For the first time ever, Nationwide Marketing Group (NMG) hosted PrimeTime in Phoenix, AZ, and it turned out to be a memorable, energizing experience for all. TWICE was able to attend and take part in the lively event, and we were glad to see NMG members picking up right where they left off, rekindling friendships, networking and enjoying all the benefits of an in-person event.
“There was a lot of camaraderie, a lot of energy here in Phoenix. It’s a pretty good time to be an independent retailer right now,” said Nationwide President and Chief Member Advocate Tom Hickman. “Business is brisk, though it’s not without its challenges. But we spent these past few days helping our members address those challenges, whether that’s supply chain, pricing or finding and keeping talent. From the expo to the education, PrimeTime provided the answers to the questions our members were asking.”
TWICE agrees with Hickman, it is a “pretty good time to be an independent retailer right now”. Although not without its challenges, the past few years have seen incredible growth in the independent retail industry as consumers have turned even more to their local retailers to find in-stock appliances, furniture and electronics to improve their homes – with a welcome surge of consumers upgrading to once seemingly out of reach luxury offerings.
The Shopper Journey
With an emphasis on understanding the changes in consumer behavior and purchasing habits, Nationwide members were able to “Experience the Journey ” of their customers through several spotlight sessions focused specifically on succeeding at various points of the ever-evolving customer decision journey.
Never shy about providing world-class education, Nationwide Learning Academy offered more than a dozen tracks during the show that allowed members to dive deeper into courses on the in-store experience, improving their website experience, human resources and team building, data and analytics, financial and business services and more. The sessions TWICE sat in on were packed full of timely information and action items members could take and implement in their businesses and personal lives as well.
“The connections made in Phoenix, whether in the classroom, on the show floor or in the hallways, were among the most meaningful we’ve seen at PrimeTime,” said Melissa Stenson, vice president of member experience. “Our members were craving the opportunity to get in front of our vendor partners and hear and learn from one another. Between the more than 100 Nationwide Learning Academy sessions, dozens of product training sessions and the member-led roundtables, PrimeTime in Phoenix provided every opportunity imaginable to help our members up their game.”
With so many amazing educational opportunities for members at PrimeTime, it would be impossible to attend them all. Fortunately, Nationwide opened Virtual PrimeTime in late February on the PrimeTime website. This gives dealers who attended the show the opportunity to rewatch some of the best education that was offered, while allowing those dealers who were unable to make the trip to receive just a taste of what’s offered in person. TWICE highly recommends watching the inspirational keynote from blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer. His insights into pressing forward through challenges will leave a lasting impression.
New Additions and Old Friends
Longstanding PrimeTime essentials returned in Phoenix, including Mattress University, Furniture Forum and other Member 2 Member roundtables. Those sessions presented impactful presentations and gave dealers the opportunity to share best practices and more with their peers. This year, Luxury University moved to an in-booth experience with luxury appliance vendors Thermador and Monogram displaying innovative ways to hold in-store events that could attract and educate high-touch clientele.
PrimeTime also featured a number of product launches and new program announcements, most notably the luxury appliance vendor debuts of Thermador and Dacor, the introduction of Serta Simmons Bedding’s Beautyrest Black collection, along with Tempur + Sealy showcasing its new private-label Encore lineup that’s exclusive to Nationwide mattress retailers.
Taking advantage of Phoenix’s mild winter temperatures and cloudless blue skies, Nationwide members had the opportunity to experience the PrimeTime Backyard, an area cordoned off in front of the convention center that provided outdoor vendors with the chance to hit nearly every sense. Nationwide members were able to see grills, smokers and other outdoor products in use while relaxing with some yard games and sampling grilled and smoked meats and other treats. PrimeTime Expo also featured several other experiential expo areas and events that could easily be replicated in an in-store environment.
Despite ongoing challenges with inventory, vendor partners showed a tremendous amount of support for Nationwide’s network of independent retailers, bringing plenty of product to Phoenix. During the 90-minute Palooza buying frenzy, retailers placed over $4.15 million in orders through the Palooza app — up over 67% from Nationwide’s August 2021 PrimeTime in Nashville.
“We’re starting to see the pipeline of product open back up, and that resulted in a tremendous show for our vendor partners and members,” Hickman said. “We had some vendor partners launch new brands, while others got to experience the energy of a PrimeTime for the first time. And everything we’re hearing from our vendor partners is that they understand the opportunity that’s in front of them in working with our channel and with our network of independent retailers.”
Giving Back, Always
Always a highlight of any PrimeTime, Nationwide members took time from their busy show schedules to don hair nets, aprons and gloves to live their core value of giving back to the community. This PrimeTime saw an incredible and inspiring milestone in the group’s meal packing efforts as Nationwide and No Child Hungry crossed the 1.5 million meals packed threshold at the show. All meals packed in Phoenix stayed in the local community and were distributed to families in need. Additionally, an auction – complete with dunk tank! – was held during the welcome event on Saturday. NMG reported over $10,000 was raised by members for No Child Hungry.
On the last day of the show, TWICE was able to witness another giveback initiative being born as Nationwide Marketing Group announced a partnership with Tempur+Sealy International and Next Level Distribution to collaborate efforts throughout the year to raise money and awareness for Autism Speaks. TWICE has no doubt amazing things will happen this year with Autism Speaks, and it will be exciting to see all the good this partnership will do in the lives of Nationwide members, their families and even in their businesses as they expand their giveback efforts.
Having taken their first step in 2022 to “Experience the Journey”, Nationwide Marketing Group now turns its attention toward the 59th edition of PrimeTime, which will take place in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, August 13-16. If the success, energy and opportunities experienced in Phoenix are an indicator of what Nationwide has in store for its members in 2022 and beyond, it won’t just be a “pretty good time to be an independent retailer”, it will be an incredible time.
Visit www.nationwideprimetime.com/ for more information and to sign up and access Virtual PrimeTime videos.
See also: Nationwide Marketing Group Partners With Thermador To Expand Luxury Portfolio
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