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Nationwide Marketing Group, the $11 billion services organization for independent dealers, said its members are continuing to find new ways to gain market share despite the challenges reported by big box retailers in the major appliance industry.
Those efforts to "sell the experience" to the consumer, which were the focus of discussions led by Nationwide's merchandising and marketing teams during the group's summer PrimeTime! convention, held here at the Venetian Hotel last month, has helped members to collectively increase market share by upward of 6 points during the first half of the year.
"Just like our consumer electronics business, we continue to gain share in the appliance market," said Adam Thomas, Nationwide's white goods marketing VP. "While reports show that the appliance industry is down roughly 5 percent [in sales], we're pleased to announce that Nationwide members are still ahead." The group reported a 1-percent increase in majap volume for the first six months of the year.
Thomas said group members have managed to maintain their marketplace lead by finding new ways to engage consumers and allow them to "experience" major appliance products on the store floor. The experiential shopping experience includes such elements as cooking classes and lifestyle displays.
To that end, "Dealers were just as involved in the educational side of the show as in the buying opportunities," he said.
Thomas added that "Members are also taking advantage of our subsidized marketing and advertising campaigns more than ever before," he said. "We had a 25 percent increase in participation during the first quarter of the year."
In terms of sector momentum, the group reported strong growth within the laundry category, particularly in front-load and high-efficiency washers and driers. Not surprisingly, given their assisted selling floors, mMember dealers continue to gain momentum within the mass premium to premium segments, Nationwide said.
Highlights of the convention included the debut of a new line from Electrolux, making PrimeTime! the first buying show where orders could be placed. Nationwide also announced several new initiatives in the member services arena at the show, including:
Introduced new appliance merchandising systems developed by Nationwide Design Center, which provides custom store fixtures and displays;
Launched its ImagiNationwide HD Network and MemberNet Rebate Center;
Completed the expansion of its PrimeMedia! Multi-Media Communications Center;
Redesigned its MemberNet EZ Ship and Return logistics program, managed by Salem Logistics, which now includes a full line of shipping and warehousing services.
The next PrimeTime! convention will be held March 2-5, 2008 at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel in Dallas. For more information go to nationwideprimetime.com, or call (336) 722-4681.