Alta Product Manager Michael Cox walks members through the latest updates for LINQ.

Reviews full roster of tweaks, updates and refinements at Convention session

By Janet Weyandt, YSN

Amid the swirl of product trainings, trade show action and networking events at this week’s Convention, BrandSource members had the opportunity to refresh their understanding of the all-important MTEQ digital platform, and learn how AVB Marketing has refreshed its multiple components. 

Split into two 90-minute educational sessions for all BrandSource regions, the managers of the various MTEQ tools took the stage to talk through what each platform is about and what’s coming. 

Jason Duong, director of client services, opened with a discussion of how AVBM’s strategic brand program — SBP — is giving way to MTEQ as the overall collection of digital marketing programs designed to help members do business smarter. 

“Price is the most important factor in buying decisions for consumers; it wasn’t that way two years ago,” Duong said. “Now 60-70% of sales in-store are duress sales. We looked at all these factors and the changes in consumer behavior, and we looked at the marketing services we offer: Do they still make sense?”

Duong encouraged members to give serious thought to their marketing budget and strategy and to make sure their websites are working the way they should. 

“MTEQ should be the foundation of the marketing strategy,” he said. “We can have the most perfect marketing plan ever but if the website isn’t flagship, it might be a waste of money.”

Alta Product Manager Michael Cox then took the stage to talk about the work that has gone into updating the Alta website platform. 

“Since Summit, we’ve been doing a lot of work on websites to rework how promos and rebates show on the website,” he said. 

He detailed many of the improvements that have been made, including new promo price displays, new filters on catalog pages and product page reviews, among others. 

Coming up, Cox said, is an additional savings rebate callout on the catalog page, going live by the end of September, as well as more upgrades to the product search function. 

Cox also went through the updates and plans for LINQ, starting with a description. “If your website is your sportscar, LINQ is the big engine that drives it,” he said. 

Since Summit, Cox said, improvements include new vendor warehouse inventory columns, price match/price scraping and Package Builder displays on digital tags. 

Coming up, LINQ will have near real-time price rules and digital tag updates, calculated custom columns and more. 

In her presentation, GM of Products Kate Morris said she recently had a chance to use HUB the way a salesperson does when she was visiting a member’s store. It was an eye-opener. 

“I never did sales before,” she said, adding that she found HUB “a little clunky” when trying to complete a sale. Armed with the real-life user experience, she and her team worked on updates that would make HUB seamless, fast and easier for sales teams to use. 

Those changes included adding recommended frequent searches, collapsible product detail and other small changes that make a big impact on functionality. 

“Let’s bring the data you’re using all the time to the top to make the tool a little bit smarter,” she said. “All of these are little things, but they make it easy for your sales people to access product details and make it a little faster so your customer isn’t getting bored and walking away.”

The list of improvements on deck for 2024 are intended to continue to make HUB perform better and include features that help members on the sales floor. 

Morris acknowledged that HUB is already a massive tool with many features, but had some advice she has also shared in region meetings. 

“Focus on one aspect of the tool,” she said. “Take one thing of all the features you’ve seen and say, ‘This is the thing I would like to take on.’ If all these features seem like a lot, let’s talk about how you can implement just one thing in your store.” 

On SYNC, the proprietary point-of-sale system, Product Manager Rich Lindblom said recent improvements include automated sell-through claims for Electrolux, newly formatted statements suitable for sending to customers and more. Coming up, he said, will be more vendors included in the automated sell-through claims, the ability to identify shipped items and a super invoice. 

Closing out the session, Technology Solutions Manage Dan Evans went through details of AVB TV and KIOSQ, and then urged members to plug in as fully as they can with the entire MTEQ platform. 

“Let’s think about how you’re already engaged with us,” he said. “Think about what you’ve seen or heard that you want to learn more about. Try to add one more tech solution.”

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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