How the Indy CE Retailer is Transitioning to Online
Frank Sandtner at Nationwide runs our web development team, and they manage the whole smorgasbord of services that help dealers understand things like reputation management, apps for phones that will translate their web sites into mobile applications, SEO and SEM. We do need to bring our dealer base into that world. It is a full-time job. Used to be a dealer had one guy, and 10 percent of his job was to manage the web site. That’s not a solution going forward. You need someone dedicated to your social media campaign andyour Twitter feeds. It needs to be integrated with your paper marketing campaign. It all has to work together to tell a single story.
Also, the manufacturing community should be more aware that the independent channel does have an online voice and that that voice needs to be supported. In some cases it’s difficult to quantify what online brings to the table. The independent channel needs to be able to play, but they need support to play.
David Workman, executive director/COO, Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), and executive vice president, ProSource: There’s clearly opportunity in both. Online merchants are finding that just like a brick-and-mortar retailer, you have to pick your battles, and you can’t be everything to everybody. When you have giants like Newegg.com and Amazon.com out there, with the kind of customer base they have, you have to be strategic in doing online business. It’s no different than retail, where those pick-your-battle choices have to be made. Our type of dealer is never going to have a large share of the market in demand categories, and the nationals tend to chase that hot dollar. We need to look for all those emerging opportunities that are sell-to-type products requiring some level of education, either online or in-store. I think there are equal opportunities for both brick and mortar and online retailers, and the combination of the two: brick-and-click. But it isn’t a one size fits all, and you have to pick your battles.