Ristow to BrandSource Members: Merchandise Your Websites!

By Alan Wolf

AVB CEO Jim Ristow kicked off Sunday’s General Session at the 2019 BrandSource Convention with an impassioned plea to members to keep their online merchandising as up to date as their showrooms’ – and introduced a new tool, LINQ4U, to help them do so.

According to a July case study of member sites, online traffic is five times greater on average than footprints in dealers’ brick-and-mortar storefronts, regardless of market size or real estate. And other studies show that more often than not the web is where customers begin their purchase journey.

Ristow therefore implored members to no longer think of their online stores as second showrooms. “Your website is your flagship store; it’s the most important store in your arsenal,”

he said, and compared a poorly merchandised website to a store without salespeople.

Proactive merchandising through AVB’s LINQ portal keeps online pricing and promotions current and in lockstep with in-store merchandising, he stressed, and allows members to present their most popular products on their e-commerce catalog pages.

In response to requests from dealers without a dedicated digital staffer, AVB has developed a new program, LINQ4U, to provide an online merchandising assist. In addition to the series of nationwide LINQ bootcamps, video tutorials and Convention trainings, the group will now provide a one-time set-up on LINQ for $500, and can merchandise member sites continually for $400 per month.

But regardless of whether dealers utilize LINQ themselves or employ the new service, Ristow’s message was clear. “I’m pleading – merchandise your website,” he said. “It’s so critical. Please do this.”

Other initiatives announced by Ristow included the debut of AVB University, a comprehensive online training resource in partnership with Grant Cardone; an opportunity to profitably enter – or re-enter – the TV category through a turnkey program with Samsung; and the launch of BrandSource’s own news and information platform, YourSourceNews.

The 2019 BrandSource Convention & Expo runs through Tuesday, August 27, at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas.

See also: Bemis, Horst and Pleasants Enter AVB|BrandSource Hall of Fame

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.