The 2020 Do it Best Fall Market kicked off Sept. 13 virtually, and the co-op brought in new and returning opportunities so its members could get the most value out of the virtual event, despite not being able to meet face to face.
“Our markets have always provided our members with a great opportunity to connect and collaborate while exploring the great new products and special deals available to them. That’s never been more important than this fall,” says Dan Starr, president and CEO of Do it Best. “With the many disruptions to our lives and business this year, we’ve worked hard to create an online market experience that feels as close to the traditional event as possible. Now more than ever, and no matter where they connected, our members benefited greatly.”
The system that helped Do it Best recreate its traditional market in an online format is its Market Savings Builder, where members can plan, order and track all of their market purchases. For this market, Do it Best added some attendee favorite events into the system. Sneak Peek, an event that traditionally gives retailers 75 minutes to access greater deals the evening prior to the market opening, was expanded to a 30-hour event on the virtual platform. The Power Preview also returns, which gives attendees an in-depth look at outdoor power equipment.
In addition to continuing special market events and buying opportunities, the Market Savings Builder is still the best way for retailers to plan ahead to attend the market and get the best deals while they’re buying.
“We developed this system several years ago, not envisioning then ever needing it for a virtual market, but as a way for members to see and plan their market orders prior to the market,” says communications director Randy Rusk. “The system opens up free time to shop new vendors they may not have carried before. It also has the capability for retailers to do price comparisons and check order quantities. We were blessed to have developed it before we desperately needed it.”
The fall market is the final event in Do it Best’s 75th year in operation. While the co-op didn’t anticipate celebrating such a big milestone remotely, says Rusk, they didn’t want to miss a chance to celebrate in some way. Each day of the market, there will be two deeply discounted 75th anniversary special deals that will only be available in four-hour windows.
“It’s unfortunate that we can’t celebrate the 75th in person,” Rusk says. “But we are celebrating a year of record profitability for our members. This year, we delivered $128.4 million in rebates, up from $115 million last year.”
Do it Best serves thousands of member-owned stores across the U.S. and in more than 50 countries around the world. With such an expansive—and in some cases remote—member base, the co-op had to make sure everyone who wanted to attend the virtual market could.
Prior to the market, Do it Best focused on communicating to its members through a variety of channels, from emails, print mail and even a podcast. Do it Best created training videos to prepare members for the virtual setup, and territory managers communicated remotely with members. Once it was safe to begin traveling again, territory managers traveled to stores to answer members’ questions about the market and ensure they were comfortable with a virtual event.
“We found ourselves to be well prepared for some aspects of moving the market to a virtual event,” Rusk says. “Market registration numbers for members is up quite a bit. We realize that comes from a commitment to attend this market that doesn’t require airline tickets or hotels. People who might not have experienced a market, this opens a door for them.”
Delivering a consistent market experience to every member is key to the market’s success, Rusk says. To make that a reality, there will be Do it Best staff members available around the clock throughout the market week.
“We realize the virtual market floor doesn’t close at 5 p.m.,” Rusk says. “Everything on the virtual market website is set up to be intuitive. It leads you into the experience and you don’t have to figure anything out. We wanted to be sure what we chose to deliver for this market we could deliver with excellence.”
The 2020 Do it Best Fall Market continues through Sept. 18.
Ahead of the market, Do it Best announced the launch of a new e-commerce platform for its members, which includes four components to help retailers better serve their customers, including:
- Providing online shoppers same day in-store pickup of orders placed online.
- The ability for members to sell online both items stocked by Do it Best and items that members stock that aren’t bought through Do it Best.
- Streamlined curbside pickup.
- The co-op’s custom-built Pick N Pack mobile app, which is currently in beta testing.
“As always, our focus is on developing and delivering solutions that are relevant, robust and turnkey—which is why we are so excited about sharing these new features with our members during the fall market,” says Rich Lynch, vice president of marketing at Do it Best. “Our team and partners have worked tirelessly to ensure that our e-commerce offerings are in sync with shifting consumer dynamics. Launching these enhanced shopping features will drive growth for our members’ stores, as well as increase convenience and ease of experience for their customers.”