Mega Group USA broke all attendance records with its Fall National Convention, held mid-August at the Omni Hotel & Music City Convention Center in Nashville, where 1,450 members and vendors gathered to buy, sell and learn.
While there’s no denying the lure of the country music mecca, 410 of the buying group’s independent furniture, electronics, appliance and bedding businesses also benefitted from a marketing boot camp of sorts under the theme of “Tell Your Story.”
Specifically, workshops and keynotes urged dealers to move beyond a lowest-price message, and to emphasize their individual strengths and unique attributes in the marketplace. Members were asked to consider what they do that’s different from their big-box competitors, how they’ve survived in these turbulent retail times, and how they could connect more personally with customers and employees.
Kicking off the discussion was comedian and motivational speaker Kelly Swanson, who used engaging anecdotes to underscore that one can “always do better” when it comes to customer care.
The theme was also carried by “digital engagement” expert and keynoter Andrew Davis, who said dealers must stand out from the retail crowd by demonstrating how they are different, rather than just claiming to be.
Sandwiched between the presentations were a series of breakouts, workshops, training sessions and new product introductions, where members could share their successes, challenges and best practices.
The buy fair itself featured more than 90 exhibitors spanning all Mega product categories and services, and was highlighted by vendor giveaways including vacation packages from Serta Simmons Bedding and $25,000 in wholesale Whirlpool merchandise. (Lucky Larry Harlen of Larry’s Rockport Trading Center walked away with the latter.)
“We spend many months planning these events and looking for ways to engage our membership and helping them overcome the challenges facing independent retailers today,” noted Mega Group president Rick Bellows. “As we wrapped up this show, we heard so many great comments from our retailers and vendor partners about how special this show was. At the end of the day, not only do we help retailers buy better, but we help them build their own brands to reach more people locally.”
Mega’s rank and file will next convene March 11-14 in Atlanta for the group’s Spring 2018 show.