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.
Nationwide Chief Member Advocate Tom Hickman shares a chart showing all of the store openings by Nationwide members this year.
To that end, Nationwide has positioned their digital offerings to help members create a digital presence that acts as both a greeter and knowledgeable sales floor team member. As a greeter, Nationwide has utilized tools like AdRocket to help create targeted impressions advertising programs for their members that has resulted in more than 665 million total impressions across just over 80,500 ads for member stores. But it’s more than just creating brand awareness. Retailers today are concerned (and rightfully so) about how they’re converting on those impressions. And for the 29,000 search ads that the group has served, they’ve generated more than 1 million clicks through to retailers’ websites. And when consumers land on their members’ sites, they’re staying engaged, researching product, looking for directions to the closest storefront—actual indicators that they’re interested in making a purchase.
Connected Home’s Growth
Not long ago, we highlighted the launch of the Connected Home Division within Nationwide Marketing Group. A logical next step for the group, the Connected Home Division will have something of a coming out party at PrimeTime this week in New Orleans.
For the past few years, Nationwide has done a more than serviceable job presenting the idea of the connected home to its members via a set-aside pavilion on the PrimeTime show floor. With the new dedicated Connected Home Division, though, those efforts get put on steroids.
Connected Home sales have grown 52 percent annually and will reach $490 billion by the end of 2019, across the industry. That presents a massive opportunity for the consumer tech retailer. And to help educate them on the connected home—and give them a way to present those products effectively—Nationwide will lean on this new division. As Nationwide explained it during the opening keynote, more than half of consumers are scared to install connected home products. However, once they make that initial connected device purchase, 42 percent of consumers come back to add on to their smart home.
To really give their members the full picture of what a truly connected home looks like—from top to bottom—Nationwide will have a tiny smart home here on the show floor at PrimeTime. The fully-decked-out mobile home features a full kitchen, living room, and bathroom, all of which are voice activated and built out with the latest products in their respective categories.
The connected home story, when presented properly, can provide retailers with the perfect story to tell clients about their still-growing space. Retailers just need a little help themselves understanding how best to tell that story, and Nationwide has created an initiative that will help its members do just that.