BrandSource Intros App, Expert Warehouse 2 at Vegas ConventionAugust 31, 2011 By Nancy Klosek
Lawrence noted that the BrandSource App is alone in the market as the only home appliances app. “No box stores and no other channels have that,” he said. The app uses GPS technology to find dealer locations, provides directions, and lets browsers check the minutiae about a product, down to color choices. One of its best uses is on the salesfloor as a sales associate tool. “It will help salespeople answer questions about specs and features. Now, they don’t have to shuttle back and forth to check. They never have to leave the customer’s side.” The app also allows checks of competitive pricing for all the surrounding-area retailers, and lets store personnel check into EW2’s inventory so that if a customer wants a SKU that’s not on the floor, it can be looked up and checked for availability and time to delivery.
“Another thing it does is it takes our members to the level of a virtual showroom. A dealer can walk a customer through 8,000 SKUs in a very systematic way, build the right solution, and quickly get that product in. It legitimizes the small dealer, and greatly expands the dealer’s mix, overnight,” added Ristow.
Ristow also provided an update on the February-announced Connected Source initiative – the turnkey concept developed for Home Entertainment Source (HES) members so they can display and demo the latest technologies in a showroom in a store-within-a-store model, at low cost. He said the program is in three beta test programs at present and that additional announcements would be made later in the year.
With the BrandSource-Kathy Ireland collaboration now at the six-month mark, the group announced a home furnishings line at the meeting. Lawrence said it had also developed in-store POP materials to promote it, along with a set of cutlery and home storage products that are other fruits of the partnership. He said the Kathy Ireland-branded small appliances and electronics lines mentioned at the group’s February meeting were still in their early stages and are part of a long-term plan for 2012.
Lawrence also said a new program, Shelf Source, had been developed that would allow BrandSource members to enter the kitchen-cabinet-interior retrofit business – a highly profitable enterprise that regularly delivers 40-to-50-percent margins, takes up minimal showroom floor space and requires very little investment on the dealer’s part.