Last Friday, Orgill drew a close to its 2021 Fall Online Buying Event, where Orgill’s retail customers were able to connect with hundreds of the industry’s leading vendors, take advantage of promotional buying opportunities and learn about the distributor’s complete program and service offering.
By all measures, Orgill’s Fall Online Buying Event, held August 16-27, was a success. And, in an era marked by uncertainty, Orgill President and CEO Boyden Moore says that these events are producing consistent results across the board.
“We wrapped up our third Online Buying Event this week and I think we have established a cadence for our customers and our vendors where they know what to expect and understand how to get the most out of this environment,” Moore says. “If you look at the sales figures from each of these events, they all nearly mirror each other. That tells us that our customers are engaging with vendors and that they are able to utilize the events to effectively buy for their businesses.”
Orgill held its first Online Buying Event in August of 2020 and a second Online Buying Event in February of this year. According to Jeff Curler, Orgill’s senior vice president of purchasing, not only has customer participation and buying at these events been steady, but Orgill has also consistently filled orders processed during the event, despite challenges throughout the supply chain.
“We all know there have been supply chain challenges within the industry, but when it comes to our Online Buying Events, our merchandising team has worked very closely with vendors to ensure that customers are receiving the products they order,” Curler says. “We know that one of the big attractions to our buying events, whether online or in-person, is the great promotional buys we offer. But we also know that these buying opportunities don’t mean much if retailers can’t get the products.”
In fact, following Orgill’s most recent Online Buying Event held last Spring, Curler reported that 97 percent of all warehouse orders were fulfilled and 94 percent of all Doorbuster promotional product orders were fulfilled.
“Based on the participation in these events and the ability to follow through on the orders, we think our customers have a much better idea of what to expect,” says Greg Stine, Orgill’s executive vice president of marketing and communications. “The first Online Buying Event was a big unknown for everyone. We have been able to learn from each one of these events and continue to make enhancements that help our dealers take advantage of the deals available to them.”
During this most recent event, Orgill introduced several new features to the online buying platform that offered attendees additional buying insights and flexibility. For example, at the Fall Online Buying Event, attendees could monitor “Fall Best Sellers” in real time. In this area, retailers could see what items were selling the best during the show.
“We featured Best Sellers in three different categories,” Curler says. “This included the top 100 best-selling items by quantity and by dollar volume and the top 100 best-selling pallet buys. We thought this was a great way for retailers to see what other retailers were buying and make sure they didn’t overlook any of these hot products.”
Another enhancement at the Fall Online Buying event was the entire platform was modified to be mobile responsive, meaning attendees could access the platform and its features from their mobile devices. This is particularly important, according to Marc Hamer, Orgill’s executive vice president and chief information and technology officer, because it not only allows attendees more options for engaging with the event, but it also sets the stage for future buying events that are based around a hybrid platform.
“We have already said that we will continue to host Online Buying Events as a regular part of our annual schedule, but we also envision our in-person Dealer Markets offering attendees a hybrid option where they can work the event like they would traditionally do, but also have access to information and the ability to conduct business through the Online Buying platform using their mobile devices,” Hamer says.
Stine also points out that Orgill also goes out of its way to accommodate customers who are not comfortable engaging with technology. “For instance, we service a number of Amish accounts, and we have worked out a system that allows them to take advantage of buying opportunities without having to utilize the online platform,” he says. “It is all about coming up with innovative ways to help our customers get the products they need to be successful.”
Orgill currently plans to host a Winter Online Buying Event in late October; a Spring 2022 Online Buying Event that will coincide with the in-person Spring Dealer Market in Orlando, February 24-26, 2022; and a Summer 2022 Online Buying Event in late April 2022. Additional event dates for 2022 will be announced in the near future.