Nationwide Plans for GrowthAugust 20, 2012 By Jeff O'Heir
Third and fourth quarter unit sales for Nationwide Marketing group CE and appliance dealers are trending about even with industry-wide numbers, while dollar sales are slightly above industry averages (about 12 percent for both groups), although they are slightly lower than group sales during last year's comparable quarters.
Nationwide executives at their Prime Time! Conference this week in National Harbor, Md., offered several ongoing and new initiatives they hope will increase those numbers during the next year. About 700 CE, appliance and furniture dealers, and about 180 vendors, attended the bi-annual event. Here are some key points executives made during the press conference.
- Canadian Synergies
Nationwide's recent purchase of Cantrex, a Canadian buying group formerly owned by Sears Canada, adds Nikon and Canon, to its U.S. line card, as well as floor covering vendors Metropolitan and United flooring. "With photo and flooring our dealers can enter a whole new world," said Robert Weisner, Nationwide's president and CEO.
Nationwide also plans to leverage Cantrex's centralized purchasing capabilities. In turn Nationwide will offer its full line of marketing services, video production capabilities and digital signage solutions to Cantrex's 900 dealers, who run 1,200 storefronts.
- The Omni-Channel
Nationwide has developed a Web Services division that will bring a number of different online initiatives under one roof, including social networking, reputation management, search engine marketing, SEO, display ad/retargeting, online store directories, videos and product demos, local product search, mobile marketing, web development and e-mail marketing.
During the first half of the year, Nationwide recruited about 200 members and has set a goal of recruiting 500 by the end of the year. The group has brought on about 1,000 new members in the last three years, according to executives. Nationwide typically loses about half of the number it recruits throughout year. To help ease that number, and to usher in the next generation of retailers, Nationwide will increase its succession preparation and training efforts.
More of Nationwide's CE and appliance dealers (about 10 percent in all) are entering the profit-rich bedding category. To make that transition easier, the group will continue to offer its "Bedding Gallery" floor-planning program, which is designed to transform a 2,500 square-foot footprint into a 10,000 square-foot "selling opportunity," said Bill Bazemore, the group's vice president of furniture.