Think Nationally, Act Locally

February 17, 2021

THINK NATIONALLY, ACT LOCALLY

You may have heard the expression “Think globally, act locally.”

At BrandSource, America’s largest co-op for independently owned appliance, home furnishings and consumer tech stores, we embrace a variation on the theme: Think nationally, act locally. Many nationwide businesses tout it, but at this buying group we live it.

True, as a $20 billion retail organization, our dealers span all 50 states. Our national programs provide the sharpest pre-negotiated merchandising deals and state-of-the-art digital selling platforms, and our bi-annual conventions and product expos bring members and vendors together from across the country.

But despite our continental scope, BrandSource also operates regionally. In fact, our group is comprised of 15 separate geographic Regions that are led by local members and supported by BrandSource staff. Our regional structure allows dealers to address issues and share insights that are unique to their sections of the country, while benefitting from the buying power and marketing might of a national organization.

Sharing a common bond and leveraging the power of the “M” Factor (members helping members), neighboring BrandSource dealers know they can call upon each other and their elected Region officers, all fellow store owners, to lend an ear, a hand or even inventory.

 

In addition, each Region meets four times a year: Twice with area dealers for summer and fall retreats, and during two national BrandSource events, the Summit and the Convention, that bring all our members and vendors together. (All have been conducted online during the pandemic, and we plan to resume in-person gatherings soon.)

In between, BrandSource holds a regular series of Region call-ins, hosted by our Leadership Team and our top merchandising and marketing executives.

 

The get-togethers provide an opportunity to seek advice, exchange ideas, ask questions, form friendships and bend an elbow at the end of the day. We like to think of it as “Meeting together to grow together.”

As you can see, we’ve built a culture of success and fellowship that extends from our national headquarters to every corner of the country — a culture that thinks nationally and acts locally.

To learn more about the benefits  BrandSource membership brings to Main Street,  please click here.

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BrandSource at your Service

February 9, 2021

BRANDSOURCE AT YOUR SERVICE

It’s tough enough running a retail business. But when you add repair service into the mix, the challenges only mount.

As any self-servicing dealer knows, it can often feel like an uphill climb when you’re faced with inadequate billing rates, few qualified techs, increasingly complex appliances, and vendor-specific parts that can lead to added and costly truck rolls.

 

These hurdles have only been compounded by the pandemic, which has triggered parts shortages, increased service calls and heightened safety protocols.

At BrandSource, the nation’s largest member-owned buying group for independent dealers, we feel your pain. That’s because 75 percent of all BrandSource members perform their own appliance repairs, and ensuring the profitability of their service operations has become our mission statement.

 

To do so, BrandSource embarked on an aggressive, multi-pronged program that began with the creation of a National Service Committee, comprised of eight large and small dealers from across the country. In a prime example of BrandSource’s members helping members ethos, or “M” Factor, the committee members invested over 250 man-hours — the equivalent of $250,000 in consulting fees — to develop effective solutions for their fellow servicers.

The committee began with a member survey to pinpoint servicers’ most pressing pain points, then proceeded to address each one in a series of industry-leading initiatives. These included:

 

  • Joint Planning Meetings with top manufacturers last spring;
  • Strategic alliances with national service associations, parts suppliers and training academies last summer; and
  • Last fall’s release of an exclusive, 32-page Service Playbook, a comprehensive tactical guide covering everything from recruitment, fleet management and inventory control, to calculating competitive yet profitable billing rates.

More recently, BrandSource brought all its tools and talents together in a virtual Service Day event for dealers, vendors and suppliers. The presentation helped drive the service revolution within our own group while fostering much-needed change throughout the industry.

Looking ahead, BrandSource will continue to leverage the resources of our $20 billion organization on behalf of our servicing members, who generate more than 85 percent of that annual sales volume. That’s why, between our unparalleled merchandising and marketing programs; full slate of regional meetings, national gatherings and product expos; and ongoing service industry initiatives, we can clearly state that BrandSource is at your service!

To learn more on BrandSource’s service focus and the many other advantages of BrandSource membership, please click here.

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Adding Oomph to Your Holiday Sales

February 2, 2021

Adding Oomph to Your Holiday Sales

Everyone likes a good deal, whether you’re a retailer or a shopper.

BrandSource — the largest member-owned merchandising and marketing group for independent furniture and appliance dealers — goes above and beyond by making good deals great.

 

You see, BrandSource has developed a full calendar of exclusive promotions that add sales oomph to manufacturers’ regular holiday events. Built around the five major holiday selling periods (Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Black November), these Retail Bonus Events help members build sales momentum and create a sense of urgency with customers.

Taking a page from Sears’ popular “Friends & Family” promotions, our Buy More, Save More and Customer Appreciation Events provide rebates of up to $500 on appliances and $200 on mattresses, along with zero-percent financing offers and digital marketing support. Since they were first introduced two years ago, BrandSource’s Retail Bonus Events have generated a better than 40 percent increase in member sell-through, and can drive even greater returns when stacked with dealers’ own private sales, giveaways and other value-adds.

So don’t go to market empty handed; let BrandSource deliver the goods — and the rebates — to make your holiday sales sizzle!

To learn more on BrandSource’s Retail Bonus Events and the many other advantages of BrandSource membership, please click here.

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It Pays to Have a Payment Gateway

January 26, 2021

What payment options are you giving your customers on your website?

It Pays to Have a Payment Gateway.

As shoppers shift to online stores in record numbers, convenience — even more than price — can make all the difference between closing a sale and losing one.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes:

  1. You pore through a website, comparing various brands, models and options;
  2. You make a selection and add it to your shopping cart;
  3. You go to checkout … and that’s where the ease of purchase ends. Rather than call in a credit card number, you close the page and move on.

In fact, the absence of a payment gateway at checkout is a major cause of shopping cart abandonment.

At BrandSource, members who employ our state-of-the-art e-commerce platform can provide customers with multiple payment options. This gives consumers the flexibility to shop the way they want, and allows for a frictionless transaction that will more readily lead to conversion.

Dealers can offer payment through Amazon Pay, Paypal, major credit cards and BrandSource’s own private-label financing through Citi. In fact, thanks to our buying group’s new “Apply & Buy” program, customers can apply for credit at checkout, receive approval in seconds, and immediately enjoy any special financing offers for a true buy-on-the-fly experience. The independent retailer can now compete against the big box stores and e-tailers when it comes to applying and purchasing online with financing.

But the advantage of a payment gateway doesn’t end there: Online checkout affords the opportunity to attach needed accessories like hoses and installation service and other high-margin add-ons like extended warranties. What’s more, your website will capture valuable shopper insights and data, allowing you to adjust your e-commerce strategy to drive even more digital sales.

So, if you want to make your shopping site downright seamless and achieve payment parity with national chains, please consider adding a payment gateway — and let BrandSource show you how.

To learn more on payment gateways and the many other advantages of BrandSource membership, please click here.

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Change is Scary; Let BrandSource Ease the Way

January 18, 2021

Change is Scary; Let BrandSource Ease the Way

Let’s face it: Whether it’s a new home, a new store or a new buying group, big changes can be unsettling.

There are new procedures to follow, new forms to fill out, and all the particulars in between. But we shouldn’t let the fear of “new” prevent us from making changes that will benefit our businesses and families.

That’s why BrandSource, the leading member-owned marketing and merchandising organization for independent appliance and home furnishings dealers, ensures that joining our group is seamless. As part of our White Glove onboarding process, we take care of all details to make your transition simple and smooth, and to get you up and running quickly with all the services and support you choose.

It begins by introducing the BrandSource team — Region Managers and Member Relations staff, who are there night and day to make your group experience productive … and profitable!

Next, we want to hear about you and your business. What are your successes? What are your challenges? And where can BrandSource help? Whether it’s our digital marketing programs, e-commerce solutions, inventory and consumer financing, servicing support, or margin-enhancing merchandising, we’ll help you tap every BrandSource benefit to keep you miles ahead of the competition.

So let BrandSource put your worries to rest and welcome you with white gloves. You deserve nothing less.

To learn more about BrandSource and our new member reception, please click here.

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The Best Investment You Can Make in Your Business

January 4, 2021

The Best Investment You Can Make in Your Business

For many small businesses, 2020 was a year best forgotten.


Not so for the members of BrandSource, the buying group for 

independent furniture, appliance, bedding and consumer tech dealers. 

Rather, 2020 brought millions in new business to our family of
Main Street merchants, representing our fifth consecutive year of record growth.

And those gains weren’t limited to sales volume. Recognizing a winning team,
dealers joined BrandSource in record numbers five years running.

What did they know that you don’t?

BrandSource dealers received over $52,000 in member benefits last year. 

BrandSource dealers have the backing of our Member Development Team, which can analyze your business and pull every lever to maximize your profitability.

Unlike that other buying group that answers to a private equity firm, BrandSource is owned by the members. Our not-for-profit, co-op model means we work only for you, negotiating the best merchandising deals and delivering state-of-the-art e-commerce and digital marketing assets.

And unlike that other group, where you’re little more than a name on a ledger, BrandSource dealers are a family, with a common bond and a steadfast commitment to each other.

That might explain why dealers are switching from that other group to BrandSource across all regions and categories. Their only regret: That they didn’t do so sooner.

So with the New Year certain to be uncertain again, isn’t it time to join the winning team? Isn’t it time to make the best investment in your business that you can? Isn’t it time to join BrandSource?

To learn more about our member family, please click here.

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We’re Making a List and Checking it Twice

December 8, 2020

We’re Making a List and Checking it Twice

No, not to find out who’s naughty or nice.

Rather, AVB/BrandSource, the leading merchandising and marketing group for independent dealers, has compiled several “Checklists for Success” — actual laminated lists of our many easy-to-execute solutions to help members be more competitive in an ever-changing retail environment.

The first “Checklist for Success,” released earlier this year, allows BrandSource dealers to review a basic rundown of programs and services that are offered by the group, check off those they are already taking advantage of and, more importantly, take note of what they may be missing out on.

The checkboxes range from state-of-the-art websites and digital price tags to margin-enhancing merchandising programs and participation in regional meetings for training and networking. The checklist also directs members to where they can get more information on any untapped services, which can have a direct impact on their bottom line.

Following the coronavirus outbreak, BrandSource rapidly issued a second checklist, this one on safely and successfully transitioning to the new retail environment. “Adapting to the ‘New Normal’” is an essential operations checklist featuring suggested store policies, delivery and service procedures, merchandising and marketing advice, government links, and the best practices of fellow members.

Anticipating the dramatic shift to online shopping, BrandSource next produced a third list, a “Top 5 Digital Essentials Checklist” for amplifying dealers’ digital presence. The checkboxes on this list include such crucial transactional tools as live chat; tagging in-stock items; payment gateways; high-margin attachment opportunities at checkout; and customized product catalogs built around special sales events, scratch-and-dent models or clearance items. All of the e-commerce assets are available through AVB Marketing, BrandSource’s digital marketing and website development arm.

BrandSource encourages all dealers to take a hard look at these tried-and-true solutions and to take immediate action on the services they’re missing.

“We feel it is extremely important for all of our members to take advantage of all that this group has to offer,” said AVB’s Chief Operating Officer Dave Meekings. “Simply put, those who are using all the tools in the AVB tool belt are outperforming the dealers that aren’t. We want all of our members to succeed and are giving them the resources to do so.”

As a member of BrandSource, you will be privy to each of the group’s Checklists for Success — and the exclusive, profit-driving services they describe. To learn more, please click here.

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How to Harness the Internet In-Store

November 30, 2020

How to Harness the Internet In-Store

Expert Warehouse Delivers the Goods

There’s something new in store for members of the BrandSource buying group that melds online shopping with brick-and-mortar showrooms.

While the pandemic has dramatically accelerated e-commerce adoption, shoppers still crave the personal attention of the in-store visit. AVB Marketing — the digital arm of BrandSource’s not-for-profit parent company AVB Inc. — has developed a solution that bridges the digital and physical channels, and addresses consumer demand for a seamless shopping experience across both.

The new touchscreen interface, called KIOSQ, is synched to AVB’s exclusive online inventory management tool LINQ, bringing an “endless aisle” of product offerings to sales associates and customers on the sales floor. Users can access the program via iPads or a 55-inch monitor provided by AVB to peruse thousands of SKUs from members’ e-commerce catalogs.

As a mirror of a member’s website, the in-store KIOSQ display allows visitors to view promotions, best-sellers and in-stock items with a sales associate or on their own while awaiting one. Customers can even place an order and get approved for BrandSource financing through the interactive panel.

Why KIOSQ? As AVB’s Chief Marketing Officer John White explains, now that AVB has harnessed the Internet with industry-leading websites and e-commerce services, the group is aiming its technical prowess at stores. “We’re bringing the same online experience to showrooms,” he said. “It’s just the beginning of how we’re implementing technology solutions inside the store.”

To learn more about bringing the power of the Internet inside your store, along with the many other benefits of BrandSource membership, please click here.

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You Can Bank on BrandSource

November 23, 2020

You Can Bank on BrandSource

Expert Warehouse Delivers the Goods

In good times and bad, it’s crucial to have rock-solid financial backing to support your inventory needs.

At BrandSource, members can count on BrandSource Financial (BSF), our in-house inventory financing arm, to be there when order opportunities knock, particularly in these supply-constrained times.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, BrandSource Financial has the commercial clout to offer members extended terms that can improve cash flow, boost sales and increase their return on investment. BSF is also providing extra support to members during the health crisis by developing individualized plans that best suit their circumstances.

What’s more, BSF — like BrandSource itself — was created for the sole benefit of the members. That means that unlike other financing plans, all profits from the program go back to BrandSource dealers in the form of annual cash distributions, and BSF is plenty profitable. Indeed, BrandSource Financial is forecasting another record year for 2020, with a better than 30 percent increase and a cash distribution of 40 basis points, representing the best value proposition in the industry.

Still like working with your vendor or third-party provider? No problem. Most BrandSource members use a second resource in addition to BSF, which offers even greater liquidity with generally more credit facility.

And, as an added bonus, BSF shows its appreciation to BrandSource dealers with a member giveaway. This year’s drawing was for a five-day “Tropical Escape” travel package plus $400 in cash, which was awarded to owner Don Frei of Howard Hughes Appliance in Idaho.

All told, we think you’ll agree that if cash is king, then BrandSource Financial is the crown. But don’t just take it from us; here’s what the members themselves have to say about BSF:

From Cindy Sturgul of Apple River TV & Appliance in Amery, Wis.: “Thanks, so glad I made the switch last year! Love the ease of use and my payments are always on time.”

Adds Bret Hutchings, principal of Hutch’s Home Furnishings in Lehi, Utah: “We appreciate all you do to make us more successful.”

Let us help make you more successful too! To learn more about BSF and the many other benefits of joining BrandSource, please click here.

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All for One and One for All

That’s the motto of The Three Musketeers, France’s fictional heroes. But it just as readily applies to another “m” word — the 5,000 members of the BrandSource buying group.

Are Your Help-Wanted Efforts Wanting?

You’re not alone. Whether it’s the impact of the pandemic or extended unemployment benefits, America is facing a “Great Resignation” of workers. Unfortunately, retailers are getting hit the hardest, as reflected in the countless “Help...

The Lap Of Luxury

November 16, 2020

The Lap Of Luxury

Expert Warehouse Delivers the Goods

While the box stores slug it out for opening-price point volume,
premium appliances have largely stayed above the fray.

BrandSource, the largest member-owned buying group for independent dealers, has been tapping into this margin-rich vein through merchandising programs with such luxury brands as Monogram, Thermador, Miele, Ilve and more.

Now, taking it to the next level, BrandSource’s Luxury Appliance Committee, comprised of large and small retailers, is rolling out a multi-pronged initiative to target the designer, builder and specifier market — traditionally the largest sales channel for high-end white goods.

The effort includes the creation of brand-specific microsites to which dealers can direct their commercial partners. These ancillary sites, now under construction, present rich lifestyle content, provide lead generation and offer a chat feature for further engagement.

In addition, BrandSource is bringing dealers and premium-tier vendors together to develop a series of in-store events and training sessions for the designer community. The exclusive sessions will acquaint designers with the product line and forge close ties with BrandSource members while accruing education credits for these valued guests.

So whether you’re already pursuing the premium appliance category or wish to explore new upmarket opportunities, BrandSource can put you in the lap of luxury. For more information, contact us here.

As our guiding principle states, “It’s All About the Members.” Let us make it all about you, too. Click here to get more information on taking your business to new heights!
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All for One and One for All

That’s the motto of The Three Musketeers, France’s fictional heroes. But it just as readily applies to another “m” word — the 5,000 members of the BrandSource buying group.

Are Your Help-Wanted Efforts Wanting?

You’re not alone. Whether it’s the impact of the pandemic or extended unemployment benefits, America is facing a “Great Resignation” of workers. Unfortunately, retailers are getting hit the hardest, as reflected in the countless “Help...