Orlando, Fla. - While the major appliance market is still challenged, Nationwide Marketing Group executives said that trends and efforts by the group are providing its members with an edge.
TWICE interviewed both Jeff Knock, appliance marketing senior VP, and Rick Weinberg, appliance merchandising senior VP, during last week's PrimeTime! convention, here.
While Weinberg said majap "margin levels in the past year have not led to a healthy environment for our members [in appliances]," Knock commented, "We are pleased with some of the price increases we are seeing and ... encouraged that [the market] will allow them to happen."
Weinberg noted that Nationwide "absolutely understand and agrees with the vendor community to need to increase their pricing. We applaud them, if they do it across the board and fairly."
When asked if suppliers are offering more derivative lines, Knock said, "We have quite a few ... exclusive models that are not only good to â€˜escape to' [for profit]. They have good money on them and we applaud our vendors for it."
Nationwide also has instituted programs to sell more exclusive, profit-oriented products, called, "Draw, Escape, Sell," according to Knock.
"We wanted to make this as simple as possible for our members to sell major appliances," Knock said, and noted that the program includes full-line vendors and three SKUs per category per brand, which "brings simplification to merchandising and assortment. Members can offer dozens of products compared to thousands of SKUs, and the products are profitable. There are a high level of Nationwide exclusives" in the program and dealers are focused on fewer SKUs.
Knock said that the program can be a "huge win" since it is focused on "well-embraced models. The big picture is that 20 percent of the SKUs will do 80 percent of the business. This is a collaborative effort between [Nationwide dealers] and our vendor partners."
Knock noted that Nationwide is a "marketing group first and foremost" and that "our game is to sell our goods through." He acknowledged that "70 percent [of majaps] is a replacement business where the consumer is under duress. Thirty percent is done around the holidays, so it keeps us busy in the promotional game."
Weinberg noted that Nationwide is "very collaborative with dealers, our vendors ... and we watch the seasons of the calendar, look for innovative products, new vendor launches" and being sensitive to local markets.
Weinberg said Nationwide provides the widest number of "consumer rebates, special suites of products, in-store signage ... all tools for in-store point of purchase."
And as for new media, Weinberg noted, "While many members are in the early stages of social media, many more are very sophisticated in social-media marketing, between Facebook, Twitter and email marketing," which is part of many Nationwide members' majap sales and marketing plans.
Online sales by vendors direct to consumers was "one of the biggest topics at the show" on the part of members, but Weinberg said that Nationwide's full-line suppliers MAP policies could include their own websites since they realize "the value of the product at retail has a lot of brand equity and like retailers they need to increase profits.
And as for Sears, traditionally the No. 1 major appliance retailer in the U.S., and its recent store closings, Knock said, "Sears' consumer base is used to being served ... like our members serve our customers. That is really great news for members and our vendors. Members can serve their consumers and provide the right mix of products and service. We don't enjoy the demise of anyone, but [Nationwide] can provide good options for vendors and our members."