Alan Wolf, YSN
The BrandSource management team can’t stress it enough: Don’t ease off the digital pedal if you want to win the holiday season.
To underscore the point, BrandSource merchandising director Grant Hancock noted that a quarter of all appliance sales will be transacted online this year according to industry projections, and that nearly one-third of all white-goods will be sold online by 2023. One major big-box retailer is already doing more than 40 percent of its appliance business online, he said.
The trend, he told members during last week’s round of regional call-ins, has clearly been accelerated by the COVID pandemic, with online’s share of the appliance market expected to grow 48 percent in 2020 alone, compared to the low, single-digit increases of recent years. As a result, the long lines of shoppers camped outside stores on Black Friday morning will be absent this week, as consumers shift to the safety and convenience of e-tail.
The good news, Hancock said, is that AVB Marketing offers the state-of-the-art tools to help members stay ahead of the game, including a new, faster and mobile-ready user interface for LINQ that’s coming next month, and a host of enhancements to the group’s Alta 360 e-commerce platform.
Among recent website improvements: Making inventory listable by color, size, fuel type and even door swing direction, and a comprehensive library of product videos hosted by some of the members’ most effective sales staffers. As Mark Baird, AVB Marketing’s creative director/video told YSN, “AVB Marketing produces hundreds of product videos designed to enhance consumer engagement and elevate consideration when they reach member websites.”
The videos, which are automatically updated on member sites as new products and features are released, bring “product features, benefits and highlights to the website experience in short, eye-catching and easy-to-understand segments as consumers are in the research and ‘where to buy’ phase of their path to purchase,” Baird said.
Hancock also urged members to strengthen their home pages with “call-to-action” promotional offers (“You gotta hook ’em to cook ’em,” he said), and to list their assortments by popularity, as 75 percent of site traffic doesn’t get past the first page and drops to 3 percent by the page three.
Other website features that members should leverage include the use of special catalogs; payment gateways; live chat; and flags to highlight SKUs that are in-stock, on sale or qualify for a rebate. These elements can serve as critical tiebreakers when customers comparison shop, Hancock said, since 79 percent of consumers still base their purchases on price, and “the retailer who provides the easiest online experience wins.”