Evans Urges Members to Keep the Momentum Going

AVB’s merchandising chief called for a full-court press in the pandemic’s fourth quarter.

By Alan Wolf, YSN

AVB Merchandising VP Chad Evans helped kick off Day 3 of Convention21 with a combination marketplace update and locker room pep talk that acknowledged members’ travails but lauded their record-breaking accomplishments.

Chief among the latter: Despite the many privations of the pandemic, BrandSource member appliance volume is up 50 percent over the trailing two years, handily outpacing both big-box and independent competitors, while the group’s year-to-date home furnishings growth is nearing 40 percent.

Evans, who resumed his chief merchant persona following a Stampede visit from alter ego Ole CD, empathized with weary dealers and their overworked staffs who’ve been fighting an uphill battle against labor shortages and shipment delays that could extend into 2023.

“You have figured out a way to navigate these waters,” he told attendees. “You’re doing an amazing job.”

To keep the momentum going, Evans echoed AVB CEO Jim Ristow’s call to action, imploring members to “double down” on all the cutting-edge tools at their disposal. Among AVB’s arsenal:

  • SKU reports that provide a sales benchmark for all brands and models
  • Digital tabs, which should be used freely with emails and Facebook posts
  • In-store kiosks, which provide an “endless aisle” of inventory
  • Financing promotions, which can be used in lieu of limited vendor sales events; and
  • HRSource, a comprehensive collection of turnkey solutions for finding, hiring and keeping retail talent.

Evans also urged attendees to tap into vendors’ record-level co-op funding, and to reevaluate their manufacturer and supplier support to ensure it reflects members’ five-fold market share gains.

Looking ahead, he said the wind appears to be at dealers’ backs, as low unemployment and interest rates fuel consumer spending and a continued housing boom, which is a double blessing for home goods.

Quoting Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said “you’re tired, you’re laboring” in the third quarter and the fourth quarter “calls on your character,” Evans concluded by reminding members to stay positive.

“I put my money on you,” he told the crowd. But in turn, BrandSource members must “double down to continue growing your business.”

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.