product Award for the company’s Wide Whitewall Tire Rim during the 2014 SEMA Show’s New Product Awards Breakfast. As a result of winning the award, he said people actively sought them out at the Show to talk about their product.
Scott Bowers, president/owner of Ron Francis Wiring, accepts a New Product Award for the company’s Blackbox Relay System during the 2014 SEMA Show’s New Product Awards Breakfast. He said winning the award was acknowledgement that the company was on the right path.

Long considered the SEMA Show’s No. 1 destination, the New Products Showcase houses 2,500 of the Show’s latest and most revolutionary products on the market. The Showcase serves as a hub that conveniently brings together exhibitors, buyers and the media in one location.

This year, the 35,000-sq.-ft. New Products Showcase will move from the upper level at the east end of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall to the Sky Bridge that connects the Central and South Halls at the west end of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

For exhibitors, the Showcase is really a no-brainer. By entering their first new or featured product for free with all subsequent products at $75 each (if entered by October 9), they can allow their innovations to work for them in helping to drive more traffic to their booths. Dividends continue to pay off long after the Show ends, as all products entered into the Showcase are photographed and published in SEMA News. With more than 3,000 media in attendance, many products featured in the Showcase are sure to find their way into other outlets.

Buyers flock to the Showcase when the Show opens to easily sift through and electronically scan the products that are of interest to them. They receive a printout with key information on how to locate and contact the exhibitors who manufacture all the products they scanned. This allows them to save time by pinpointing which booths to visit without having to frantically traverse the 1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space searching for products.

New Products Showcase entries are judged and considered for a New Product Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in the development of products being introduced to the automotive specialty-equipment market. The winners are announced in front of thousands of New Product Awards Breakfast attendees.

Sixteen award categories recognize the best and most innovative products in the market, and each category features one winner and two runners-up. Winners are selected based on a variety of factors that included quality, marketability, innovation, technology, consumer appeal and more.

Whether they win an award or not, exhibitors who display at least one product in the New Products Showcase definitely have an advantage over those who don’t, gaining more brand exposure and potential product sales.

The following are testimonials from two of last year’s New Product Award winners—Ron Francis Wiring, with its Blackbox Relay System in the Street Rod/Custom Car Product category, and Deluxe Wheel Co., with its Wide Whitewall Tire Rim in the Wheel and Related Product category.

Last year was an amazing experience for us. We were at the 2013 SEMA Show when we thought up the idea for the Wide Whitewall Tire Rim. I spent the next year designing, redesigning and making up prototypes. We finally had the design finalized, and I had my last prototypes shipped to me in time to get a last-minute booth for the 2014 SEMA Show. We flew in Sunday and delivered the wheel to the New Products Showcase.

We went to dinner Monday night after setting up our booth before the start of the Show for Tuesday when we received a phone call letting us know our product had won a New Product of the Year award. We weren't even a company yet. Out inventory wasn't due to arrive until December. We went from being someone with an idea the year before to having people seek us out throughout the course of the Show to talk to us about our ‘great’ product as if we were celebrities.

—Barry Perlin, CEO, Deluxe Wheel Co.

Winning the New Product Award was quite an honor for Ron Francis Wiring. To be recognized as a leader of new-product development in the industry was gratifying. Ron Francis Wiring works very hard to continue innovating and staying current with the needs of the industry. Winning this award is acknowledgement that we are on the right path.

Exhibiting at the SEMA Show is important for building exposure for the Ron Francis Wiring brand. Winning a New Product Award serves a similar purpose by jump-starting exposure for a newly launched product. Entering new products into the Showcase is a key element to successfully introducing new products to the automotive aftermarket. While we do not have any quantitative data, I have to believe that winning the award has helped this product's sales thus far.

—Scott Bowers, president/owner, Ron Francis Wiring

For complete information about the New Products Showcase and how to enter a product, visit the SEMA Show website.