BrandSource, ProSource Offer 2015 Strategies at Summit & Expo
The Brand Source and ProSource buying groups welcomed members this week to the Marriott World Center, Orlando, Fla., for the 2015 Spring Summit & Expo.
The groups got down to business on Tuesday at the General Sessions, where Brand Source CEO Jim Ristow, Brand Source CMO and Executive Vice President John White, and ProSource President and COO Dave Workman introduced their strategies for 2015.
The spotlight was on John White’s “Maytag Takeover” presentation, intended to inspire retailers to focus on the customer experience by renovating for improved look, feel, and smell. White asked members to analyze why the large majority of customers want to be inside of a brick-and-mortar store when purchasing big-box items – and to cater to those desires.
“It’ll be long term,” says White. “It’s a lot of stores, a lot of members. It’ll start with, ‘Here’s what they should be, here’s how you should do it,’ and then it’s an implementation phase… In any retail business, that process should be an evolution and not a revolution.”
According to Ristow, sales numbers show 20 to 25 percent growth when a retailer updates and improves upon the customer experience. “We’re convinced it works,” he said.
Ristow, new to the position of Brand Source CEO, is focusing his attention on growing members’ business profitably, for which he’ll be announcing plans later this year. The category he’s most keen on growing right now is furniture.
As for the first quarter, the French-door refrigeration, high-efficiency laundry, and bedding categories have seen the most success.
ProSource saw a rebound in sales in the latter half of 2014 with early adopters buying up 4K Ultra HD TVs. The 4K momentum has carried over into 2015, seeing success alongside wireless audio, networking products, and turntables as the hottest categories.
The group saw a small, expected dip since the holiday season, but expects to see high single-digit growth for the course of the year.
“If we can shoot par around five [percent] for the first six months, then it’s probably a given we’ll get acceleration into the second half [of the year] because of promotional calendars,” said Workman.
White expects members will enjoy mid-single-digit growth for the year, as well.
Newer categories have so far offered less benefit than was previously expected for ProSource. For example, while the Wearable Technology category is still receiving a lot of attention and buzz in the consumer electronics world, the market is proving to be slow-growing.
“I’m not convinced the market is as big as they think it’s going to become,” said Workman. “They replicate, largely, the function of a cell phone. The logical side of me says that all the growth of the iPhone 6 is that customers are demanding a larger screen because of all the applications. And you put it into your wrist… I’m sorry, but anybody over the age of 50 can’t even see them.”
Overall, the groups are expecting to see business growth. The year’s agenda includes driving business, implementing a feedback mechanism, and aiding retailers individually.
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