DALLAS — With the wind at its back from a strong fourth quarter, the Nationwide Marketing Group is moving quickly to drive critical new initiatives through its dealer ranks.
The programs, which include member-specific strategies to grow local market share, and a centralized web portal for placing orders with multiple distributors, were introduced here last week at the group’s biannual PrimeTime meeting and buying show.
Chief among the new initiatives is the member market-share program. Dubbed Prepare For Share, it blends proprietary sales data with information from The NPD Group, AHAM and other sources to pinpoint growth opportunities for individual dealers within their local markets.
Dealers are then presented with a detailed strategic blueprint that directs them to specific sales, training, merchandising or marketing assets within the Nationwide arsenal.
Executive VP Jeff Knock said current disruptions in the retail marketplace, including RadioShack’s bankruptcy and store closings and sales declines at Sears, are creating “a perfect storm of opportunity” for independent dealers to take share. Graphically showing members the market share that’s in play within their own trading areas will hopefully serve as a wake-up call, as the window of opportunity is finite, he said.
Meanwhile, one of the newest assets in Nationwide’s toolchest is eXchange, a distributor buying portal located on the group’s dealer intranet site. A year in the making, the platform provides easy access to best-selling SKUs from nearly 100 top CE brands, as offered through seven distributor partners including AVAD, CED, Capitol, D&H, DSI Systems and Petra.
The program, developed by distribution logistics senior VP Dean Sottile, will eventually expand to about a dozen distributors, with the goal of adding majaps and possibly furniture to the mix, he said. (See interview at TWICE.com/video.)
Tom Hickman, electronics senior VP, said the program will also help core TV and appliance dealers tap into the burgeoning connected-home market. The necessary skill sets are a natural for members of Specialty Electronics Nationwide (SEN), the group’s custominstall chapter, and Hickman plans to leverage their ex-pertise in easing others into the category. (See story, below).
Another major CE driver is premium TV, with member sales of OLED and 4K UHD propelling the group’s electronics business 16 percent ahead of the industry last year. “It’s a great time to be in the TV business, which is right in our wheelhouse,” Hickman said.
Hickman is also squarely taking aim at the audio business, including separates, premium soundbars and distributed audio, and is anticipating added sales oomph as traditional video vendors enter the category. (See interview at TWICE.com/video.)
On the white-goods front, appliances senior VP Patrick Maloney said the group is looking to capture a massive replacement cycle, as the 47 million appliances purchased in 2005 now turn 10. To that end, year-round marketing and merchandising plans have been developed to re-introduce majap customers to the category by highlighting the many enhancements and features that are now available since their last purchase.
The group also deepened its majap bench with the addition of Circuit City and Ultimate Electronics veteran Derek Mattila as appliances director.
Elsewhere, Nationwide’s Southwest chapter has launched a bilingual initiative that makes all group marketing materials, signage and advertising available in Spanish. The goal, chapter CEO Dennis Willich told TWICE, is to support current — and attract new — Hispanic dealers and customers.
The program is being expanded group-wide, Weisner said.
During a press briefing, president/chief operating officer Dave Bilas said last week’s PrimeTime show drew a record 5,000-plus attendees, perhaps in response to the market-share call-to-arms. He noted that the $15 billion dealer group is also gaining new membership, largely from the furniture channel, and that its appliance, CE, furniture/bedding and Canadian businesses continue to outpace the industry in sales growth.
Looking ahead, Bilas said the new group initiatives combined with a favorable macroeconomic backdrop bode well for Nationwide’s independent dealers in 2015 and beyond.
“The retail landscape is changing radically,” he said, “and our gang is ready to grab our share.”