AVB’s Meekings: New Solutions to Shared Hurdles

COO Dave Meekings runs down the latest additions to the AVB toolbox.

BrandSource unveils a battery of business tools

By Alan Wolf, YSN

BrandSource introduced an array of new business services at this week’s Summit 2024 to ensure that members continue to “WIN” at retail.

As AVB’s COO Dave Meekings explained during his main stage presentation, “We apply the aggregate power of members to build solutions that an independent dealer can’t build on their own.”

Indeed, the buying group came to the annual spring show packing a host of problem-solving solutions designed to ease dealer pain points and improve operational efficiencies. Among the initiatives: Trusted Transact, an in-house credit card processing program that could save dealers hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month in fees, and Business Baton, a private Backroom portal where retiring members can anonymously list their companies for sale before potential buyers.

Also joining AVB’s proprietary toolbox of retail fixes:

AVB In-Box

Email remains the most important medium for members to communicate with their customers, Meekings noted, yet more than half of all BrandSource dealers still conduct business on public accounts like Gmail, Yahoo! and AOL. These present a less polished appearance, offer limited customizations and can present a security risk when employees with email access depart.

To address the issue, BrandSource is launching AVB In-Box, a low-cost solution that uses a member’s company brand as their domain name and allows dealers to assign, view, manage and control all email associated with their business.

Updated Backroom

If you haven’t visited recently, the BrandSource dealer Backroom is being redesigned as a self-serve “total information hub” that offers more than information on vendor programs or upcoming events, Meekings noted. Featuring a cleaner, more intuitive interface, the reimagined Backroom is becoming “a central location where information can be accessed, reviewed and integrated so a member can easily and efficiently manage multiple parts of their business,” he said. It all starts in April, when members will be able to manage their digital marketing programs directly, and more features and solutions will be added going forward.

FTS Direct

Furniture Technology Source’s mixed container program is following up its first foray in direct sourcing — an exclusive leather recliner series — with a new factory-direct collection of high-quality, low-cost and margin-rich lift chairs.

Payment Through HUB

In what AVB’s leadership described as a big enhancement, members can now accept credit card payments in HUB, the group’s proprietary customer relationship management tool. This allows a salesperson using HUB through a mobile device to swipe a shopper’s card directly on the showroom floor without having to leave the customer.

Real-Time Updates for Digital Price Tags

Going forward, AVB’s in-store electronic tags can now show a new price within 15 minutes of executing a change, rather than waiting overnight for a refresh. This allows members to respond on the fly to changes in inventory levels, competitors’ pricing or vendor promotions.

Catalog Upgrades

Now, members can upload their own videos to accompany an online product listing using links to YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia. In addition, full 360-degree images are now available for some brands, and members can also add a pre-selected list of suggested add-on accessories or services to augment the sale.

AVB TV Update

A full update is coming to AVB’s in-store video clip service, including a new slew of commercials. 

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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