Though recovering from surgery for a ruptured Achilles heel,BrandSource CEO Jim Ristow put on a good show when he took the stage at theBrandSource National Convention 2021’s first General Session, which took place on Sunday, August 22, the second day of the four-day conference, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. “Double Down,” as the 2021 convention has been dubbed, was the first in-person iteration of the AVB buying group’s bi-annual gathering since March 2020.
Despite closures and inventory issues over the past 18 months, there was good news to share. “In 2020, you all outpaced the home furnishing and appliances industries by 15 percent,” Ristow said. “What that means is that people who used to buy from that big box in 2020, they bought from you… and in the year 2020 today, you’re still outpacing the industry by 15 percent. These market share gains are five times greater than anything we’ve had for this channel.” Ristow added that those dealers working with AVB’s marketing tools experienced business gains of 25 percent during the pandemic, and urged any dealers who are contemplating decreasing their marketing and advertising spends to “keep their foot on the gas pedal, because we need to let the world, the vendors, know that we’re not going to give this business back.”
Ristow then touched on inventory and supply-chain woes, as well as the challenges around finding and retaining employees due to the so-called “Great Resignation,” whereby workers are quitting jobs en masse to pursue other jobs or opportunities, with more than four million Americans doing so in April alone, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “I’m talking about battling, like going after that 40 percent that is thinking about making a change,” said Ristow, referencing a recent Microsoft survey in which 41 percent of workers worldwide said they were considering leaving their jobs. “The challenge is, we’re going against these big companies — I’m not even talking retailers — I’m talking big companies with HR departments and battle plans to go after this 40 percent.”
To address this, Ristow announced the release ofHR Source, a new suite of HR tools to help retailers manage everything from recruiting and hiring to the often-overlooked component of retaining employees.