CEA Forms Retailer CouncilDecember 3, 2010 By Jeff O'Heir
The Consumer Electronics Association has formed a Retailer Council as a way to get more CE and appliance retailers- small independents, large regionals, brick-and-mortars, pure online and big boxes - to collaborate and solve some of the major issues that hold back their businesses.
The council is designed to be the main group that will serve as a unified voice of CEA’s more retailer-centric divisions, mainly TechHome and Audio-Video Retailer (formerly PARA). Its other main goal is to attract retailers who have shied away from CEA in the past because they believed CEA caters exclusively to manufacturers.
“Between (the TechHome and Audio-Video Retailer divisions) we have close to 400 members,” said Kerry Moyer, CEA’s senior director of member relations. “We wanted to get more retailers involved and decided to become more aggressive about doing it.”
During the last few weeks, the council launched an intensive recruiting effort that attracted about 200 retailers, as well as commitments from some of the major buying groups, including HTSA, Specialty Electronics Nationwide and Home Entertainment Source (HES).
The council will continue those efforts and expects to pick up additional members in conjunction with some of the special retailer events sponsored by CEA, particularly its 3D Demo Days, which drew about 60 participating retailers who are now part of the council.
“Many retailers just didn’t know how to plug into CEA,” said Jay Buchanan, electronics division director at Nebraska Furniture Mart and chairman of the council. “The Retailer Council creates a physical and online portal for the retailers to plug into and find a home.”
Buchanan and Moyer stressed that the council will give as much attention to smaller brick-and-mortar and online CE retailers as it does to the big boxes. The council’s charter even states that the chair and vice chair positions must reflect the different types of retailers it serves. Joe Hartsig, vice president of Sam’s Club, is the current vice chair.
Some of the main issues the council will begin exploring are product returns, channel conflict and improving customer satisfaction, Buchanan said.
The Retailer Council will sponsor gatherings, teleconferences, seminars, webinars and other events. Retailers can sign up in the “membership” section at www.ce.org. For more on the council, please see the January issue of Dealerscope.