BrandSource Recaps ConventionMarch 13, 2013
Thousands of retail buying group BrandSource members and vendors came away from last month's convention in Orlando primed for a rebounding economy.
Retired Whirlpool executive and keynote speaker Joe Higgins confirmed what the audience already knew: The appliance, electronics and home furnishings industries were hit hard by the recession. But with strengthening home prices, increasing home sales and more remodeling and construction projects looming on the horizon, BrandSource members have tremendous opportunities for growth over the next decade, he said.
BrandSource CEO Bob Lawrence emphasized the importance of mobile applications and social media and discussed new developments with the BrandSource mobile app, the first in the industry when it launched last summer. Available in two versions for both dealers and consumers, it currently reigns as the number-one appliance app in the App store. The BrandSource dealer app lets members instantly research more than 7,000 appliances and electronics from the palm of their hands. The consumer app features a dealer locator and lets shoppers to save favorites and share information via social media channels.
BrandSource also launched a new division, OutdoorSource, and debuted a vast assortment of outdoor furniture and equipment including patio furniture, lawn equipment, heaters, power tools, saunas, fire places and grilling products from a variety of suppliers including B.E. Outdoor Living, EdenPURE, Fuego, Galaxy Outdoor, Husqvarna, Napoleon Gourmet Grills, Lynx, Pacific Living, Sunheat, Sunlighten and Twin-Star International.
To support members selling appliances in the Eastern United States, Lawrence offered updates regarding the expansion of Expert Warehouse, the BrandSource organization’s regional fulfillment centers. He confirmed that plans are in place to open a fourth warehouse this year in Jonestown, PA to offer faster, more efficient service in that region.
BrandSource brand ambassador and designer Kathy Ireland, CEO and chief designer for kathy ireland Worldwide, met with BrandSource staff to talk about ways in which they can help members be more successful with female shoppers, who make up or influence roughly 85 percent of retail purchasing decisions for the home.
Dennis Shields, executive director of The Rental Industry Buying Group, strategic alliance partner with BrandSource, reported a very successful summit with nearly 500 RTO specialists in attendance.