Buying Groups Deliver New Online Tools for Dealers
Ongoing help for reputation management, SEO, e-commerce and e-marketingMarch 18, 2013 By Nancy Klosek
While the independent CE retail channel still sells the vast majority of its products in-store, online sales and marketing strategies are becoming more important. Here's a rundown of what some buying groups are doing to help dealers develop new initiatives and achieve set goals. For more insights from the full buying group roundtable, see the March issue of Dealerscope and every day on Dealerscope.com.
DEALERSCOPE: What new online initiatives have you introduced to your members in the last six months?
Jim Ristow, executive vice president of HES and ProSource: We’ve done an electronics-only and CE-only web site that actually is transactional; the members can sell online if they wish. But it has the look and feel of a national web site that they can re-skin and customize to their own look for a few hundred dollars a month. On the Brand Source side, we’ve done a great job and been on the forefront with a solution on the appliance side. On the electronics side, we’ve now expanded into boutique electronics companies that the integrator would use more than the retailer, so now we have a complete suite of solutions that will help the TV/appliance dealer as well as the integrator who is electronics only.
Tom Hickman, senior vice president of electronics, Nationwide Marketing Group: Reputation management, search engine optimization, helping them develop transactional web sites, and providing rich media assets through our Atlanta Primedia facility. Mobile is a huge, huge thing for us, in all aspects. Just because we’re not highly transactional doesn’t mean it’s not important to us, because everybody looks on the Internet before they buy anything. So our guys have to be visible, they have to be out there. If they are the hometown retailer, when someone looks for store hours or product, we need to make sure our members show up in the right categories, all the time.
Bob Lawrence, CEO, Brand Source: Independents need to understand that when we say Internet or digital, that doesn’t mean web site. Web sites are a piece of it, but it is not e-commerce, certainly not in today’s world. Consumers don’t go to web sites, ’cause they’re too slow. Again, I think you have to be multi-channel, and you have to capitalize on mobile and mobile apps and websites, and be consistent and have continuity all the way through. If you go to three different providers and end up with three different looks, it confuses the customer.