The Top 5 Digital Tools for Winning Online: A Checklist

By Alan Wolf, YSN

No doubt dealers’ transactional websites kept their businesses going during the state-mandated lockdowns. BrandSource members enjoyed triple-digit increases in their digital sales while consumers sheltered in place, and most retail authorities are convinced that customers’ penchant for shopping online will continue long after COVID recedes.

To help members further maximize their online sales opportunities and achieve the biggest bang for their website bucks, AVB Marketing has compiled a Top 5 Checklist of essential transactional tools. Each of the e-commerce enhancements are available to members through their AVB Marketing account executives.

Topping the list is live chat, which AVB Marketing describes as one of the strongest website elements for customer engagement and satisfaction. More than 150 BrandSource members have implemented live chat in the last three weeks, choosing from multiple options like AVB’s own CONNEQT platform to more advanced solutions like Podium. Regardless, BrandSource is offering a $50 monthly credit through year’s end to members who employ a chat feature.

Second on the Checklist is flagging products that are in stock. The in-stock button is selected by shoppers 40 percent more than any other filter, AVB Marketing said, underscoring the importance to consumers of inventory availability — particularly for major appliances, which are often emergency purchases made under duress. BrandSource members can manage their in-stock products online through full POS integration with real-time inventory by location.

No. 3 on the chart is transactional checkout, which helps make the online shopping experience seamless by offering customers multiple payment options through various payment gateways. Payment options include PayPal/Amazon Pay; pay by credit card; the BrandSource/Citi card; and no credit options, among others, and members should also provide a mobile-optimized one-page checkout for customers shopping by phone or tablet.

The fourth recommendation is the creation of custom product catalogs. Consumers are drawn to deals, and featured catalogs offering in-stock, scratch-and-dent, “hot buys” or clearance items are the most popular page on e-commerce sites. Dealers can also create catalogs on the fly to tout special events like tent sales, anniversary sales or holiday promotions, and can use shoppable promotional landing pages to both promote and transact on the same page.

Last but hardly least is the inclusion of product add-ons at checkout. High-margin attachments like extended warranties; delivery, haul-away and installation services; installation accessories; mattress protectors; and adjustable bases provide a frictionless shopping experience for the online customer and a boon to the bottom line for dealers.

The new Top 5 Digital Essentials Checklist, posted here and in the Backroom, joins AVB’s Checklist for the New Normal, which provides a comprehensive list of suggested store policies, delivery and service procedures, merchandising and marketing advice, government links, and the best practices as members resume business in the new retail environment.

For more information on digital assets, contact your AVB Marketing account executive or email

BrandSource is a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc.