– Brand Source, the $14 billion homegoods
buying group, is launching a turnkey wireless
program to help members more readily enter the burgeoning
mobile CE category, and may also offer a
similar entree into solar energy.
The programs, announced at group’s convention
and buy fair here last month at the Paris and
Bally’s hotels, are intended to help dealers diversify
their product offerings and boost business amid the
harsh retail sales environment.
Brand Source CEO Bob Lawrence told TWICE
that it is important for members to offer a broader assortment
that can be culled from the group’s current
pool of CE, appliance, furniture, floor covering and
bedding products, and coming options including energy
management and mobile devices.
The latter program, dubbed Connected Source,
is a turnkey solution that will provide members easy
entry into wireless devices, mobile broadband plans
and content services, explained Jim Ristow, executive
VP of Home Entertainment Source (HES), the
group’s specialty electronics division.
Brand Source will begin testing the concept in select
stores during the fourth quarter, and hopes to eventually
establish a national footprint, Ristow noted. He said
the program is not unlike Best Buy’s plan for the center
of its stores, where entertainment software is being replaced
by connected hardware and services.
In the meantime, Ristow is arming the group’s CE
dealers with an array of deeply discounted products,
non-traditional bundles and unique giveaways in order
to do promotional battle during the coming holiday
season. The deals, which he described as unprecedented,
were obtained as a result of overbuilt vendor
inventories and Brand Source’s ability to warehouse
large quantities of merchandise.
“There are opportunistic buys out there that I’ve
never seen in my career,” he told TWICE, citing at
least six or seven “Stampede” specials at the convention
that were more than 30 percent off.
“We’re ahead of the curve this year, and we’ve kept
members in every category,” he said.
Meanwhile, as Brand Source prepares to beta
test Connected Source, executive VP for appliances
John White has been tasked with developing a similar
turnkey solution for solar energy, which the group
sees as a major opportunity for dealers.
White is also urging members to manage their appliance
assortments in order to remain competitive
amid rampant discounting by Sears and the homeimprovement
chains, and to continue attaching products
and up-selling customers to maintain a healthy
In addition, independent dealers should remind
their communities why it is important to support
neighborhood businesses in terms of service and the
local economy, he said.
More immediately, members should also benefit
from a newly re-edited TV spot for Electrolux in which
TV personality Kelly Ripa refers viewers to select local
Brand Source dealers to see the company’s Perfect
steam laundry pair and partake in a 10-percentoff
promotion. The commercial airs nationwide this
month across all Scripps Networks TV shows and
was re-shot exclusively for Brand Source.