Report From the Front Line A Buying Group Roundtable
To fight this, last year Brand Source opened its Expert Warehouse. Retailers who participate in the program have access to product from vendors such as Samsung and Sharp at the same rates as major direct dealers. The product is distributed from three locations in the United States. So far the program has been very successful and has attracted new dealers to the group. "Our business through Expert Warehouse is up 12-fold in 12 months," says Lawrence. "We're getting ready to roll that into appliances this year [March]."
Another basic problem buying groups are trying to address is foot traffic.
"[National retailers'] budgets are very large," says Weisner. "They've got millions of customers coming to them for hardware, doors, lumber and garden supplies. We can't offer that kind of product mix, therefore we can't get as many customers coming through our stores."