Buying Groups Launch Enhancements

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Des Plaines, Ill. - Four of the nation's leading buying groups have announced new programs, improvements and expansions.

Among those reporting enhancements is the

Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group)

, which has revamped and relaunched its Web site. The redesigned site, located at

www.progroup.net

, serves as a comprehensive portal for member dealers and vendors, as well as the public. The interactive site provides information about the group and its members, board, vendors, affiliations and schedule of events, and features separate pages for each.

Elsewhere,

AVB/BrandSource

has created a national sweepstakes offering consumers a chance to win a 2011 Ford Fiesta, laundry pairs from Whirlpool and Mitsubishi TVs. The promotion is one of several national marketing initiatives AVB will launch this year to expose the BrandSource name to consumers and drive additional traffic to its e-commerce Web site and retail stores.

The sweepstakes is named "Win With Force," after the John Force NHRA drag race team BrandSource has sponsored since 2006. This year's program builds on past successes, AVB said, and adds prizes from other NHRA sponsors, including Castrol, Ford, Mac Tools, AAA Auto Club of Southern California and vacation packages from Pleasant Holidays.

The sweepstakes is open to fans attending NHRA events this season. Entry boxes are also being sent to all BrandSource dealers, and consumers can also enter online at

www.brandsource.com

.

BrandSource will additionally hold a monthly drawing on select Energy Star appliances and flat-panel TVs via the recently redesigned Web site.

"It's amazing to see how far we've come in just a few seasons in terms of interacting with the race fans," said BrandSource CEO Bob Lawrence. "At our first promotional event in 2006 we gave away one large-screen TV. With all of the team partners involved, fans can now win over $100,000 worth of prizes through the ‘Win With Force' promotion this season."

Meanwhile,

Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA)

, the $500 million buying group for system integrators, has added Dana Innovations as a vendor partner.

The San Clemente, Calif.-based audio company, parent of

Sonance

,

iPort

and

Trufig

, said the new partnership will expand its efforts "to align with the top customers in every market," while providing HTSA members with a strategy to grow their businesses through "design-community outreach and innovative solutions that add dollars to the bottom line."

 "We are thrilled to partner with HTSA as they are ideally positioned to leverage our design community outreach efforts and participate in bringing exciting solutions from Sonance, Trufig and iPort to the specification market and to design conscious consumers," said Dana Innovations CEO Ari Supran. 

"Successful companies are made up of three key ingredients - great people, programs and products," added Richard Gilkes, executive director of the HTSA. "Sonance is now a vendor partner of HTSA because they are exceptional in all these areas, and at the end of the day success is made easier by having the best products. The styling, functionality and margin of the products fit perfectly with our members' product mix and position in the marketplace."

In other buying group news, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized

Nationwide Marketing Group (NMG)

with a 2010 Excellence in Appliance Retailing Award for its outstanding contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by marketing and promoting energy efficient products.

NMG will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. on March 18 for successfully increasing sales and messaging of Energy Star-qualified products, engaging in Energy Star promotional opportunities, educating customers about the benefits of energy efficiency, and participating in various Energy Star campaigns.

The $12 billion buying group for independent appliance, electronics and furniture dealers has been an Energy Star partner since the program's inception.

"Nationwide Marketing Group and Energy Star have a mission-critical partnership," said Richard Weinberg, the buying group's appliance merchandising VP. "More and more of our customers are looking for innovative Energy Star-qualified products that save money and protect the environment. By offering products that have earned the Energy Star, we are working to fulfill our customers' needs while helping address climate change."

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