When the Nationwide Marketing Group’s merger with MEGA Group USA was announced in the fall, the benefits of the new venture were immediately evident through sheer numbers. The combined organization created a single entity that serves more than 5,300 independent retailers with more than 14,000 store fronts that generate an estimated revenue of $18.5 billion. That’s massive buying power.
And even in our sit-down with Nationwide’s Tom Hickman for the Dealerscope Podcast a few weeks ago—before he was made the group’s President—we could start to conceptualize how the combined organization would work to create previously unrealized benefits for the membership.
But it took being here in person in Orlando for the first combined PrimeTime show to understand just how much potential this new-look organization truly has.
The first night’s PrimeTime Palooza event was the perfect example of that. Official spending numbers out of the event might not be available for a little while, but several vendors at the Sunday evening event reported selling out of product and hitting their annual sales goals before the event even wrapped up. During a press conference ahead of the Vendor Show opening on Monday, Nationwide’s management team said it was by far their most successful Palooza event in PrimeTime history—and that’s in large part due to the sheer volume of people and retailers who were able to meet with vendors.
That added membership volume had a clear impact on PrimeTime itself as well. The show floor was buzzing with activity throughout the day on Monday. According to Hickman, Nationwide expects some 4,000 attendees this year, representing roughly 1,000 retailers and 215 vendors—all show records. The showfloor itself is roughly 200,000 square feet and includes an outdoor pavilion with all kinds of outdoor furniture and appliance vendors filling the space.
Learning Academies at PrimeTime, in some cases, were reportedly standing room only as members packed in to learn about all kinds of topics from Nationwide, its vendors, and each, covering topics that included digital marketing, product education, and Google-led sessions through the group’s alliance with the tech giant.
Beyond the positive buzz that came out of PrimeTime itself, the Nationwide-MEGA merger has created an organization that will be able to support members through the power of data unlike ever before. Certain new services announced at PrimeTime—including the investment in Retailer Web Services and their AdRocket platform and their acquisition of Site on Time—build on the work that Nationwide has long made a priority, in finding ways to help members operate more efficiently. And with the support of the revamped leadership team, the group can begin to scale those efforts.
Strong Channel Sales
To no ones surprise, Nationwide as an organization is healthy. During the press conference, the group’s management team reported growth across all different sectors—from membership numbers (not counting the addition of the MEGA Members), to the furniture/bedding business, appliances business, and consumer electronics business. That all follows the narrative that Nationwide has been able to tell throughout the past year, bucking the trend of downward or mostly flat numbers that the rest of the retail industry has experienced.
In particular, the CE business was great, relatively speaking, for Nationwide members. Whereas the national averagewas down 7 percent, according to Nationwide’s Doug Wrede, Nationwide members saw their CE revenue climb 17 percent. Wrede, who head up the CE merchandising for Nationwide, said that the growth was driven mainly by members’ success in premium TV sales. TV ASP for Nationwide members in 2017 was $769 compared to a national average of just $563, and OLED sales accounted for 34 percent of total revenue. Sony, LG, and Samsung sales through Nationwide member retailers grew faster than anywhere else in the industry, according to Wrede.
Appliances experienced similar comparative success. The national average for appliances revenue was up 3.3 to 3.4 percent, whereas Nationwide experienced 8 percent growth in the category, according to Patrick Maloney, who heads up the appliances business for Nationwide.