Young Professionals University Kicks Off with a Deep Dive into Merchandising

By Allyssa Baird, YSN

Merchandising strategies are something that is always changing for the appliance and CE industries. Grant Hancock, Director of Merchandising for BrandSource, gave our Young Professionals some significant insights into market share data for the industry as part of the kickoff of Young Professionals University in New Orleans.

After reviewing independent retailer statistics as well as market share by manufacturer, Hancock discussed several merchandising strategies. He referred to different strategies as “against the grain” and “with the grain.” An example of against the grain is merchandising by what makes the retailer the most profit margin versus profit dollars, whereas with the grain is selling what the customer wants. When comparing the two approaches, with the grain was the undeniable winner when it comes to a sale. What does this mean? That the customer is in control, and that should be taken into major consideration when merchandising your store.

As the online shopper is extremely important these days thanks to advances in digital technology and smartphones, Hancock touched on factors that helped retailers properly merchandise their websites. After establishing that the consumer is in control, he explained that consumers make their decisions based on price, product details and delivery costs. Another key factor is whether it is a replacement purchase or a discretionary purchase.

Diving further into merchandising strategies, Hancock explained that the proper components apply to your website as well as your store. These components include brand market share data (what brand is selling in what category?); best-sellers (by brand nationally and regionally); competitor benchmarking (examining big-box data by brand as well as specific model); and reviews and surveys (leveraging consumer research from such sources as J.D. Power,, CNET and online customer reviews).

Young Professionals University is being held at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter in New Orleans Nov. 5-7 for three days of training sessions, expert presentations and opportunities to enjoy the sights, sounds and cuisines of The Big Easy. The under-40 organization 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.