Mega Group USA draws strong attendance at convention
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, March 20, 2013
DALLAS — Mega Group USA reported strong attendance and record order writing during the buying group's three-day Spring Convention at the Gaylord Texan Hotel and Convention Center here.
The March 9-12 conference drew some 1,000 people, including retailers representing nearly 400 of its members and more than 100 supplier partners, including 40 furniture and bedding sources showing goods.
The attendance and brisk order taking indicated "attitudes are good and there is a comfort level for the months to come," said Rick Bellows, president of the Germantown, Tenn.-based furniture, electronics and appliances buying group.
The theme of the conference was "Traffic, Margin, Execute" and the point was driven home by the keynote speaker, Sam Geist, president of Geist & Associates, and author of "Execute or Be Executed," who stressed the "need to develop strategies and, more importantly, the will to execute to completion," according to a release.
Other programs included workshops and educational seminars and what organizers said was a successful inaugural "Mega Madness" event, in which vendors were challenged to provide exceptionally hot buys to members during a one-hour window.
Mega also said it did well with the launch of the Dreamhaven collection by Serta, an exclusive assortment of private-label Perfect Sleeper and iSeries mattresses with retail for queen sets ranging from $299 to $1,999.
In addition, Mega rolled out an 11-group upholstery program, including motion upholstery, with sofas ranging from $599 to $799. Jerry Honea, Mega's furniture director, declined to name the source, but the group said the product is U.S.-made and comes in "hot selling" covers and frames.
"These two programs offer great value, margin and sales opportunities for our members and will drive traffic to the stores," Honea said.
The buying group's dealer focus in recent years has been on online marketing, technology, and e-commerce through its Mega WebFronts program, and that message was reinforced by guest speakers Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research and Roger Blackwell, an expert on consumer behavior, said Scott McFarland, the group's information technology director.
Mulpuru discussed "E-commerce Opportunity in Home Furnishings" and Blackwell focused on "High Performance Marketing in an Ultra-Competitive Economy."
In addition, Mega introduced a new video sales training program called RS3 and a comprehensive circular advertising campaign that incorporates Web banner ads promoting special offers, links to dealer websites and point-of-purchase kits for stores, among other things.
Mega's next national convention is slated for Aug. 18-21 at the Renaissance Hotel and convention center in Nashville, Tenn.
Mega Group USA has more than 1,600 retail members with about 3,000 U.S. stores.