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.
That’s why, even prior to the pandemic, the BrandSource buying group implored its members to embrace online selling and consider their websites their new flagship stores. As BrandSource chief Jim Ristow told the group’s independent appliance and home goods dealers back in 2019, “Your website is the most important store in your arsenal, and a poorly merchandised website is like a store without salespeople.”
His words proved prophetic after the pandemic hit, when the timeline for digital adoption shrank from 10 years to one. Fortunately for BrandSource dealers, our group was well-prepared for the unprecedented rush to online shopping with a vast digital armada that includes state-of-the-art websites, our exclusive LINQ online merchandising tool, a sophisticated payment gateway, and all manner of social media magic.
Taken together, the BrandSource digital toolbox helped members enjoy a 718 percent increase in ad-related purchases and an 825 percent spike in comparable online sales in the months following the outbreak — when furniture stores were closed, and foot traffic cratered.
So, what’s next as we turn the corner on COVID and the country begins to reopen? Will consumers return to their old brick-and-mortar ways? The answer is an unequivocal no.
On the contrary, the shopping habits that consumers adopted during the quarantines have become baked in, and many experts are now projecting that as much as half of all home-related purchases will be made online within the next five years.
For independent dealers, that means doubling down on technology to stay ahead of the curve, with BrandSource supporting that digital journey through ongoing innovation. A recent example is the host of enhancements we’ve made to our industry-leading Alta e-commerce platform, including predictive search to make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, and payment gateway integrations with Amazon Pay, PayPal and others to make online checkout frictionless.