AVB/Brand Source has created a new warehousing and extended warranty programs for its members that was outlined during its annual convention, here.
Its Expert Warehouse program was specifically designed "to make us more aggressive in the consumer electronics business," since CE manufacturers "continue to reduce expenses by increasing the terms of annual minimum to buy direct, cutting sales staff, traditional dealer support and training," Lawrence said.
Last fall Brand Source became the only organization in the industry to warehouse Bose for its members, Lawrence said. Expert Warehouse takes the Bose experience to another level, he noted. "Expert Warehouse allows members to maximize turns with the convenience of a distributor at direct pricing. The new business model saves members a typical distributor 'up' charge of 7 to 10 percent, while being able to mix different lines to make free freight" requirements.
Lawrence said that Brand Source members can mix Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp, Apex, and what the executive director called "Gateway-priced" plasma TVs to get free freight. Over the next few months more suppliers will be added to the program. The Expert Warehouse program uses the organization's Expert Order Management System, as well as AVB Finance to keep costs down and enable the group to "take advantage of opportunity buys … rather than the bulk deals going to the box stores."
The bottom line benefit of Expert Warehouse "allows [members] to invest inventory dollars in the sales floor … rather than investing the same dollars in your company's warehouse," Lawrence said.
Brand Source has kicked off Expert Protection, its extended warranty program which is backed by Service Net. In explaining the need for the program, Lawrence said that increased competition made the program necessary, as well as the fact that "today 63 percent of customers expect to be asked about a service policy."
He noted, "The most important feature of Expert Protection vs. other extended service policy programs is that we will provide in-store training for salespeople," which would increase sales of these profitable policies.