Independent Buying Groups Convene This Month

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The nation’s three leading buying groups for independent CE, appliance and furniture dealers are convening across the country this week and next for biannual meetings and buy fairs.

The shows, for Nationwide Marketing Group (NMG), BrandSource and Mega Group USA, represent an important prelude to the fall and holiday selling seasons, as new services, strategies and vendor programs are presented to the members.

For NMG, this week’s PrimeTime event brings several major changes, beginning with the venue. The conclave, running Aug. 21-24, will be held for the first time at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, just outside Dallas.

Also new are senior members of the group’s merchandising and marketing team, which is now lead by GE Appliance veteran Dave Bilas and includes former Electrolux sales director Jeff Knock, who serves as marketing senior VP for appliances.

NMG said it is anticipating the largest turnout ever for its buying show and conference, with nearly 900 vendors and member companies expected to attend. The show also marks the organization’s 40th anniversary, which it will celebrate by providing members with a booklet at registration filled with “40 Great Ideas” to help draw more foot traffic and increase sales and gross margins. Dealers who visit participating vendor booths to learn more about these ideas will also get a chance to win a $10,000 U.S. savings bond and other prizes including an iPad 2 and iPod Touch.

“This will mark our largest summer showing,” said NMG CEO Robert Weisner. “The strong attendance numbers we have seen over this past year can be attributed to the real benefits and value our vendor partners and member dealers are getting at PrimeTime.”

Rival buying group BrandSource has also found a new home for its fall show. The organization, whose divisions include the Home Entertainment Source (HES) specialty A/V wing and its Pro- Source partner the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), will meet at Caesar’s Palace Aug. 28-31, just down the road from its longtime late-summer venue at the Paris and Bally’s Hotels.

Top of mind at the show will be Brand- Source’s new strategic partnership with Ingram Micro, which now manages the group’s Expert Warehouse distribution and fulfillment program. The two-step initiative, which allows member dealers to purchase mixed-freight shipments of a wide variety of A/V and, increasingly, majap brands at competitive prices, had previously been operated by Archbrook Laguna, which liquidated this month.

The group will also formally introduce at the show its wholly owned wholesale finance firm, BrandSource Financial, which is designed to provide member dealers with additional opportunities for profitability and growth, BrandSource said. “BrandSource Financial offers all the capabilities of any competitive wholesale finance company [but] is the only wholesale finance company operated for the benefit of its members,” said CEO Bob Lawrence. “Since we own it, we all share in the proceeds.”

Also offering enhanced services this month is Mega Group USA, which is expanding its WebFronts Premium Plus ecommerce program to the mattress and bedding categories, and is introducing fleet-management software for dealers. The programs will officially launch at Mega’s bi-annual convention, running Aug. 25-28 at the Downtown Renaissance in Nashville.

The show, themed “Stay Connected, Be Connected,” is focused on further educating dealers on web marketing. In addition to training workshops on the WebFronts program, the group will also conduct informational sessions on social media that include tips, techniques and best practices, plus a special address by social-media expert Jeff Korhan, this year’s featured speaker.

“Online and social-media marketing is critical to [our dealers’] success,” said Mega president Rick Bellows. “As a leader in web marketing, it is our responsibility and passion to continue to bring our dealers the knowledge they need to compete online.”


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