AVB CMO John White reviews the competitive online landscape.

Flagship features are table stakes in today’s marketplace, CMO says

By Alan Wolf, YSN

In a compelling General Session presentation that built on CEO Jim Ristow’s Convention opener, AVB’s chief marketing officer John White reminded members that flagship quality shopping sites are indispensable in today’s digital-first society.

“It’s the store nearly all of your customers see first,” he said.

And just as brick-and-mortar stores need care, customer appeal and upkeep, so too does your showroom in the cloud. To that end, AVB Marketing continues to add new technology to its e-commerce repertoire to keep BrandSource members ahead of the pack. Among the most recent additions:

  • The most advanced room and package builder available to furniture retailers, which simplifies the selection process for customers.
  • Similar custom package functionality for appliance shoppers who wish to build a laundry pair, add pedestals or complete an entire kitchen.
  • A new side draw feature that presents relevant add-on accessories to shoppers, sparing them the search.
  • Improved landing pages for mobile shoppers, placing everything within thumb’s reach.
  • Additional payment gateways, including the increasingly popular buy now, pay later plans from TD Bank and Affirm, giving your customers more options at checkout than any competitive platforms.

White noted that the AVB Marketing team is at members’ disposal to implement whichever tools dealers choose to enhance their websites, including competitive pricing, live chat, strategic sort weights, special catalogs and flags, premium payment gateways and promotional homepages — all key features of a flagship showroom online. Specifically:

  • Promotional homepages are critical for dispelling consumers’ misconceptions regarding independents’ pricing, delivery speed and shopping experience compared to national box chains.
  • Strategic sort weights group items by various search criteria, making it easy for customers to find the brand and products they want. This is critical, as 77% of online shoppers never proceed past the first page.
  • POS integration that assures customers will find the same pricing and in-stock information online as they’d get from an in-store salesperson by automating the merchandising function.
  • What’s more, competitive pricing, based on price scrapes of retail rivals, is imperative for members, as over 80% of shoppers buy from whoever offers the lowest price.

To assure that members’ websites are up to snuff, AVB is providing a Website Scorecard to help dealers assess their online showrooms. “The retailer who provides consumers with the easiest experience to find the products they need or want for the best value wins,” White said.

The CMO concluded the presentation by reminding members that it is imperative to increase their marketing budgets to maintain their growth in the current environment, in which box stores are resuming a promotional stance. To that end, AVB is providing a budget planning tool for the appliance, furniture and bedding categories to help target consumers and allow for flexibility in members’ marketing spend, and has developed a fourth-quarter marketing package that will carry members through the critical fall, Black November and year-end selling periods.

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