Following the success of the virtual Fall Market, the Do it Best Spring Market opened March 7 to an online audience. The Spring Market builds on what worked at the Fall Market, which saw a 63 percent increase in sales, while also adding new features to help members navigate the ongoing impact of the pandemic and issues from the streak of unusual winter weather in February.
“While we certainly would have preferred to be together in person for our market, there is still much to be excited about as we continue helping our members grow,” says Dan Starr, Do it Best president and CEO. “From the challenges of COVID to the more recent impact of the extreme winter weather across the country, our members and our team continue to demonstrate the very best of our industry. And our Spring Market provides a great opportunity for our members, Do it Best staff and our vendors to connect while locking in great deals on in-demand products.”
Randy Rusk, communications director for Do it Best, says the virtual format has allowed the company to reach a broader group of members than ever before, with members who normally couldn’t come to an in-person event attending the market online.
After receiving feedback from members at the virtual Fall Market, the co-op extended the market from a four-day event to a two-week timeframe. Rusk says they heard from members that they wanted more time to visit, connect and buy.
Some aspects have not changed this time around. Market Savings Builder is back and allows members to still plan, order and track market purchases, setting up search priorities and finding the best deals in the product categories they need. With Market Savings Builder, members have the ability to shop, add merchandise to their carts and place their orders all in one place.
“We’ve also brought back Sneak Peek deals and introduced Cyber Steals,” says Rusk. “Cyber Steals will be available exclusively online and include merchandise available in a very limited-time window for deep, deep discounts.”
Focus on the Future
Rusk says one focus at this market is providing additional buying opportunities and encouraging members to look further into the future for buying than they normally would.
“This market is about partnering to secure allocation of product and working diligently to focus more on strategic buying for the next six months,” says Rusk. “The biggest stressor last year has been fighting through allocation issues and shortages. Our members are welcoming the opportunity to partner with us more closely, so they can be less impacted by the shortages.”
To better serve members through these allocation and supply issues, the Do it Best merchandising teams have used creative methods to allocate more product and stay in contact with members about the supply chain.
“Our teams are laser-focused on working with our vendors daily to secure members with additional product and return our service level to the industry leading level we all expect,” says Starr. “So our team has fought for allocation, found alternate suppliers and looked for opportunities to bring members value at a time when the whole industry is facing price increases.”
Expanding Members’ Knowledge
Another focus of the Spring Market is providing educational sessions through the Auditorium and Knowledge Central. The Auditorium features strategic buying presentations from Do it Best LBM and merchandising experts.
Knowledge Central includes on-demand training sessions from industry veterans that focus on personal and financial wellness. This time of the year is a good opportunity for members to gain insights into their own personal health and wellness, says Rusk. He says it’s also a good time to do a financial wellness checkup so that as things return to normal, members are in a good financial position. Other topics include marketing, same-day in-store pickup, connecting with customers and legal compliance.
This Fall and Beyond
While Do it Best has worked to provide its members with a worthwhile virtual experience, Rusk says the co-op is planning on returning to a live market in the fall, reconvening at the Indiana Convention Center, Sept. 27-30.
For the foreseeable future, all markets will take a hybrid approach, including elements for connecting virtually or in person, Rusk says. Many of the features designed for the virtual markets, such as Cyber Steals, will carry over to in-person markets.
“We’re excited to once again provide our members a virtual experience that enables them to maximize buying and savings opportunities, connect with our experts and help ensure they’re optimized for growth heading into the new year,” Starr says. “And we’re equally excited about the opportunity to gather together again in person at our Fall Market in September.”