Grassroots Adds Support Tools for Digital Workbook Adoption

After a successful “learning launch” for digital workbooks at the June Grassroots Connect show, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is offering new services to support growing momentum for the changeover.
The new digital workbook services include the launch of educational “how-to” videos on its website and the expansion of learning sessions ahead of their fall Connect trade show (Denver, Colo., Nov. 1-4, 2019).

“After doing our part to support this industry initiative at Connect in June, we’re even more excited about the potential for positive change,” said Gabe Maier, vice-president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “And while there’s really no debate as to the general worthiness of the big idea, we are fully aware that it’s going to take some time and effort by all of us to make this happen.”

For Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, “digital workbooks” simply refers to retailers using a digital tablet (iPad) to take notes and follow a line showing – instead of a traditional paper workbook. For retailers, the projected benefits of digital workbooks include increased efficiency of meetings; increased efficiency of file storage; increased accuracy of workbook information and pricing; savings on trade show baggage fees; and customization of vendor presentations, said the group. For vendors, an added bonus is the massive reduction to paper printing, shipping and storage costs, which can free up funds to invest in product innovation and retailer support.

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance’s organizational commitment to digital workbooks began last winter, inspired by a group of industry leading vendors that took internal steps to eliminate traditional paper workbooks. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance seized on the idea, openly advocating for group-wide adoption and launching a Technology Fund to offset the cost of member retailers acquiring needed digital tools such as iPads and Apple Pencils.

Ahead of the June 2019 Connect trade show, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance provided services such as gathering and storing digital workbooks from exhibitors. Immediately after the show, Grassroots openly solicited feedback from attending retailers, vendors and sales reps.  Among the comments received, there was widespread support for the idea, ranging from exuberance to cautious optimism, said the buying group.

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Comment trends also included requests for broader hardware support of digital workbook use, such as increasing the number of in-booth charging stations. But the most frequent phrase mentioned in the 2019 Connect post-show survey was regarding the personal “learning curve” of digital workbook adoption.

The next Grassroots Connect trade show will be held in Denver, Colo., Nov. 1-4, 2019.