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Nationwide: Info-Pad A Success; Rollout Continues

DALLAS — Nationwide Marketing Group’s Info-Pad initiative, which provides major appliance dealers with tablets to sell and demonstrate white goods on the sales floor, has gone very well and is poised to be rolled out to electronics dealers soon.

“We had 1,600 [in operation] before the show,” said Jeff Knock, appliances senior VP, “and since our launch in March we have a history, and it is a good one. One 14-unit member shut down their store for training [at Nationwide headquarters]. Consumer and salesperson interaction has improved.”

He added, “We have empowered our sales people and the [member] commitment is increasing. Vendors are providing new product pages and that helps sales. We are communicating with our customers in a way they feel comfortable.”

Knock said, “We are focused on our members so they can upgrade their salespeople’s skills. [Info-Pad] brings new people in, next generation, to grab market share as it becomes available.”

iPads or any other format tablets that members are comfortable with can be used, Nationwide said.

“We are going back to square one with the customer and empowering salespeople to close sales. Our vendors love this. This is a great sales tool for us.”

Knock told TWICE, “For us this is a no-brainer to heighten the [in-store] experience. The tablet gives the salesperson instant credibility.”

When asked why appliances, not CE, was the first category used to experiment with Info-Pad, Knock said, “Today much of the pre-purchase information is done by consumers online. Our salespeople on the floor must be on the same level with them. They can show them the unit they like, then go on the tablet to show alternatives in the same feature and price range.”

Les Kirk, COO, said Nationwide has been training “60 to 70 salespeople at a time” at its Winston-Salem, N.C., headquarters on Info-Pad.

As the program rolled out to more electronics-centered members, Doug Schatz, electronics merchandising VP, said it has been a great help in a different way.

“A lot of our members were in the computer market and didn’t have a comfort level” selling tablets. But as more independents are using tablets to sell other products every day “they see how easy it is, they become comfortable and say, ‘Why aren’t we selling this stuff?’ ”

Adding tablets to members’ merchandise mix will help with drawing younger consumers to electronics/appliance stores, while the Info-Pad helps close sales, Schatz said.