BrandSource kicked off its convention Monday afternoon in Las Vegas with chief marketing officer John White emphasizing the importance of digital marketing programs and debuting two efforts to help the group's members.
White outlined the BrandSource Digital Website Platform 3.0 and avbTV, a new video content service.
In outlining the importance of top-notch digital marketing, White said independent retailers' websites today "must look great, not just good" since websites are "the backbone of your marketing strategy" and its “presentation are critical in telling your story."
He added that getting successful search numbers for retail websites "is just like the Olympics. ... If you don't finish in the top three, you go home empty-handed."
The BrandSource Digital Website Platform 3.0 will be introduced later this year and will have such features as: kitchen packages and laundry pairs, audio/video bundles, competitive price compare, automatic price adjustments, price-management controls, and special furniture and mattress offers.
"Content is king" when it comes to retail websites, with White reporting that 57 percent of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a retailer.
He stressed the importance of blogs, video blogs and the use of third-party content on retail websites "to engage and retain current customers ... and gain additional customers."
White emphasized that video "engages consumers and holds people on [websites]," and announced the introduction of avbTV, a video service from BrandSource that will debut in a couple of weeks. It will provide a library of product videos that members can choose to run, along with videos that retailers can produce for themselves.
He told members they are "the authority" in home products in their areas, but they must communicate that to consumers, and videos will help them do that.
"We will be pushing video and [the new] website program heavily. … Anything digital is the way to attract [new] customers," he noted.
White did not forget to mention social media, and told members not to forget about it either because "social networks build links ... web traffic and authority." He pointed out that "15 percent of time spent online is spent on Facebook.” This promotes credibility, he said, and enables retailers to talk to consumers when they are not necessarily shopping for home products.