– MEGA Group USA, the $3 billion home-goods buying group, reported record attendance and vendor written orders at its biannual National Convention last month in Louisville, Ky.
Attendance passed the 1,500 mark, a 15 percent increase over MEGA’s spring show, and vendors reported spikes in written orders in excess of 30 percent, the group said.
The 2,500-storefront group with an emphasis on furniture, majap and CE drew more than 70 vendors to its show, including Whirlpool, GE, Marcone Supply, Bosch and Electrolux. The convention also featured the largest contingent of electronics exhibitors in several years, MEGA said.
Members appeared optimistic, the group reported, despite the rough retail sales environment.
“All the dealers seem very positive and upbeat this year,” said electronics division manager Jim Sendrak. “Business is certainly tough, but dealers know that business is out there for those that aggressively go after it.”
To help dealers compete effectively within their markets, MEGA introduced new and expanded advertising programs, including new TV spots to compliment the group’s print inserts, and “green screen” technology that allowed dealers to shoot customized inserts for the commercials at the show.
Other highlights included a state-of the-industry update by GE Appliances’ Dave Bilas, who stressed the importance of promoting during key selling times and holidays. Added MEGA president Rick Bellows, “There is no doubt that consumers are responding to aggressive pricing and value-driven propositions. Dealers need to take advantage of the major holidays such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas to push these points and drive traffic during these periods. Consumers are shopping then, so our members need to be heavily promoting then.”
The convention, held at the Marriot Downtown in Louisville, also featured a service workshop led by United Services Association’s (USA’s) Paul MacDonald and a full slate of seminars including:
• “Total HD Experience” training by Almo’s Jack Halperin;
• “In-depth Advertising and Marketing” training, including Internet, social-networking and search engine optimization training;
• special insights into Toshiba technology presented by DSI’s Greg Hughes; and
• “Consumer Finance = Profitable Sales,” presented by GE Money’s Diane Hortman.
In addition, keynote speaker and retail consultant Bob Negen of WhizBang Marketing shared proven business practices, marketing tips and sales-force training methods based on his experience as founder of the Mackinaw Kite Co., a small chain of specialty kite stores he launched at the age of 23.
MEGA also paid out more than $1 million in “Fast Cash” during the show, which maximizes buying opportunities by putting additional margin back into dealers’ businesses, the group said.
“Our mission is simple,” said Bellows. “We do what is best for our dealers, period. We succeed only if they succeed first. The convention is just one of the many things that we do to help them, and we look forward to continuing it year after year.”
For more information, visit www.megagroupusa.com.