Mega updates web site, shifts from buying to selling
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – The member-owned Mega Group has launched its updated web site, part of a drive to shift its focus from being a ‘buying’ group to being a ‘selling’ group while improving and strengthening ties to its existing members.
The project was led by John Power, the group’s general manager of sales and strategic development, who told Home Goods Online, “the objective was to offer a functional, modern and current web site designed with the group’s human-oriented image in mind…a user-friendly site that offers relevant information with a simplified and improved navigation system that makes it easier for the visitor to find everything he or she needs.”
The decision to update the site was driven by several factors, particularly with the appointment of a new chief executive officer – the well-known furniture retailing executive Kim Yost – as well as a stronger focus on communicating the value of Mega Group outside of its membership and the increasing power of digital marketing.
“We tell our retail members that somewhere between 50% and 80% of their marketing strategy should digital, so we need to ensure we ‘practice what we preach’ and stay current,” Power said.
This version of site (www.megagroup.ca) has several significant differences from its predecessor. “The single largest difference is the ability to interact with our retail members more easily,” Power said, adding the site integrates video, flipbooks with CTA (click through technology) and a constantly updated ‘news and events’ page.
The site also uses Podium, a messaging platform that allows the retail members to instantly respond to any query from anyone.
“Our intention is to be as personal as possible to members, prospects and the industry at large,” Power said. This is why the site spotlights Mega’s current board of directors. Its senior management team will become an added feature in the not-too-distant future and a directory of members is being considered.
The site also provides a link to the group’s new Selling Guide, which spotlights many of its 400 vendor partners who are categorized by commodity with critical contact information.
Power said the site will be updated regularly. “Our goal is to have twice monthly updates to keep the information relevant and current,” he told HGO. “It’s look, design and features will evolve as required to fulfill our members and prospects needs. The goal for the site is to be the number one spot to go to when asking about Mega – why we do what we do, how we do it and for whom it’s done.”
He’s also not shy about admitting it is also a recruiting tool – even with 722 members operating some more than 900 stores, Mega believes it has room to grow.
“Absolutely this is a recruiting tool,” he said, “but it is also a resource point for members and is designed to be the entry point for them to be updated on all things Mega, from our monthly Power newsletter to upcoming buy fairs, industry updates and relevant blogs for both retail members and vendor partners. We also have kept our ‘backroom’ private portal with access areas that feature our marketing programs and private member communications.”
The site is also part of Mega’s shift away from seeing and talking about itself as a ‘buying’ group to portraying itself as a ‘selling’ group. Power describes the shift as “a realization of what we do and why we do it.
“At Mega,” he continues, “we drive two outcomes for our members and vendor partners. The first is to manufacture sales – to move product from the factory to the end consumer as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s why we say ‘selling isn’t part of the game…it is the game’.
“The second is to improve the profitability of our members,” Power adds, “that is develop and share best practices – what we call the ‘fundamentals of retailing’ – to create an environment that allows our members to improve their bottom through proven processes designed to accelerate operational performance.”
The site provides insight into what Mega is calling its ‘secret sauce’ which is contained in a section called Why Mega – an explanation of the key ten services the group believes give it a competitive advantage in the marketplace. “The ‘secret sauce’,” Power explains, “is derived by identifying, developing and implementing business programs, systems and tools that individual independent retailers could not access, afford to effectively implement on their own.”
Power cites three in particular. First is the introduction to the Canadian market of the ALTA 360 web platform, perhaps the industry’s largest catalogue and support system which is now being used by some 100 Mega members.
“We have an in-house a la carte financial management solution that prepares monthly, quarterly and annual financial members for individual members,” he said. “It also runs monthly one-on-one financial reviews with our professional staff pointing out deficiencies and offering ideas for improvement. This is like having a full-time chartered accountant on staff at a fraction of the price.”
The third is what Mega calls its Fundamentals program, which Power said is “designed to provide a framework for the member’s business so the owner can work on their business, not in their business.”
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