AVB’s Dave Meekings recounts the group’s industry-leading initiatives.
Follows advances in marketing, service and member support
By Alan Wolf, YSN
Caught up in the day-to-day whirlwind of running a retail business, it’s easy to forget how far and how fast AVB BrandSource has grown in recent years.
Dave Meekings, chief operating officer of AVB, recounted the group’s progress before Convention attendees on Monday and highlighted its latest initiatives. Among the milestones:
- The Women in Business and Young Professionals networking groups
- AVB Marketing’s Alta e-commerce platform and MTEQ marketing technology suite
- ServiceSource, HRSource and their respective Playbooks
- YourSource magazine, YSN.com and the YSN COVID Hub
- FTS and its permanent Experience Center showroom at the Las Vegas World Market Center
Together the initiatives contributed to a 40% increase in business growth, a 50% gain in membership and a 70% spike in member benefit over the preceding nine years, Meekings said. Also experiencing significant gains is the nascent FTS, or Furniture Technology Source arm for home furnishings members, whose best-in-class digital catalog has grown 10-fold in the scant two-and-a-half years since FTS’s creation. Fueled by MTEQ and an aggressive merchandising team, FTS members enjoy 30% more site traffic and receive 30% more rebate programs than their competitors, he noted, and will have the opportunity to shop more vendors at this week’s show than any in BrandSource history.
Adding to the group’s furniture momentum is FTS Direct, a just-launched, direct-sourcing program that will select, curate, import and ship split container loads of factory-direct products for BrandSource members only. By pooling their buying power, dealers can enjoy close to factory-direct pricing without committing to a full container of merchandise, which can deliver greater profitability and allow for more competitive pricing, Meekings said. The first trial containers are already on order, and a sample leather sectional from the debut FTS Direct collection was displayed on the EXPO floor.
Another major push for AVB is luxury appliances, as reflected in the group’s 330% increase in ultra-premium catalog listings over the past year-and-a-half. That’s helped to make BrandSource a dominant player in the high-margin category, which Meekings described as “hyper important” to members. Also driving AVB’s luxe ascendancy are its retail financing, vendor discounts and range of retail technology tools like HUB, LINQ and KIOSQ that provide the upscale purchase experience and sophisticated service levels that high-end shoppers expect.
AVB is also particularly proud of its ServiceSource initiative, which has helped change appliance repair from a money-losing cost of doing business to a full-fledged profit opportunity for self-servicing members. Besides creating an invaluable Playbook, which covers every aspect of running a cost-effective service operation, ServiceSource provides regular online educational webinars, a monthly newsletter and, starting at the last Summit, on-site training and certification for service department managers.
And building on that momentum, ServiceSource will debut its first manufacturer-led training camp for service techs next month, Meekings added, representing the latest in a long line of AVB innovations.
YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.