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ICE, Nationwide Launch Online Programs

SWEDESBORO, N.J. — In Car Experts
(ICE) and Specialty Electronics
Nationwide (SEN) are both introducing
new Web-based programs for independent
dealers.

ICE’s initiative is a “Web Sites for
Members” program designed to help
the buying group’s 12-volt dealers operate
high-quality, easy-maintenance
Web sites at lower costs and with less
time spent on backroom operations.

Web sites and hosting are included
in ICE membership and feature a
complete back-end system that allows
members to upload images, post new
product specials and current events,
and collect email addresses for e-newsletters.
Consumers can also post testimonials
on the sites, and customized
vendor ads automatically rotate on the
home page, informing shoppers of newly
released products and technologies.

Dealers control much of the content,
while ICE will regularly update product
categories, seasonal items, videos and
group specials to relieve members of such
routine maintenance. What’s more, dealers
that already operate a Web site can
add a secondary site that appeals to a
diff erent demographic, the group said.

“It’s 2010 and having a Web site is no
longer optional,” said Rob Elliott, executive
director of the 150-member, $250 million
group. “Not only must the Web site ooze
professionalism, but it must also be kept
current and updated regularly. The more
backroom burdens ICE can take off our
members’ shoulders, the more our members
can focus on maintaining their sales
floor and install-bay excellence.”

ICE member Brian Layton of Sound
FX in Lewes, Del., agreed. “The beauty of
the site” — located at

www.sound-fx.info

— “is much more than it looks. The
ease of use allows us to keep our current
and potential customers up to date
with what we are doing.”

Separately, SEN, the Nationwide
Marketing Group division for specialty
CE dealers, will provide two free Webinars
on the benefits of buying-group
membership, hosted by SEN membership
director Barrie McCorkle.

“Many independent dealers may
not be aware of the advantages a buying
group membership can bring,” observed
Jeannette Howe, executive director
of the $1 billion, 460-plus member
group. “Deep deals with manufacturing
and distribution partners are what
attract dealers to buying groups … We
also offer consumer financing, warranty
programs, Internet marketing services,
education, training, networking and
so much more to help our members compete
effectively against mass merchants.”

The Webinars will be held July 15
and July 29, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
EDT. To pre-register, go to

www.gotomeeting.com

and click on “Join Meeting.”
The Webinar ID for the July 15
event is 593-854-865, and the Webinar
ID for the July 29 event is 160-074-368.

SEN and its parent Nationwide
group will hold their biannual Prime-
Time! buying show and conference
Aug. 15-18 at the Gaylord National in
National Harbor, Md., outside Washington
D.C. For more information,
contact McCorkle at (970) 984-0545
or

bmnationwide@gmail.com

.

In other Nationwide news, RentDirect,
the group’s 350-member rental division,
has added IT services firm Support
Squad to its vendor roster.

According to RentDirect executive
director James MacAlpine, computers
are the fastest-growing segment in the
rent-to-own industry, having eclipsed
appliance sales over the past five years.
“Most rental dealers do not have the
manpower in their stores to handle the
technical service issues needed to support
computer sales,” he noted.

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