Young Professionals Get Schooled in eCommerce

By Allyssa Baird, YSN

One of the most critical classes at Young Professionals University, held Nov. 5-7 in New Orleans, was a lesson in winning online.

Eric Hunter, Director of eCommerce & Catalog for AVB Marketing, addressed the under-40 organization with a digital marketing presentation titled  “Change the Game, Don’t let the Game Change You.” Hunter kicked off the session by sharing a few key points for winning against the big-box stores online. Dealers, he said, should think like a customer and consider their shopping experience, including what consumers like and dislike about visiting a physical store and shopping online. He also suggested that dealers localize their eCommerce offering, and to always remember that happy customers equal healthy business.

Eric Hunter

Reiterating Grant Hancock’s session on merchandising, Hunter stressed that members’ online stores must be mobile-friendly, since that is most likely where potential customers will see their businesses first. Then, dealers should merchandise and prioritize their catalogs accordingly, so that they are pushing their customers to relevant products. Also important is the presence of add-on offers like extended warranties and special services including delivery, installation and haul-away, as these are easy, high-margin upsells.

Exceeding customers’ expectations is another factor to keep in mind, as competitors like Amazon and Instacart raise the bar on elements like speed and service, which are two of the most important considerations for shoppers. Hunter then took the Young Professionals on a tour of national retailers’ websites to point out their latest strategies. Lowe’s, for example, is going digital with a new tech hub, while Amazon continues to capitalize on its two-day, one-day and even same-day delivery capabilities.

He then visited several more websites to spotlight best and poor practices. Good grades when to sites that prioritized merchandising; employed flags, badges and text callouts; and grouped their merchandise by various classifications, such as best sellers and clearance, to make it easier for customers to shop. He gave thumbs down to sites with unprioritized merchandise and busy, text-heavy catalog pages with “too much going on.”

Young Professionals University was held at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter in New Orleans for three days of training sessions, expert presentations and opportunities to enjoy the sights, sounds and cuisines of The Big Easy. The under-40 club was created by AVB in 2014 to serve as a breeding ground for future leaders in the CE, appliance, furniture and bedding industries.

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.