Lawrence to Members: Promote the BrandSource Brand
BrandSource CEO Bob Lawrence told dealers on Day Two of the Orlando-held Summit that the group’s “primary goal is to make you price-competitive at acceptable margins.” But he added that for members to remain competitive against the national big-boxes stores for the far term, they needed to “get serious” about leveraging the BrandSource brand on a national level.
Solutions the group is crafting that are designed to aid members in achieving this goal include: initiatives to increase “virtual” awareness of member stores through greater emphasis on BrandSource.com; the development of a BrandSource app and a mobile texting service; and help with search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. Also on tap for introduction are new national TV commercials in HD and the offering of stronger promotions with longer lead times that would give dealers a chance to optimize their promotional planning activities through the major seasonal events of the year.
Lawrence asserted that BrandSource is the only industrywide initiative that can work for independents to combat the nationals’ impact on indies. He quoted statistics that showed group members’ 2010 sales in various categories were better on average than those for the industry as a whole and other independents. “The good news is that we beat the industry in appliance sales in 2010 by one percent and other independents by three percent. In electronics, we were down in sales just two percent while other independents were down 15 percent and the industry was down seven percent,” he said.
But Lawrence explained that the demographics BrandSource stores attract – mainly older and wealthier buyers – need to be broadened to attract more younger visitors and more customers who shop BrandSource stores on either their first or second store visit when searching for products. Outreach also needs to target customers who relocate and who, when they do, tend to shop in stores with a nationally known name for the comfort value. “Each time a consumer moves it equals five appliance sales, and 40 percent of consumers move every five years,” he said. “If we don’t gain top-of-mind awareness, we'll lose that customer.”