AVB rolls out technology upgrades
LAS VEGAS — As the AVB team introduced new technology rollouts at the annual summit here, CEO Jim Ristow reflected on a time when retailers realized they needed quality websites to keep pace with the consumer demand. Now, he said, retail has arrived at another crossroads in the shopping experience.
“Five or six years ago the light bulb went out for (retailers) to have a really good website,” Ristow said. “We think we’re at exactly the same point in the shopping experience.”
To enhance the shopping experience, technology advancements include an integrated experience that merges online and offline shopping, point-of-sale advancements that add more real-time views of inventory, an endless aisle more deep and more. This is part of an effort to improve the experience for retailers and consumers.
Along with the new sales and merchandising services, existing tools were already available to members, which enabled the group to gain significant market share during the pandemic. A big part of the announcement was that AVB took these various tools and services, which can be overwhelming for a retailer, and bundled them into four simple service levels under the Alta banner, as part of the Simplify initiative. + Unify of the group.
“Our members have the best salespeople. What they didn’t have was a tool that connected all of this information, all of these processes, and everything that people get online with what they do in-store. There is a gap,” said Dave Meekings, chief operating officer. “Consumers go online and see all this information, images, videos, specs, documents. They come to the store and the seller, the best they can do is go online themselves and find the exact same thing. We take all of this data and information and put it into an interface designed for the sales professional.
AVB officials agreed that progress is needed because of the way technology has become more integrated into everyone’s life and has become an expectation rather than a novelty.
“Think about how technology has supplemented the things you do every day,” said John White, chief marketing officer. “When you enter a restaurant, you are not given a menu; there is a QR code and you scan it.
One of the new features can sync an online shopping journey with an in-store visit. A consumer visits a retailer’s website, selects a piece of furniture and places it in their cart, but wants to sit down before making a purchase. With the system, the consumer can share information with a salesperson in the store, who can then review the history to pick up where the consumer left off.
“It works both ways. You can start with the seller and finish online at home,” Ristow added.
Updates to AVB’s Kiosq platform add more SKUs to a retailer’s offerings. “In the furniture space, there’s a very limited selection compared to what’s out there. You may have 200 SKUs on the floor, but there are 200,000 available. That’s the way to get part of that inventory,” White said.
AVB is also working with a handful of POS vendors to create a system that will integrate with them to offer real-time views of inventory, pricing and more.
“They’re to the point now that if you’re on this system and using it to its capabilities, you can connect to our tools really seamlessly and it’s a unified platform at this point,” said White.
Additionally, AVB has a browser-based point-of-sale system, Sync, in beta. It is designed to integrate with existing AVB systems and meet the essential needs of a furniture or appliance retailer.