BrandSource members Pete and Parri Van Dyke of Van Dyke Appliance reflect the spirit that’s at the heart of the group.

A new report in TWICE Magazine tells all

By Alan Wolf, YSN

It all boils down to strength in numbers.

As a new report in industry publication TWICE suggests, it would be mighty hard for an independent dealer to go it alone in today’s marketplace.

Indeed, the retail services and mutual support that buying group membership brings can make the difference between surviving and thriving in a retail landscape dominated by big-box chains and rocked by economic and logistical turmoil.

Case in point: COVID. “No one could have predicted quarantines and government-mandated store closures,” said BrandSource President Tom Bennett. “But when the great digital migration hit, BrandSource was ready.”

In fact, thanks to the grit and determination of its dealers and the guidance and digital marketing prowess of parent entity AVB, the buying co-op enjoyed its fifth consecutive year of record growth in 2021, Bennett told TWICE, with high double-digit sales and a No. 3 berth in appliance share, behind only Home Depot and Lowe’s.

BrandSource member Jason Horst of Famous Tate Appliance & Bedding Centers echoed Bennett’s observations, citing live chat as an important differentiator during the pandemic. “Our buying group urged dealers to add live chat support to their websites, which provided another way for customers to safely and conveniently shop for their replacement appliances,” he told the publication. “That wasn’t a service that many dealers were putting resources into at the time.”

What’s more, BrandSource’s foundational concept of members helping members was especially crucial during COVID. “Thanks in part to the idea sharing among members” — including operational tips, public health suggestions and other best-practice advice — “we were able to safely sell and deliver to customers at a critical time,” said Horst, director of marketing at Tampa, Fla.-based Tate.

The support of fellow members is equally important today amid the current marketplace disruptions. “Right now, the biggest challenge facing all retailers and manufacturers is getting the supply chain back in sync, so we don’t go from too little inventory to too much,” said BrandSource president Bennett. “Fortunately, consumers have continued to show their resilience in the face of high inflation, and demand for our product categories remains strong.

“That said,” he continued, “no one knows what the future will bring, but after successfully navigating the pandemic and the Great Recession before that, I think we’re up to any challenge.”

As TWICE concluded, advanced retail services like those provided by AVB BrandSource and its ProSource affiliate, along with the cooperation and fellowship of its dealers, “not only helped buying group members maintain their businesses, but also prepare them to face the always uncertain future.”

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