Getting the Goods on Buying Groups
His alternative, which he characterizes as a “lite” version of buying groups, will offer, “as far as I know, no such services. The deal pretty much is, if you run a good retail operation, we can help you get the right product at the right price. And that isn’t just the bottom line—that’s almost the whole line.”
Mann says pre-launch publicity has elicited calls from dealers around the country who feel their groups aren’t particularly responsive to their needs. The dealer type that he surmises would most closely fit the bill for World Merchant membership, he says, is “a guy who’s been around a while, a second- or third-generation appliance or CE seller. Someone who’s not sure he knows it all—a joiner, an idea-exchanger, rather than a loner, is more the profile I’m looking for.
“There isn’t a dealer in the country not amenable to looking at something that could be better,” says Mann, while admitting that his idea’s greater pull will likely be felt among “smaller dealers. Larger ones might be nervous about buying into a philosophy, and taking a chance. But you do need a lot of smaller guys to impress a manufacturer.” One way around that dilemma, he explains, might be to form regional buying divisions where dealers “would buy together from a local central location—and this would neatly solve one of the biggest problems” in that it would assuage bigger manufacturers who, in their efforts to sell full truckloads of merchandise, have been walking away from independents who had been giving them hundreds of thousands a year in business.