Short-Term Solution, Long-Term Vision
By Chris Kersting
We are quickly approaching the launch of SEMA360, introduced this year to help fill the void left by the absence of the 2020 SEMA Show. By now, hundreds of industry manufacturers, from the most prominent to the newest upstarts, have loaded the SEMA360 platform with this year’s new products, Show vehicles and contact information to connect supplier personnel with SEMA’s extensive list of qualified industry resellers. It all kicks off the morning of November 2, and it will be an exciting moment for many reasons.
SEMA 360 won’t be the same as the SEMA Show, but the core functionality—a marketplace that efficiently connects buyers and sellers—is the heart of the platform. As businesses have recently come to explore and benefit from online solutions, SEMA360 represents a new and efficient way for resellers and the media to access what the SEMA Show ordinarily serves up: the world’s best collection of innovative suppliers spotlighting the latest automotive trends and developments. And as with the SEMA Show, the association has added high-quality educational and technical seminars along with cutting-edge interviews with leading car-culture personalities.
We hope industry members will jump in this year and benefit from all that this new marketplace is offering, but there is also a larger purpose and a longer-term vision. SEMA360 could become much more than a one-shot remedy in a COVID-impacted year.
The initial launch will provide the SEMA Show’s marketplace fundamentals, but we think SEMA360 may have the potential to become a permanent enhancement to the in-person event—a value-added feature that can carry manufacturers’ content to more people over a greater period than the live Show alone. We also see a future where end consumers—enthusiasts who crave access to all that the annual SEMA Show offers—will have greater opportunities to access Show content and stoke the fires of automotive lifestyles. SEMA360 can become an asset that evolves with the growing online needs and capabilities of the industry and its customers.
For the 2020 edition of this e-marketplace, some things will be the same as at the SEMA Show. The event will run November 2–6, and buyers and media who participate will have met high qualification standards. Buyers and media can register anytime in advance, or register while the event is in progress. The platform will host a New Products Showcase, which we expect will still be a top priority for buyers.
You’ll find more details about how the platform works elsewhere in this issue. Check it out. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy and functional this e-marketplace turns out to be.
For media, there is an online pressroom where they can review and gather press releases and media content from the industry. In addition, media will have access to the entire SEMA360 environment to browse, schedule specific meetings and interviews, and to build stories for their audience of readers, viewers and content consumers.
Our intentions for SEMA360 this year are modest—mainly to help industry members fill the void left in the SEMA Show’s absence. In the long run, we can foresee a very useful companion platform for the in-person event. SEMA360 will give us the ability to grow the reach of the SEMA Show and at the same time expand exposure for aftermarket brands and the broader market for the automotive specialty-equipment industry.