No one has ever accused Azione Unlimited executive director Richard Glikes of being one who rests on his laurels. Indeed, even as the buying group continues on its aggressive growth curve, Glikes is drilling in the importance for the membership to “work hard and smart” in 2016.
“I think business will be tough in 2016,” Glikes tells CE Pro. “Dealers tend to sit in their foxholes waiting for referrals. We are going to get them to dig themselves out of that behavior.”
Azione plans for the year include reaching the milestone of 200 total members while also launching a three-pronged collective marketing initiative for members focused on website enhancement, video creation and social media advertising.
“The goal is for us to get our unfair share. This is going to become a share game in 2016,” believes Glikes.
Details on the marketing initiatives will be forthcoming in the next month or so but it will include things like Facebook advertising to feed referrals to members.
The buying group is coming off a stellar year in which the collective revenue of the 139 dealers members grew an astonishing 45 percent in 2015 with total combined sales of $464 million. During the year, Azione Unlimited added 35 new dealer members and eight new vendor members, bring it to 40 total vendor members. Among the new vendors were Panamax, Xantech, Future Automation, Tri-Ed Distribution and Vantage. In all, 23 of those 40 vendors reported an increase in business from Azione dealers, two had a drop in business and the remainder were flat, according to Glikes.
Among the dealers, 18 percent of them earned more than $5 million in revenues last year. Almost all of the members (85 percent) have never been in a buying group before.
Also in 2015 the group added a healthcare program and the creation of what Glikes calls “Connected Clusters” in which 10 to 12 members with similar sales volumes but located in different regions of the U.S. will meet by teleconference every six to eight weeks in an open forum to share ideas.
The Azione Spring 2016 Conference will be held in Phoenix from April 15-17. The event will mark the first time that vendors will actually have tabletop exhibits. The group's Fall 2016 Conference will be October 18-20 in Las Vegas.