A nine-member team from Don’s Appliances attended the Convention from a lakeside retreat.
By Andy Kriege, YSN
There were a lot of firsts at this year’s BrandSource Convention. First and foremost, it was the first all-virtual show ever attempted in the industry and on balance, it went surprising well. And while there was no single version of the “virtual show experience,” there were some common threads that were shared by all in attendance.
Prior to the Convention, YSN caught up with Duncan Kramer, an owner/partner at Zeglin’s Home TV and Appliance in Davenport, Iowa. Kramer was emphatic about setting aside exclusive time to take in the event away from the business. He and his partner Lee Zeglin did just that, and sequestered themselves for the duration of the show.
According to Kramer, there were some distinct advantages to being all digital. “It was easier to stay connected to my team in the store and immediately communicate back to them the information I was learning,” he recounted. Kramer intends to emulate this practice of real-time messaging back to his in-store team even when the group goes back to an on-site Convention “It just makes sense to take time out to communicate valuable information back to my team while ideas are fresh in my head,” he said.
Kramer also liked the Stampede format. “One thing I would like to see carried forward is the digital ordering platform that worked so smoothly,” he noted.
Kramer also commented on how impressed he was with the show from start to finish. “To put something like this together from the ground up could not have been an easy task. Well done! This has really been a good experience.”
The one pitfall of the all-virtual event that Kramer pointed to was the inability to see, feel and touch real products in person. “So much of a commitment to a new line is made through being able to interact with the product or service,” he noted. “I missed being able to do that this year.”
Rather than relay their Convention learnings, Don’s Appliances brought nine members of the management team to a family lake house/cottage an hour southeast of Pittsburgh to partake in the show directly. The party projected the events up live on two big-screen TVs and maintained social distancing throughout the Convention.
As owner Tim Hillebrand observed, “It has been great to go to all the events as a team.” Indeed, being able to have many more key people attend was an advantage over an on-site show, where not as many company staffers would have participated. “Having this many decision-makers in the same space hearing the same conversation has been priceless,” Hillebrand said.
The virtual format wasn’t perfect, but we are not living in a perfect world at the moment. However, the digital nature of the show did allow for more attendees than at any other BrandSource event in the past. “This show attracted more [attending] members than ever,” said CMO John White. “No one had to travel or worry about support staff.”
It was also nice to go home and sleep in your own bed every night!
For all things Convention related, visit the 2020 Convention section of YSN.
BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.