By Mike Allen, VP Home Furnishings, AVB/BrandSource
After helping its appliance dealers clearly knock it out of the park with a reimagined and powerful web platform, BrandSource is racing toward home plate with a similar web initiative targeted specifically for our growing number of furniture dealers.
The strategy, spearheaded by the AVB/BrandSource, is meeting a goal of providing its furniture dealers with the most powerful and effective web platform available to independent furniture retailers.
Thanks to the expertise of the AVB Marketing team, the group has created the ultimate website solution that, with the click of a mouse, puts independent home furnishings retailers in the passing lane for digital dominance.
One of the key components taking BrandSource’s furniture web platform to the next level is ALTA, a customizable program that brings the full functionality of LINQ and BrandSource’s partnership with Google directly to members.
In addition, it allows users to customize their websites to suit their own needs instead of forcing a cookie-cutter uniformity on members. BrandSource members now benefit from a mobile-optimized platform that combines responsive design, lead generation, managed pricing, real-time reporting, custom content and more for an unbeatable web presence.
The ALTA solution also provides a seamless journey for all consumers whether they opt to buy their furniture online or in store.
LINQ, meanwhile, serves as a web-based pricing and product management tool that has been designed by members for members. It allows retailers to set pricing rules easily, control product views, offer full integration with a Price Tag Management System, facilitate price forecasting and more.
The end result for BrandSource furniture dealers is a state-of-the-art e-commerce furniture solution that runs the gamut from accommodating dealers who may want to only show product online all the way to those dealers who want to aggressively sell furniture online.
With the integration of LINQ, dealers can easily feature high-margin items and best sellers and can also create clearance centers to move older items. The platform makes it quick and easy for dealers to integrate their POS systems to track their inventory in real time. LINQ also allows dealers to create a ‘digital price tag’ that allows the retailer to easily manage pricing on the website as well as in the store.
And while the initiative is well under way, the AVB Marketing team is quick to point out that the work, enhancements and upgrades are constantly ongoing. In fact, the team is launching new features, upgrades and enhancements every 60 days or so.
The platform has also gotten high markets from members for its ability to marry state-of-the-art-technology with great design. Clicking through the platform makes it clear that this is not a promotionally-driven site. Rather, it tells the unique story of each dealer in a clean, elegant easy-to-navigate platform.
Keeping in mind the end user, the site not only is simple to navigate for consumers, it also was created with a mobile-first mindset in recognition to the fact that more than half of today’s consumers are online via their mobile devices.
The ALTA solution allows dealers to tell their unique story via imagery, compelling copywriting and creative design that all work together to show the consumer why they should buy from that dealer.
The platform, via the ALTA solution, also enables dealers to advertise and participate in national and or AVB exclusive promotions, which lets local dealers remain competitive in their local markets.
But perhaps the biggest advantage of this initiative is its ability to allow the dealer to be where his or her customers are….online. Whether the dealer wants to actively sell online or just drive traffic into the store, he or she must have a website that can do both.
A growing number of retailers, including Robert Van Hoose Jr., chairman of Big Sandy Superstore, a 20-store furniture, bedding and appliance chain with stores in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, have utilized the platform. And while enamored with the results so far, he believes even better things are on the horizon.
“The team at BrandSource working on this platform stands out because they have the best interest of the dealer at heart,” Van Hoose said. “While there are lots of people running around that know the digital landscape, there are not that many that understand home furnishings. This team does.”
He said he has been impressed not only by BrandSource’s vision for this project, but by the team’s attention to detail. “And that’s great, because the potential for business online is huge,” Van Hoose said. “We’ve already targeted our website as a ‘standalone store,’ and as such, it is one of our fastest-growing stores.”
“In my mind, the investments we make to our website will ultimately give us a much better return than on our real estate. Without a doubt, omni-channel retail is the future,” he said.
One of the tools Van Hoose is currently using to his advantage is an interactive software package from PERQ, which he says keeps customers on his website longer and also enables him to convert his website traffic to instore visits. He is also working a chat/text feature that will allow him to direct consumers shopping on his website to a qualified salesperson at the appropriate store location.
A visit to the retailer’s site, www.bigsandysuperstore.com, confirms the retailer’s prowess in the digital arena. Consumers can easily shop for furniture, electronics, bedding and appliances, apply for credit, check and track delivery status and take a virtual 3-D visit of the store.
“We are still in the building process, but with this initiative from BrandSource, we are convinced the best is yet to come,” Van Hoose said.
YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.