AVB CEO Jim Ristow kicked off BrandSource Convention 2023, held in Nashville, TN, from August 27 to 30, by updating the audience on a story he told in August of 2021, which involved a torn Achilles tendon. Ristow tied that injury and, more recently, a broken pinky finger to his decision to continuously follow what he knew rather than try something different, hence the theme of this year’s events: “Plug-In to a New Playbook.”
Ristow’s message to the audience was clear: It’s time to plug-in to a new playbook. Over the past few years, BrandSource members have found themselves at a crossroads when competing with big box stores, which have ramped up marketing campaigns to gain more market share. In response, members had a choice: do nothing or put their foot on the gas and plug into AVB’s readily available tools. BrandSource members have not only regained traction but are overperforming in the appliance and home furnishing industries and gaining market share back from big box stores. This is an incredible feat in a market experiencing rising inventory levels and lowered selling prices that eat into margins. “Keep your foot on the gas,” said Ristow to members, emphasizing that the only way to keep the trend going is not to get complacent.
From there, Dave Meekings, COO of AVB BrandSource, took the stage to review how AVB’s buying power and retail innovations can support lower prices and higher margins. AVB provides services for all retailers, including Furniture Technology Source (FTS), LINQ, KIOSQ, HUB Sales, ServiceSource, and a focus on premium luxury appliances through the LUXE program and online catalog.
Meekings invited John White, CMO of AVB BrandSource, to emphasize what members can expect when they invest in the above services, especially HUB, a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. These systems allow retailers to integrate “bite-sized elements” like a new salesperson portal or an online catalog, into their portfolios to make business more efficient from start to finish. HUB, in particular, is a concept built specifically for sales associates to track inventory and conversions, provide quotes via email, and communicate with customers. Finally, AVB offers a proprietary e-commerce platform for retailers that recently received an upgraded search engine.
Ristow also outlined a series of incentives for members to sign up for AVB’s fourth-quarter marketing program, which includes thousands in marketing boost money, monthly technology releases, industry experts, global merchandising, and promotional pricing strategies. “We want to make your business life easier, more efficient, and more profitable,” Ristow said. “You can continue to win by plugging in.”