AVB’s Summit 2023 has kicked off with thousands of members from the group’s five buying groups, BrandSource, ProSource, Mega Group, NEAG and Intercounty, descending on the Caesars Forum convention center in Las Vegas, NV. The theme of this year’s event, “Plugging In,” emphasizes the need for independent retailers to harness digital solutions to stay competitive in an evolving retail space.
AVB CEO Jim Ristow told members at his ‘State of the Union Address’ on Monday morning: “I believe our businesses are at a critical crossroads. If we go to the right, if we plug into today’s playbook, if we adapt and take action, we’re not just going to maintain our share. Instead, we’ll have the opportunity to grow and win.”
Ristow’s message was clear. Adaptation is key to survival and success in the industry. Just as members were forced to adapt their business model in 2020 to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic, so too will they have to adjust to an evolving economic landscape in 2023. Members are being forced to deal with high-interest rates, inventory challenges, and less disposable income among consumers.
As a result, members need to stand out from big-box store competitors to make themselves known to consumers.
According to Ristow, this is where having a coherent digital marketing plan as well as a developed eCommerce platform is key. 92 percent of customers begin their shopping journey online, visiting websites before making a phone call or stepping foot in a brick-and-mortar location.
Turning these online visitors into customers requires operating a “flagship website.” Facilitating a next-level online experience incentivizes consumers to visit a physical location where they can see the product and interact with educated sales professionals.
To do this, Ristow urged members to “Plug In” to AVB’s toolbox of solutions to harness the group’s digital service offerings that provide resources to improve both the online and in-store retail experience.