Nationwide Gains CE Share With Dual Market Strategy

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— Nationwide Marketing Group has been able to beat industry performances in CE this year by selling 3D TV and other upscale products, and by offering low-end deals to get customers into their stores.

That’s what Mike Decker, electronics merchandising senior VP, told TWICE during the group’s PrimeTime! Show at the Gaylord National Resort, here.

In consumer electronics, which is 25 percent of Nationwide’s projected $11 billion in annual sales, Decker said that while the industry may be up 3 to 5 percent in revenue, Nationwide is up 10 to 15 percent.

What is driving the group’s business is “3D TV, IPTV and LED TV sales” as well as low-end deals and packages to drive traffic into stores, Decker said.

In 3D TV, Decker said that while independents complained 3D TV got the first shot with national accounts, “Since Samsung rolled it out first we planned with [distributor] SED to sell it the same time they did. What we learned was that consumers have a lot of questions on glasses, the different formats of glasses, and content. If you don’t sell DirecTV with dedicated 3D channels, you should, and there is more and more available 3D content if you sell 3D Blu-ray decks.”

In the overall TV market, Decker said for Nationwide, LED, IPTV and 3D are all important, with IPTV having “twice the growth of last year.”

And as for plasma TV, the format has made a significant comeback. He noted, “Samsung has done everything to make us a leading marketer in plasma and given us great deals and features. Plasma is a good place for higher [margins]. In the past three years we have let the national accounts fight about LCD TVs, but plasma delivers the picture performance, improved energy use for consumers.”

Decker also related that in the spring, when consumers were looking from 40- to 42-inch 720p HDTVs, “they were going to big-box retailers, especially from top-tier brands. Only recently supply started to free up.”

Nationwide turned to Funai — with its Sylvania, Maganvox and Philips brands — and Haier, both here at the show, for that product that enabled them to “provide the right product and stay in the hunt, at the right cost.”

Speaking of Nationwide’s two biggest competitors, Best Buy and Walmart, Decker said its members “shop there and see how we can compete against them. One of our best attributes is implementation. [Nationwide members] can embrace the benefits on how to sell 3DTV glasses and video content … explain IPTV.”

And Nationwide is not giving up the low end to national chains.

Ed Kelly, president, said in a press briefing that if there are opportunity buys, “We have to be on our toes and take advantage of that. Buy and sell it fast. We can move faster than the big box retailers in that respect.”

At that same briefing during the show, Robert Weisner, executive VP/director, added, “We have to be in the ballgame, if it means selling 32-inch TVs at promotional prices that is a small price to pay to get people in the door. Independent retailers are strong enough to help the consumer see the value of the sale … sell a ‘basket’ of goods, and close the sales.”

Decker quipped that Black Friday “will begin on Oct. 31, and we will be ready.”

For instance, Decker said, Nationwide will be offering a 17-inch LCD/DVD combo from an unnamed vendor at less than $150. Also, “LG has a sub-$300 30-inch LCD [and] there will be a Haier 32-inch LCD at $300,” among other deals.

Nationwide will also have fall and Christmas specials of less than $100 with help from Almo that will consist of “MP3 players, camcorders, digital cameras, low-end LCD TVs … packages our members can buy multiple times,” Decker said.

But not everything is about the lowestcost deal. At the show Nationwide was offering the Xstream HD satellite service that provides “thousands of hours of 1080p content,” Decker said. “Its receiver provides 7.1 Dolby wirelessly, and its retail launch is here.”


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