AVB’s CEO Jim Ristow rallies members around the group’s proven suite of retail technology tools.

AVB’s retail solutions work, but only if you use them 

By Alan Wolf, YSN

In his traditional State of the Union address before Convention 2023 attendees this morning, AVB’s CEO Jim Ristow reminded members that BrandSource’s comprehensive playbook of retail solutions is a proven game-changer — but can only be effective if implemented.

In fact, AVB’s suite of retail tools have demonstrated their potency twice: first when members who embraced the platform enjoyed significant share gains during the pandemic, and more recently during the spring and early summer, when BrandSource dealers who plugged in to the systems regained market share that had been lost to box-store promotions.

Specifically, BrandSource’s appliance and home furnishings dealers outpaced their respective industries during the May-July period, Ristow said, and are exceeding the box stores by 7% in appliances. What’s more, these gains came amid a challenging backdrop of high inflation, steep mortgage rates, a stagnant housing market and constrained margins. So it was no coincidence, he noted, that nearly every attendee at last March’s Summit plugged in to one or more services from the AVB toolbox, and many “hit the gas pedal” and increased their marketing budgets to do battle with the boxes.

Just as it did during COVID, AVB’s retail success strategy worked, and helped reverse any share losses that occurred as the mass merchant channel regained its post-pandemic footing. The lesson to be learned, Ristow said, is that when dealers do nothing to advance their businesses, they risk ceding share to competitors. Conversely, members who’ve sampled AVB’s arsenal of easily-integrated marketing tools such as SYNC, HUB and KIOSQ, and continue to add “bite-sized” elements to their digital portfolios, have not only gained share but are outpacing members who sat on the sidelines by 10%.

Ristow humorously compared the scenario to his own athletic setbacks, which included a torn Achilles tendon in 2021 and a broken pinky last April that temporarily refused to straighten. He blames himself for the second injury, after ignoring the advice and contactless sport playbook he received from his physician, the former team doctor of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

To help encourage participation in the AVB playbook, the group is now offering unprecedented incentives to members who engage in BrandSource’s fourth-quarter marketing programs and MTEQ suite of technology solutions. “We want to make your business life easier, more efficient and more profitable,” Ristow said. “You can continue to win by plugging in.”

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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