Spotlight: Buying Groups: Mastering the Marketplace
DEALERSCOPE: What will be the overall marketing and sales strategy messages you’ll convey to your members this year? What should be their main take-away message from your meetings?
Tom Hickman, Senior Vice
President, Electronics, Nationwide Marketing Group: We’re awaiting the full thrust of Ultra HD. Whenever there’s a huge TV picture-quality improvement, there’s usually large adoption—we get a nice jump in sales. We’re positioning to take advantage of what we think is going to be a big year in UHD. It suits our guys well. It’s a high-tech, high-ticket product that needs demonstration and a premium discussion. And that fits our brick-and-mortar constituency pretty well. We’ll try hard this year to focus on add-on sales around audio, particularly soundbars. That, and distributed audio or wireless audio. Those will be our big pushes this year.
For the Specialty Electronics Nationwide group, it’s a similar focus. We’re focusing a little heavier on control in that space. We are doing some things with them to drive the whole home automation/home control message—training and one-on-one sessions at the PrimeTime meeting.
Bob Lawrence, CEO, BrandSource: We’re addressing strategy for the group as a whole. Our message will be mobile and e-commerce. From a mobile app standpoint, we’re way beyond anybody else, and we need to get everybody up to speed going forward with an e-commerce strategy. Online and mobile sales are growing astronomically and if nothing else, mobile and online feed brick and mortar. One of our suppliers recently said 50 percent of all customers go to a dealer’s website before they walk in the door. So you are what your website is. Our supporting technology is a group benefit at its finest, because there are very few dealers who can afford to do it individually and invest the money they need to, to be on the same level with the box stores. As a group, we can do it.
We’ll talk very aggressively about our iBeacon member program to help engage consumers when they’re in-store and ready to make a purchase. It allows us to target customers and manufacturers and it signals an end to the POP materials as we know them today.