Nashville, Tenn. — Mega Group USA, the buying group for independent appliance, home-furnishings and CE dealers, reported record-setting attendance at its biannual convention here last month.
The show was held at the new 2 million-square-foot Music City Center convention facility, with attendees lodged across the street at the new Omni Nashville hotel.
“We always have great attendance in Nashville, but this year we set records, with more dealers attending than ever before,” said Rick Bellows, president of the 1,700-member buying organization.
Among the draws was “Mattress University,” a series of intensive training sessions covering sales, digital marketing, retail operations and best practices for the mattress category.
“With the mattress industry changing in recent years, it’s important that dealers understand how best to reach their customers,” noted Mega executive VP Jerry Honea.
Also at the show, Mega Group senior management accepted an ALS bucket challenge from Whirlpool, which matched donations to help raise $25,000 to fight Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Meanwhile, other sessions focused on majap sales training and product information, which will help ensure profitable sell-through, explained Missy Hodges, the group’s appliances and outdoor products VP. The training sessions were in addition to “great deals on fall merchandise specials,” Hodges said.
Seminars also included “Millennials and Retail,” which analyzed the impact millennials will have on the retail channel in the years to come. “We all need to connect with and understand the millennial generation in order to better prepare ourselves for the future,” observed Mega marketing VP Jim Sendrak.
In addition, members attended performance group meetings in which “like-minded business people share best practices in marketing, operations and revenue and profit-building opportunities,” said Mallory Parker, member business services VP.
Group services include health and business insurance, consulting, store merchandising, IT support, and custom advertising and marketing services.
Among the latter is a new suite of services, dubbed Mega Marketing, which offers digital advertising, social media, email marketing, TV and radio production, media buying, public relations, branding and an in-store digital display program.
The display program, called Digital Studios, allows members to run promotional messages throughout their stores via tablets and large LCD monitors. Members can customize content and choose from thousands of vendor-provided informational videos, as well as create their own custom promotional clips.
Said Mega member Collin Bamke, general manager of Bergmann Appliance: “We’ve been looking for help with our digital marketing, and this is the answer.”
Roger Pickett, president of mattress retailer Murmaid, found the entire convention program valuable. “I’ve been a Mega member for 10 years [and] this is the first time I’ve participated in all of the different presentations. They’re certainly worth the while, and I’ll be doing it again next year.”
That opportunity will come Feb. 15-18, 2015, when the group reconvenes in San Antonio.
A slideshow of last month’s event can be viewed here.