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Nationwide Virtual PrimeTime 2021 Bursts Out Of The Gate, Racing Towards Digital Wins

Going all-in on digital is key to success of independent retailers in 2021

Tom Hickman, Nationwide President and Chief Member Advocate

The first day of Spring Virtual PrimeTime 2021, Nationwide Marketing Group’s premiere semi-annual convention, was full of excitement, learning, market updates and most of all, an echoing call to action for members to fully embrace digital.

“Call me a broken record, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t stress the one thing we know can make or break your success, digital,” said Tom Hickman, Nationwide President and Chief Member Advocate in his State of Nationwide Marketing Group address to the membership. “Just because stores, restaurants, schools and theme parks are becoming safer to visit, it’s unrealistic to assume consumers will suddenly abandon their new found love and proficiency in the online shopping experience. Your group has invested heavily in digital over the past few years, and it’s inarguable that, for those taking advantage, it’s paying off.”

“Retailers must have an e-commerce-enabled website that delivers,” said Jennifer Danko, vice president of technology for Nationwide Marketing Group’s Site on Time in an Update Session. “E-commerce sales are expected to grow to over $834 billion in 2021. With more shoppers looking to buy large-ticket items for their homes online, ensuring that a dealer’s website can provide a streamlined and pleasant shopping experience is crucial to winning their share of this growing revenue stream.”

Despite the in-store restrictions during the pandemic, consumers continued to shop with a particular focus on home improvement projects in 2020, and Nationwide members who embraced digital before or early in the pandemic and partnered with RWS and Site On Time saw on average 27% higher sales than retailers on other platforms.

“The shoppers you want now are purchasing online in ever increasing numbers,” said Lee McDonald, Director of Consumer Electronics, Nationwide Marketing Group in his CE Update address. “Your group has invested in the tools to help you succeed. Take a long look at your digital strategy, talk to our team of experts, dominate your market and capture the online shopper and in-store shopper. You don’t have to choose one or the other, you simply have to deploy the right tools and strategies, and we’re ready to help you do both. ”

In addition to the push for success by embracing digital, Spring 2021 Virtual PrimeTime improved its member interactivity game by switching to a new virtual convention platform. Improved communication functions were a top request from members who attended the first Virtual PrimeTime. From our experiences with attending learning and update sessions and meeting with members and reps throughout the day, we can say Nationwide not only heard their member’s requests, but has brought another level of networking and content delivery to the independent retailer event scene. 2021 is off to a powerful start at Virtual PrimeTime, and we’re excited to dive back into the remaining days of the conference.

The exhibit hall opens Wednesday, March 17, with over 140 vendors bringing the latest from the Appliance, Outdoor, Consumer Electronics, Furniture and Bedding categories to their virtual booths. Additionally, business and financial services and digital and marketing solutions companies will be in attendance on chat, including representatives from Site on Time and RWS.

As always, giving back is happening at Virtual PrimeTime. This PrimeTime, Nationwide members were encouraged to submit their most memorable commercial or company video to be voted for by their fellow members during the three-day show. The winners of “The Most Memorable Video” will be announced during the closing ceremony on Thursday, March 18, and they will be able to select a charity, or charities, of their choice, to which Nationwide will make a donation on their behalf. The first place donation amount is $10,000, with second place receiving $5,000, third place $2,500 and fourth and fifth place $1,000 each.

The first day of the show included PrimeTime Palooza, the exciting deal event where members have access to exclusive vendor pricing for a limited time. A huge success once again, PrimeTime Palooza had a digital first, debuting in a new app-based format for the virtual show to make it even easier for members to claim huge savings. After the Palooza dust settled, Tom Hickman had the chance to spend some quality time with special celebrity guest Dana Carvey, asking the SNL legend questions from members during the Post-Palooza Party. It was a great way to wind down the flurry of events of the first day of Virtual PrimeTime, and we thoroughly enjoyed every session, event and presentation we attended – even more than the first Virtual PrimeTime.

“Focus on the good things ahead,” Hickman encouraged members as he concluded his opening address. “We’re definitely turning the corner. Health experts agree that we’re making forward progress, and we believe there’s great reason for optimism that by August, when we’re scheduled to host this show live from Nashville, Tennessee, that we’ll be in the clear to do so. Believe me, we miss you. I know you miss each other and all the great things that happen when we could be face to face. Start the countdown, because the first round’s on me.”

See also: 2nd Virtual PrimeTime Kicks Off With Focus On Digital, Education And Networking