All the research shows that future retail success will require a strong presence both in a brick-and-mortar store and in the digital world. And everything BrandSource does is aimed at helping members grow and succeed in both arenas.
During the group’s recent Summit in Nashville, CEO Jim Ristow announced some new initiatives that are the next evolution of digital marketing solutions for members. They fall under the umbrella of “Project Blackburn,” a multi-year plan that will result in a universal wrapping together of a number of digital and brick-and-mortar initiatives into a seamless integrated solution.
First up will be a renewed commitment to producing rich content for members’ websites, including text and increasingly important video. In fact, Ristow said, video is a powerful tool for online marketing and one that most players in the industry haven’t touched.
“Product videos are all over the internet in different categories,” Ristow said. “But in the (industry) spaces we’re in, they’re almost nonexistent.”
Not for long.
BrandSource has begun creating a video catalog featuring some of the best sales people in the group touting the features of products and technologies found in member stores. To illustrate the goal, Ristow showed part of a video from the Zappo’s website where retailer-created videos give customers a look at the shoes they’re considering from a different perspective than the manufacturer’s.
The BrandSource videos will be short – around a minute in length – and will be available for members’ websites through the member-owned AVB Marketing agency.
“We’re one of the last industries without robust video catalogs,” Ristow said. “This will put our members way above everybody else in the appliance, home furnishings and electronics categories.”
Chief Marketing Officer John White hit on the importance of video in his educational session during the Summit event, as well.
“In 2021 video will represent 82 percent of all web traffic,” White said. “Online brands can do so much more with video, and they are. Our branded video series will showcase retailers’ expertise. The goal is to offer value to customers through video vignettes that are useful, relevant and trustworthy. If you make a great video, audiences will stick around.”
It’s well understood that most customers who want a brick-and-mortar experience when shopping for appliances, electronics, furniture or mattresses will do some online homework before they set foot in a store. And when they approach dealers they’re armed with some knowledge and questions of their own.
Videos on BrandSource member websites will give them even more of the information they need and in a format that people are turning to more and more.
Dealers are the experts at talking to their customers and showing them the product features that make big appliance purchases attractive, White said. The new video component will mirror that effort.
“This is translating that experience to the online environment from the brick-and-mortar store,” he said.
Of course, creating high-quality videos – even short ones – is a big ask for retailers who are busy running their stores and caring for customers. That’s where the BrandSource video team comes in. The team, with the help of some of the best sales people from member businesses, will put videos together at the Sacramento headquarters of AVB Marketing.
“If you want to do video, you need to do thousands of product videos or hundreds of technology videos,” Ristow said. “It’s virtually impossible for the independent dealer. We are going to have a dedicated team of expert writers – all they write about are home furnishings, kitchen, laundry, AV. The content will be rich and dynamic in word and in video.”