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Nationwide Upbeat About Majap Business


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 the group’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 understands
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 ‘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 is 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 is sensitive to local markets.

Weinberg said Nationwide provides the widest number
of “consumer rebates, special suites of products, instore
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, historically 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.”