The first-ever Nationwide Marketing Group (NMG) Virtual PrimeTime kicked off strong on the morning of October 27, beginning with president and chief member advocate, Tom Hickman welcoming a record number of registered members to the three-day conference.
“The last eight months have been a whirlwind of disruption. COVID has changed the way we do everything, especially the way we buy and sell. But you haven’t just muddled through the upheaval. Many of you have fundamentally changed the face of American retail,” said Hickman in his opening comments. “Whether it’s web chat, video chat, shopping carts, contactless payment, curbside pickup―or even shop by appointment, major hurdles have been thrown your way and so many of you have turned those challenges into opportunities for your businesses.”
Moving swiftly to meet the needs of its members, NMG first rescheduled its in-person PrimeTime in Las Vegas to October, then made the leap to an all-virtual event as pandemic and travel restrictions remained in place. Despite not being able to gather together in-person, show registration the week before Virtual PrimeTime was more than double the size of Nationwide’s highest-attended event, an extremely encouraging indicator.
I know you’re tired of the phrase “new normal”, Hickman continued, “but that’s what we’re building. And it’s to your advantage. Change fuels independent retailers. When changes happen rapidly—as they have this year—you can win, because the big box stores simply can’t keep up.”
In addition to Hickman’s opening remarks, industry updates from NMG’s Doug Wrede (Home Appliance), Jeff Rose (Furniture & Bedding) and Lee McDonald (Consumer Electronics) highlighted the group’s consistent and remarkable gains in each market and recognized the amazing efforts and hustle by Nationwide members despite the multitude of challenges they are experiencing from the pandemic economic climate.
“We know that while the overall health of the channel is strong, some of you are still struggling, and we’re here to help,” said Hickman. “Don’t be discouraged if wins are eluding you. There are unique geographical and market challenges, and they’re all in play here…I want you to know that none of you are alone. We’re all having to innovate, explore new paths to success, and solve retail problems that have never been faced before. I said it in Houston, and I’ll keep saying it. Reach out to each other, and reach out to us…Together, we’ll find solutions”
Dean Sottile (NMG), Jennifer Danko (Site on Time) and Genna Majuta (RWS) also shared insights into the unprecedented historical shift into digital business during the opening presentations, highlighting the need for expanded digital offerings, whether through chat, store websites or social media, and how Site on Time and RWS can help NMG members accomplish their digital goals.
Continuing the cornerstone tradition of giving back with No Child Hungry, Nationwide members will still have an opportunity to make a contribution during Virtual PrimeTime. Additionally, Nationwide has pledged to donate one meal for every booth visit made by a member during the second day of the Expo (Thursday, Oct. 29) with help from local volunteers in Nevada to package the meals.
Additionally, Hickman reminded members of the incredible opportunity to win a $100,000 store makeover sponsored by Nationwide Marketing Group and 12 of its largest vendor partners. Entry to win the store makeover will be done over the course of Virtual PrimeTime with members earning points by attending Nationwide Learning Academy sessions, visiting vendors’ booths, virtually checking into networking social hours, and more. Once a member passes the designated point threshold, they’ll automatically be entered into the drawing for the $100,000 giveaway. The winner will be announced on November 5.
“I also want to say thank you,” said Hickman in closing. “It may feel at times like the hard work you’ve done this year has gone unnoticed, but it wasn’t unnoticed by the countless people in your communities that you served. From helping keep their homes running with the right appliances and rest better with the right mattress, to giving them new furniture options to create the new home where so many work and live in the same space―let’s not forget providing the right technology so they could have some entertainment during the long days and weeks at home―you were still there, you were still servicing, still delivering, and still supporting your communities. You kept showing up and kept pushing forward. It’s what’s so special about the independents and it can never be said enough, so I’ll say it again. Thank you.”