AVB Offers Guidelines on Getting Back to Business

By Alan Wolf, YSN

As states began lifting stay-at-home directives and sidelined stores started reopening, AVB presented the first in a two-part webinar series this week to help BrandSource members resume showroom operations.

Hosted by senior AVB staff, the 30-minute briefing offered up a range of tips, best practices and guidelines spanning safety issues, digital marketing and website merchandising.

Jennifer Walker, AVB’s Director of Business Operations, kicked off the session with a review of showroom cleanliness protocols, including maintaining social distances, limiting foot traffic and posting safety signage. Other CDC-recommended measures include sanitizing high-touch surfaces, creating “sanitation stations” with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and requiring symptomatic employees to stay home.

Walker also reminded members to monitor federal agencies like the CDC and OSHA and their state and local governments for any changes in regulations or guidelines, and to communicate their company’s operational status to employees and customers regularly.

Next up, Danielle Diaz, Senior Director of Marketing, urged members to update their free Google My Business (GMB) listings by removing any temporary store closure notices; creating a reopening announcement post; listing new store hours; describing all precautionary measures; and indicating both Primary and Secondary product categories.

Diaz described the GMB refresh as “low-hanging fruit” and the most important digital marketing step that dealers can take immediately.

Also critical is online functionality, as consumers continue to flock to e-commerce sites at a dizzying pace. Indeed, online orders grew 356 percent during March and April and dollar volume rose 454 percent, representing the only good thing to come out of the pandemic, she said. Accordingly, members should integrate live chat, video chat, online scheduling and payment gateways into their sites to enhance the customer experience, and tout any operational changes, and all the different ways to shop their business, on the home page.

Continuing the e-commerce conversation, Grant Hancock, Director of Merchandising, detailed ways to get maximum mileage out transactional sites. Tested strategies include flagging in-stock products; listing inventory in order of availability or popularity; offering add-on sales opportunities like extended warranties and installation accessories, and posting any delivery, installation or haul-away charges on the product pages.

Hancock said service charge transparency is “ultra-imperative” as most appliance purchases are made under duress, the customer is already anxious, and “the last thing we want to do is create a perception that there might be hidden costs in the transaction.”

He also advised dealers to shop the box stores online to see what they are charging for add-on services and, if needed, have AVB Marketing adjust your site’s pricing to remain competitive.

A replay of the session is available here and in the Backroom, and Part II of the back-to-business webinar will be webcast live on Tuesday, May 12, at 12:30 Central. Check your email for the link, which is also available in the Backroom.

BrandSource is a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc.