My first job in the industry was as a sales person at Tweeter in the Harvard Square store. Like a lot of people in this industry, I came out of the Tweeter training ground. I was 27. Initially I wasn’t attracted at all to retail. Don’t even like shopping. But having graduated from Boston University, I was applying for jobs in the Boston area. I had envisioned going to work for one of publishing companies. Ironically, I was told it was an old boy’s network and I never got in. So I wound up at Jordon Marsh, working as a floor sales manager of
He’s already got two LEGO tables, a free coffee and tea bar, touch screen computers and space for stroller parking on his sales floor. Despite all that, retailer Kurt Widra spent the spring working on a new lounge area for his Lansdale, Pa., store. “I’m thinking about putting in two large-screen plasmas, one for store promos and the other for kids’ DVDs,” said Widra, who has nicknamed the new space “the creative lounge” in hopes that customers will spend thirty or more minutes every time they come into Cardinal Camera and Video making greeting cards, photobooks, collage prints or other high-margin items. “Usually, the
At the Nationwide Marketing Group’s PrimeTime member event this month in Orlando, the buying group’s leaders said they are establishing a new “technology committee” to help its members, many whom still don’t have their own Web sites, better leverage the Internet through search engine optimization and other tools. Nationwide brass also said they have met with Google to find ways that will help members rank high on Google’s search returns. As retailers and vendors continue to improve strategies to reach and retain more customers through new Internet initiatives, it’s worth revisiting a recent report, “Understanding How Consumers Use the Internet to Research &
About 3,000 independent consumer electronics, appliance and furniture retailers are sneaking out of winter storms this week to convene in muggy Orlando, Fla., for the semi-annual Nationwide Marketing Group meeting, PrimeTime. The buying group members were welcomed last night in an opening reception that featured an acapella group singing “Go, Dealers, Go!” to the tune of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and a pep talk by “the real-life Rocky,” former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale. “All you courageous people are making it happen,” Papale said. “You’ve availed yourself of opportunities and now you’re united as one, big, pro team.” Nationwide President Ed Kelly told the
Twice a year, thousands of independent electronics and appliance retailers come together for the combination buying conference, retail tutorial, and pragmatic pep rally that is Nationwide Marketing Group’s PrimeTime meeting. The group, which has nearly 2800 members, is the largest appliance, CE and furniture buying group in America, and it has the sway of a mammoth retail operation. Providing direct sourcing, promotional and warranty programs, sales training, a speedy distribution system, and most importantly, buying power, Nationwide is the infrastructure that is keeping many Mom & Pop CE/appliance shops functional. And the man who was partly responsible for its origin is the late Lee
“Overall, I feel 2007 is going to be a good year. I don’t see prices in the appliance industry coming down. In fact, we’re seeing price increases because of metal costs and different things. 2007 may not be as robust as the last couple years because of new housing starts, but 70% of our business is replacement so that stays consistent. Consumer electronics will sell well, though I don’t know how profitable it will be. We’ve got to be fast on our toes this year not to get caught with high-priced electronics inventory.” Read many more New Year’s Predictions in the special
Industry buying groups have advised members to tighten their inventory reigns this holiday season. At HES, General Manager Jim Ristow says, “We’re advising our members that, rather having 60 to 90 days of inventory, we’re recommending 30 days of inventory and work closely with the manufacturer or warehouse rep to stay focused on key models. Continuously order and turn, and have those orders in the system and tweak them based on sell-through. “We’re also encouraging them to use ExpertWarehouse (which serves HES, BrandSource and MARTA members) as their warehouse—they’re ordering $5,000 at a time, and that’s not very many units—and just keep turning it.
It’s happened to many an independent retailer who’s just dropped a couple grand updating the show floor to display the latest 1080p flatpanels: the LCDs are on the wall, HDMI cables are plugged in, and the sets are all set to illicit customer goosebumps with whatever high-definition content the local cable company is offering. Only one problem: the cable programming happens to include paid advertisements from a big box competitor, not exactly the inspirational content storeowners were looking to show off. In a year when high definition content offerings haven’t quite caught up with manufacturers’ exuburance to push microdisplays, independent retailers, especially those doing