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Google Partners With Independents

I was in Best Buy in Manhattan recently and noticed a lady intensely shopping for an accessory. She was rummaging through the shelves and seemed to be learning about the products right then, without having done any online research. As I left the store I thought, “When was the last time I didn’t go online to research an electronics product and find the best retailer to buy it from?” For me, it had to be a decade, if not more.

The shopper may have assumed that it was the place that would have the right product at the best price. And maybe she was right. But for millions of consumers today, that shopping behavior is from another era.

For thousands of independent electronics and electronics/appliance dealers that aim to get attention away from the big guys, they need to embrace digital marketing to attract a new generation of consumers.

Enter Google

At the Nationwide Marketing Group convention in Orlando, a Google executive addressed the independent electronics and appliance retailers highlighting their partnership. And Associated Volume Buyers (AVB), the retail buying group whose units include BrandSource and ProSource, has a relationship with Google, says Dave Workman, president/CEO of ProSource, which brings to AVB members “a tremendous amount of analytics” that can be used to “create smart marketing programs for independent retailers.”

Google now sells its Nest home automation products through independent retailers. But as a veteran attendee of buying group meetings since the 1980s, it still amazes me that Google has discovered buying groups, and that the groups’ privately-held, independent retail members have embraced the search giant.

In her keynote at Nationwide’s “PrimeTime” convention, Joanna Chick, Google’s strategic partner manager urged the assembled independent electronics and appliance retailers to embrace digital marketing, while updating them on the changing nature of the phenomenon. How consumers interact with retailers and brands, and how both must interact with this generation’s shoppers evolves on a regular basis. “Mobile changed daily life forever,” Chick says. A study by Qualtrics and Accel found that millenials check their phones 150 times a day or more.

Nationwide’s relationship with Google provides the group’s dealers with baseline website analysis based on Google’s best practices. The group says it is also offering members its “Nationwide Google Benchmark” to compare a dealer’s analytical data against past performance or genetic data.

Google’s partnership can help independents attract more online and instore traffic to keep them on par with national retailers, and also educate today’s consumers about their services to help explain the technologies they sell.

Steve Smith