Welcoming a record number of member-owners, the Do it Best Spring Market kicked off Feb. 11 in a virtual format. The market runs through Feb. 25, offering special purchasing opportunities, key industry insights and proven best practices through a new web experience available exclusively to members.
The co-op made the decision to transition from a live event to a virtual market in early January. Although moving the market from an in-person event to a virtual option was a disappointment, it was necessary because of the continuing impact of COVID-19, says Randy Rusk, Do it Best communications director.
“Our preference for this market was to be in person. There is nothing like the opportunity to connect in person and meet with members and vendors. It’s a big part of the Do it Best culture,” Rusk says. “On a positive note, when you have access to the market 24/7 for two weeks, it invites more people through the door and reaches more members.”
Rusk says the decision was made easier based on the success of the co-op’s previous virtual markets.
“Our two virtual markets set new market sales records for Do it Best along with attendee records,” he says. “From an engagement standpoint, when you remove the obstacle of travel and lodging, that you can connect from anywhere, it certainly has an impact.”
Each morning of the market, rotating messages on the member website direct members to focus on different features and opportunities. One major focus of this market is helping members navigate the continuing supply chain issues by providing multiple buying opportunities.
“Our message to our members for this market is, ‘If you can see it and you can sell it, buy it,’” Rusk says. “A lot of these market deals are with vendors who have guaranteed they have product available to order today. Whether it’s product retailers are selling now, or it’s seasonal products they are ordering to have it in stock later, it’s ready.”
Market Central introduces a new e-commerce initiative and offers purchasing strategies for key hardlines and LBM. In the Market Central address, Rich Lynch, vice president of marketing, shared strategies for getting the most out of the virtual market.
“Warm up with the Market Savings Builder so you’re ready to snag the market’s best deals, assemble your buying team and build your knowledge through the other helpful resources available,” Lynch says. “And be sure to carve out time in your schedule. None of this works if you don’t devote the time. You have to make it a priority or you’ll miss out.”
The Market Savings Builder allows members to build and submit orders and has functions to filter by deals, vendors and product categories to identify the best deals at the market. The popular Sneak Peek, Cyber Steals and LBM Super Specials are also back for this market.
Rusk says a big part of markets for many members is the sense of discovery, and Do it Best has created ways to offer that same type of experience online.
“Our Core Solutions section is all about hardware at this market,” Rusk says. “There has been a lot in trends, finishes and fashion that has changed in that category, and Core Solutions will challenge members to look at their options and planograms to update their entire hardware department.”
The New Item Gallery features hand-curated items that have been added to the inventory since the last market, with everything available to order.
Another member favorite component of the market was able to make the virtual transition. Market attendees can connect with subject matter experts on topics impacting the industry in Knowledge Central. These live Zoom-based webinars cover topics such as marketing, technology, business improvement and leadership.
Other programs include the LBM Industry Update, which provides LBM-specific insights, and the midyear huddle from president and CEO Dan Starr, who shares business updates and covers four focus areas for driving growth.
“This market offers our members more opportunities than ever to gain insights on retailing trends, challenge their thinking and lock in their product purchases,” Starr says. “We’re excited to help our members strengthen their businesses and fuel their growth.”
The Do it Best Fall Market returns as an in-person event with virtual opportunities at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis from September 9-12.