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Nationwide Targets Showrooming With New Training Effort

Winston-Salem, N.C. — The Nationwide Marketing Group has introduced a video-based sales training program to help its independent dealer members engage and close today’s web- and mobile-savvy shoppers.

The program, dubbed “Answers: Immersive Buying for the Information Age,” is an 11-module learning system designed to help frontline store managers and sales staff leverage current information technologies rather than be victimized by them, Nationwide said. Answers evolved from the group’s Masters training program, and draws from the real life, day-to-day experiences of Nationwide’s most technology-engaged dealers.

“Today’s shoppers can access just about any information they need, and shop around, while they’re talking to our salespeople,” said Steve Bryant, principal of The Bryant Group, which runs Nationwide’s PrimeMedia multimedia production facilities, and the Answers program’s creator. “Those who are making the most of technology to adapt are enjoying a lot of success, those who aren’t will be left behind.”

Member Mike Whitaker, training and development director for Big Sandy Superstores, said the Answers platform “will give us the ability to provide our customers with a consistent, high-touch and industry leading experience.”

Nationwide president Robert Weisner noted that Answers weaves the group’s myriad digital marketing tools — including digital signage, web videos, infomercials, competitive pricing tools, social media and website marketing strategies — into “an easy-to-use daily game plan for optimizing our effectiveness on the sales floor.”

One of the newest elements of the platform are customized tablet PCs, known as Answers Info-Pads, which provide sales associates with price comparison programs, links to vendors’ and competitors’ sites, video product demonstrations, and a wide range of business tools.  More than 1,000 of the subsidized Toshiba tablets have been ordered, and Nationwide has further enhanced its educational initiatives with a total rebuild of its online learning system into a mobile optimized platform for use with smartphones and tablets.

“Our sales team has already integrated the Info-Pads into their sales routine,” said member Chris Ybarra, general manager for Friendman’s. “The Answers program has helped our sales staff communicate more effectively with the younger demographic of consumers, enabling them to be more comfortable embracing technology on the sales floor and keeping that customer in the store.”

Ybarra added: “We are finally able to fully embrace showrooming instead of letting the customer do it on their own.”

Nationwide, based here, is North America’s largest buying and marketing organization for independent majap, CE and home-furnishings dealers with more than 3,500 members, more than 10,000 storefronts and $14 billion in combined buying power.