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Nationwide Sports Service & Support

Today’s electronics/appliance buying groups are more than just about the lowest price, or as president/director Ed Kelly put it, “It’s not just about the best price anymore, but how you sell it.”

As its full name indicates, the Nationwide Marketing Group (see p. 1) is “a marketing organization. We have to help our members get foot traffic, help them with their marketing, advertising and improve their branding,” Kelly added.

Or, as executive VP/director Robert Weisner explained, “Nationwide will help you buy products for as good a price or better than any other group, but we have to deliver the tools to sell your products. If you buy $5 less you won’t sell any more [units] if you don’t have the tools to sell at the highest margin.”

For instance, director Les Kirk said group members have promotions available “300 of 365 days a year, maybe not on all products, but some of them. Our members are looking for long-term promotions and foot traffic.”

Nationwide has in place a variety of other new and existing programs to provide member support and training:

• Its Web site, which is being used by 80 percent of the group’s members, is “our primary communications vehicle now. It is the tool. The site is available 24/7 and updated regularly,” Kelly said. A new extranet part of the site can be accessed by vendors to post new product information, promotions and other info.

• Nationwide’s training program has taken it into video production, with the operation going to manufacturers and taping “their best presenters. We take the video back to our Atlanta studio,” Kelly said, re-shoot them with “professional actors and do them as sitcoms. We now have 150 streaming videos [on the Web site] on any brand you can imagine.” The videos include Spanish subtitles.

• TV commercial production is also part of the operation. Nationwide creates four major ads per year, with the only cost to the retailer being “putting their logo” in the ad. Kelly noted Nationwide’s first commercial in high definition was previewed to members at the show.