Retail Observer

May 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 51 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM MAY 2021 52 D uring his State of the Union address at last month's BrandSource Summit, Jim Ristow, CEO of the appliance and home furnishings buying group, busted "four big myths" about independent dealers: Consumers can't find them; they can't compete on price; their assortments are limited; and they don't provide an omni-channel experience. On the contrary, BrandSource members who embraced the group's comprehensive marketing technology platform, or MarTech, enjoyed a nearly 30 percent increase in business last year and outpaced appliance and furniture industry growth by 15 percent, Ristow said. Joining him on the virtual stage to further dispel those myths was chief marketing officer John White, who heads AVB Marketing, BrandSource's advertising, e-commerce and digital marketing arm. By melding physical and digital retail through MarTech, members enjoyed triple-digit increases in transactions, order count, online conversions, and purchases through digital ads and social media year over year, he said. Key to the group's sales and share gains is the ability to present customers with an integrated and personalized omni-channel experience that lets them buy whenever and however they want – whether shopping online, buying in store, arranging for delivery, or picking up their mobile order curbside. To underscore the impact of retail's new COVID-inflected paradigm, White pointed to big-box retailers that are reducing their brick-and-mortar footprints – and e-tailers adding storefronts – all in pursuit of an omni-channel presence that MarTech-enabled dealers already enjoy. To keep the momentum going, White offered BrandSource members a digital "Checklist for Success" in 2021 that includes: • A new website scoring tool to assess their sites' effectiveness. • A flipbook-style digital tab for use in emails, texts, online and in stores. • Utilizing Google's "Surfaces Across Google" showcase, which responds to product searches with store names, hours, contact info, website links and a selection of SKUs. • Maximizing "every penny" of co-op ad funds. • Directing their advertising to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, which "is how many customers are shopping today," he said. Indeed, White said nearly one-third of customers shopping via ads on social media say they would rather give their business to an independent dealer than a box store, and AVB Marketing is providing the tools to accommodate them. The next challenge, added CEO Ristow – and the meaning behind the Summit's theme of "Double Down" – is to continue driving the group's share gains through 2021 and beyond. "We need to let the world know we are not giving this business back," he declared. "If we do this right, if we follow the theme of the Summit and truly double down, you can ride this momentum and build on it for years to come." Alan Wolf is Senior Communications Specialist for AVB/ BrandSource, the nation's leading merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, and consumer tech dealers Alan Wolf Digital Services RO AVB MARKETING SHARES 'CHECKLIST FOR SUCCESS' AVB's chief marketing officer John White offered five means to an effective omni- channel strategy. Highly engaged dealers are reaping the benefits of AVB's comprehensive marketing technology platform, or MarTech.

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