Nationwide Marketing Group has successfully completed its second-ever Virtual PrimeTime for its extensive network of independent retailers and home appliance, consumer electronics, outdoor, furniture, bedding and business services vendors. The event featured more than 100 hours of educational sessions, highlighted by the buying group’s big announcement of its affiliation with CEDIA for training. During the three-day all-digital event, more than 2,500 attendees logged into the Virtual PrimeTime platform, including more than 1,400 representatives from over 1,100 member companies.
Virtual PrimeTime ran from March 16-18 and focused on preparing its members for the economic momentum that is building throughout the country. Home improvement and renovation projects are at an all-time high, and single-family housing starts are expected to pass 1.1 million for the first time in more than a decade. In addition, another round of U.S. government stimulus is starting to appear in people’s bank accounts.
In order for retailers to capitalize on these opportunities, though, they need to be ready to meet their customers where they almost always start their shopping journey — online. And that’s exactly where Nationwide Marketing Group placed the emphasis for this Virtual PrimeTime, on giving members all the tools and education they need to improve their digital game.
“Nationwide members who embraced digital before or early in the pandemic saw unprecedented growth in 2020,” explains Nationwide President and Chief Member Advocate Tom Hickman. “And members who partnered with Retailer Web Services (RWS) and Site on Time saw, on average, 27% higher sales than retailers on other platforms. That’s simple, transparent data. We’ve invested heavily in digital over the past few years, and it’s inarguable that, for those who are taking advantage, it’s paying off.”
Among the presentations at Virtual PrimeTime, were Google, which shared the latest digital shopping trends and what they mean for retailers in the months ahead. Site on Time and RWS led a session on the accelerated adaptation of all things digital and easy ways to capitalize on this new technology. Nationwide’s PriMetrix suite of tools was also on display, including the Assortment Rationalization Tool and Market reports.
“Retailers must have an e-commerce-enabled website that delivers,” adds Jennifer Danko, vice president of technology for Nationwide Marketing Group’s Site on Time. “E-commerce sales are expected to grow to over $834 billion in 2021. With more shoppers looking to buy large-ticket items for their homes online, ensuring that a dealer’s website can provide a streamlined and pleasant shopping experience is crucial to winning their share of this growing revenue stream.”
Virtual PrimeTime Education
In addition to the focus on digital, Virtual PrimeTime featured more than 100 hours of educational content across dozens of business tracks, including social media, business services, leadership, training and education, marketing, emerging opportunities and more. Other key learning opportunities included:
- Home appliance, furniture and bedding, and consumer electronics merchandising sessions
- A WIN: Women in Nationwide session featuring Female Factor CEO Bridget Brennan
- An economic outlook presentation by Wells Fargo
- Renowned speaker and trend forecaster Michael McQueen on building post-crisis momentum as a business, sponsored by Synchrony
- A closer look at the launch of Nationwide’s new Service Leaders Network
To maximize the impact of the educational content, Nationwide will allow members to access nearly all sessions for up to a month after the show closes.
Virtual PrimeTime also featured plenty of buying opportunities for attendees. PrimeTime Palooza made its return in a new app-based format for the virtual show. And nearly 1,400 representatives from across the vendor partner community were on hand to provide buying support to dealers during expo hours.
For networking opportunities at Virtual PrimeTime. Nationwide hosted a Post-Palooza Party with special celebrity guest Dana Carvey and a St. Patrick’s Day Social Hour. And the show closed with a special session filled with giveaways, prizes and awards, including Nationwide’s $100,000 giveaway, which will be shared by 20 lucky members.