Summit Recap: Three Dynamic Days in the Desert

AVB CEO Jim Ristow delivers an inspirational kickoff to Summit 2022.

Commerce and camaraderie abounded at BrandSource’s Las Vegas event

By Alan Wolf, YSN

What a difference two years can make.

Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since COVID first raised its ugly head, it was back to business this week for BrandSource members and vendor partners, many who’d only seen each other since then over a computer screen.

Between hugs and reconnections, AVB unfurled a series of innovations intended to lock in and extend the eye-popping share gains achieved during the pandemic by BrandSource and its attending affiliates ProSource (consumer tech and custom install); Mega Group/BrandSource Canada, our independent neighbors to the North; and Northeast buying co-ops N.E.A.G. (the New England Appliance Group) and Intercounty Appliance Corp.

“You have proven you can adapt and be resilient like none of your competition,” AVB’s CEO Jim Ristow told attendees in his State of the Union kickoff address. “The business is yours to take, so own it,” he said, underscoring this year’s theme of taking the bull by the horns.

To help with that rodeo, AVB is “simplifying and unifying” the company’s numerous online and in-store merchandising functions under a simplified structure. The result is a four-tier series of Alta service bundles that tie together the company’s HUB, LINQ, POS systems and transactional websites in simple plug-and-play packages that create a seamless, multichannel experience for both shoppers and merchants.

“The shopping experience is matched by the technology experience,” explained COO Dave Meekings, creating an “ultimate selling machine” that draws customers online and can direct them to the physical sales floor.

As part of the launch, AVB is adding a sixth, in-house POS system called Sync to its current lineup of fully integrated, Gold Provider Partner platforms from EPASS, Profit, Storis, Whirlwind and Windward.

What’s more, AVB’s Alta e-commerce platform, which already leads the industry in conversions and cost efficiency, will receive new enhancements of its own, said CMO John White, including website promotional banners, 360-degree imagery, new payment gateways including Apply and Google Pay, and additional search attributes that further its “promo-first messaging and appealing design.”

On the brick-and-mortar side, members can also opt for a new vertical orientation of AVB’s popular KIOSQ program of LINQ-synched in-store displays, White said, which will be available to members this month.

Taken together, he added, AVB is providing “a unified shopping experience in a way no one else is doing today.”

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