All roads lead to the internet: Yost tells members in address
SASKATOON – To date, Mega Group hasn’t lost a single member because of the economic fall-out from the global COVID-19 pandemic, president and chief executive officer Kim Yost told the members of the co-operatively owned buying group during their recently ended virtual conference.
“In those early weeks of dealing with the COVID-19 challenge and crisis we created a four-phase strategy; survive, recover, sustain, and then ultimately grow,” he told them in his presentation. “One of the biggest declarations that came out of our COVID-19 mission statement was this: No member would be left behind.
“And I’m pleased to say to you that not only through 2020 but here today in 2021, we at Mega have not lost one member because of COVID-19,” Yost reported.
He noted furniture, mattress and appliances retailers gained a significant share of wallet with the government-imposed ban on international travel. “Our consumers were staying home, creating things like staycations and focusing on their kitchens and home renovations,” he said, adding, “This share of wallet in our favour helped fuel a big part of our success throughout the calendar year of 2020.”
Now that the drive to vaccinate the Canadian population has begun, the time has come to start planning for the post-pandemic market, one where the consumer will be traveling again and other previously dormant competitive pressures will return.
“The supply chain will continue to be our greatest challenge in continuing to manufacture sales,” Yost said, noting replenishment lead times from suppliers have been lengthening across all product categories in recent months. “We at Mega are working with or key suppliers to overcome these challenges. We just launched our new Mega Selling Guide with the objective of giving our members an up-to-date directory of our key suppliers.”
He also said Mega is preparing a response should the Canadian International Trade Tribunal impose anti-dumping tariffs on motion and leather upholstery imported from Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China. “Details are still to come out but we at Mega are getting ready for this major disruption,” he said.
The group will launch several initiatives as 2021 unfolds including the launch of several new communication tools designed to keep information flowing from the group to both members and vendors.
Among these is a new series of regional meeting for members to be held each quarter; a new monthly newsletter; and quarterly performance group meetings.
Yost said the group’s most important project in 2021 will be the roll out of the Alta 360 web platform, that was first develop and implement by the U.S. buying group, AVB Brandsource. Part of what Mega calls the Alta Advantage, designed to improve its members’ web presence while providing greater point-of-sale integration, enhanced digital marketing, e-commerce capabilities and real-time lead generation. Currently, some 100 members have converted to platform.
The group will also unveil a new web site in the near future.
“All roads lead to the internet,” Yost told his members, adding there is plenty for independent furniture, mattress and appliance retailers to be optimistic about in the months and years ahead. “There is some optimism with the roll-out of vaccines and the constant reminder to adhere to safety protocols, both personally and professionally. All those things are contributing to the end of this virus and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
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