It’s unbelievable to ponder on the fact that we’re now two years removed from when the term COVID officially entered our lexicon and totally upended every facet of our daily lives. Most of us have taken those memories from the early weeks of the pandemic, jammed them all into a little box, and thrown it all the way to the back of whatever mental cabinet we’re storing them in. But humor us for a second. Take a quick peek inside those long-lost files and remember what business life was like at that time.
There was a lot of uncertainty, of course. But Independent business owners are inherently adept at navigating uncertain times. You’re experts at ebbing and flowing through and around whatever challenges are thrown your way — and a global pandemic was no different. Business models adjusted on the fly. New technologies were rapidly adopted. Websites were converted to robust retail platforms almost overnight. It’s just what you do.
All the above was true for the team at Arizona Appliance & Home. But the 76-year-old appliance builder distributor decided to up the ante by also committing to a corporate rebrand amid everything else that was going on.
“We thought in the middle of COVID it would be really fun if we also rebranded our company,” says Jessica Abrego, director of sales and marketing. Consider it their version of picking up a new hobby during the pandemic.
Born out of other discussions the brand was having during the early months of COVID, they took the opportunity to do a true deep dive into everything they stood for and how they could best position themselves for success in the future. So, the 76-year-old Arizona Wholesale brand became Arizona Appliance & Home.
“What we found was that the wholesale portion of the name wasn’t resonating with everyone. A lot of people were equating us with only one portion of the business,” says Abrego, who joined the team just months before the rebrand efforts got underway. “Our legacy is always going to be important —our marketing platform is our legacy. But we wanted to just evolve that a little bit.”
The brand’s efforts to re-launch itself, not only within the local builder community but with consumers as well, is what ultimately led Arizona Appliance & Home to Nationwide Marketing Group. In October 2020, they joined the Nationwide family after becoming familiar with the digital offerings. Because, in addition to a new name, the team was prepping to upgrade its website.
“We were able to work closely with Site on Time to dial in our website and what we wanted it to look like,” Abrego recalls. “We wanted it to be searchable. We wanted products to be searchable. We wanted to be able to tab out the different areas of our business. The team there was huge in helping us dial in to do all of that.”
Working with the Site on Time team, Arizona Appliance & Home not only got the word out about their rebrand, but they also were able to create a website that worked for their business rather than against it.
Abrego and team noticed that, prior to the upgrades, their own sales team would visit their competitors’ websites to look for specifications or details on product that they’d then send to consumers. Even the links to brands that were represented on their website would spin visitors off to different landing pages.
“We were getting a lot of inquiries with no email, no phone number. How do we know how to go back to that person that’s interested in purchasing from us?” says Abrego. “Now, the inquiries are coming through very clear. It requires all of the essential data be inputted. And it allows our salesperson to actually call and create a connection and close a sale with that customer.”
Key to the changes and newfound success, she says, has been their intent-filled strategy around what gets added to the website.
“Purposeful pages, events, showing what we’re doing so that industry people can jump on our website and say, ‘Boy, they’re having an event this week. I want to make sure I’m there,’” says Abrego. “Those are all new things for us. And it’s helping us go to that next level as a company.”
And really, Abrego boils it down to taking a consumer approach to their own website. While Arizona Appliance & Home isn’t a traditional retailer, in the sense that they work more closely with the builder community, they found that the same strategies and principles apply to their digital presence.
“I think that in our own consumer life, we’re doing a lot of those same practices just on the other side of the computer,” she says. “We’re engaging in chats. We’re looking for products. We’re doing a lot of searches. I think we’ve all gotten more techie over the last 18 months. But as a whole, that’s how our own shopping experience goes.”