Jim Ristow, executive vice president of the Home Entertainment Source division of the Brand Source buying group, expressed “cautious hope” that his specialty dealer membership would fare well amid the commodity-level TV pricing battles that will scar the retail landscape this holiday season – if they used the tools the group was offering them.
Among those tools are promotional product deals geared to driving foot traffic “before, during and after Black Friday,” and the group’s newly instituted Expert Warehouse Customer Service Portal, an online system that automates most dealings with the Warehouse, allowing members who buy through it to reduce payment cycles on such things as instant rebates from weeks and sometimes months to 15 days. The Portal is just out of the beta-testing phase and will be fully ramped up by mid-December, he said.
“The industry is in the middle of a Best Buy/Amazon/Walmart war for commodity business,” he observed, in remarks during an annual “Q4 in 30 Minutes” conference call to the HES membership. “We will have to fight for our business in Q4. But clients out there are looking for perceived value. Black Friday specials are meant to grab floor traffic, but these aren’t everyday prices. They’re just for hours, and for limited quantities.”