For the past few years, Nationwide Marketing Group President and Chief Member Advocate Tom Hickman has used his time during the opening keynote of the PrimeTime meeting to shout from the mountaintops about the latest initiatives, or partnerships, or business service offerings available to members. While there was still some of that during Sunday morning’s PrimeTime opening keynote, Hickman laid the groundwork for the direction of this PrimeTime right at the outset: This was going to be a discussion about results.
A lot of great numbers were shared during the opening presentation, which we’ll get into in a minute. But perhaps the most impressive figure is just how many stores Nationwide members have opened. The wider retail industry has struggled greatly in 2019. A recent Coresight Research report showed that 7,567 stores have closed since the start of 2019. And Coresight suggests that that number could rise to 12,000 by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Nationwide Marketing Group members, which represent some 14,000 storefronts, have added another 300 stores throughout the country this year. That’s not a massive number in the grand scheme of the retail industry, but for a group of independently owned and operated businesses, it’s certainly worth noting.
Moving over to the digital side of things, Nationwide brought out some members of the digital team to go over the impact services like Site on Time, AdRocket, and Retailer Web Services has had on members’ businesses. The drive for investing in these digital services has a lot to do with the changing nature of the consumer shopping cycle. It’s no shock that online retailing has had a major impact on the way customers shop today. While they may still ultimately come into the brick and mortar store to make their major appliance or other consumer tech purchase, they’re doing so later on in the buying cycle—and they’re armed with far more information than they ever have been. In fact, 83 percent of customers who visited a store in the past week started their shopping journey online.