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Nationwide Invests in Industry Leading Digital Platform and Announces New President at PRIMETIME  
Group Invests in Retailer Web Services and Tom Hickman Tapped as New President

 

Winston-Salem, NC, Feb. 24, 2018 – Nationwide Marketing Group, as part of a larger effort to deliver an end-to-end Digital Marketing Platform for independent retailers, has announced its investment in long-time partner Retailer Web Services (RWS).  In addition to enhancing members’ website services, this investment accelerates the release of AdRocketTM, a new automated digital marketing solution developed by RWS.

According to Nationwide executive Sean Crane, “As Digital Marketing began overtaking other media, our members recognized its importance and began asking for support in navigating this new and sometimes confusing opportunity.  As a result, Nationwide began building a vertically integrated platform to provide members with unique marketing content, best-in-class websites, advanced digital marketing technologies and complete analytics on effectiveness through online and in-store sales.  It was a major undertaking, but with this investment, our members now have access to the most comprehensive digital solution ever made available to independent dealers. All of this serves as a catalyst to enhance Nationwide’s industry leading buying, marketing and business services.”

At this PRIMETIME member conference, Nationwide is also unveiling the next phase in its long-term succession strategy.  Dave Bilas, the group’s Chairman, has announced the appointment of Nationwide’s EVP of Merchandising Tom Hickman to the position of President of Nationwide Marketing Group. As part of this plan, Mr. Bilas is transitioning to an advisor to senior management.  According to Bilas, “Over the last couple of decades, Nationwide has successfully transitioned leadership a number of times.  From Lee Guttman, to Ed Kelly, to Robert Weisner and Les Kirk, and then to me.  Each leadership change has built upon the last. So, when I brought Tom and several other key team members in 6 years ago, it was with this next phase in mind. This leadership change positions Nationwide for this new era of retail and I look forward to my new advisor role.”  Robert Weisner, a Board member, commented, “At Nationwide, our leadership structure is results-oriented, team-based and member-focused.  Having the industry experience and capabilities of industry veterans Jeff Knock, Frank Sandtner, Rick Bellows, Patrick Maloney and Jerry Honea on the executive team is testament to the long-term vision of Dave Bilas.” 

Tom Hickman grew up in an independent, multi-store, family-owned appliance and electronics retail company known as Harbour Appliance & TV.  He then joined the large independent, BrandsMart U.S.A., progressing from commissioned salesperson to sales management.  Before joining Nationwide as SVP of Electronics in 2012, Hickman had spent more than 16 years with Toshiba culminating in him leading the U.S. Retail team for all business units.  Hickman stated, “I’ve observed an amazing six years of growth for Nationwide’s members, vendors and team. As our members’ sales growth continued to outpace national chains and other independents, a merger with MEGA Group USA increased membership by more than 50%. This unprecedented independent scale made it possible for the group to acquire custom website developer Site on Time in late 2017, and now to announce our investment in RWS and their portfolio of Digital Marketing technologies.”

AdRocketTM, the new digital marketing solution from RWS, will expand and integrate with the market-leading product offerings RWS already provides to over 2,000 independent retailers of appliances, furniture and mattresses, including RetailDeck®, an app that helps retailers build customer relationships and drive sales at the store level; WebFronts®, a product-rich, mobile-friendly and secure eCommerce website offering; and WebFronts® Review™, an online reputation management solution. 

“There are dozens of companies that run digital ads today, but the quality, execution and reporting vary so dramatically it can seem like the Wild West out there,” said Jennie Gilbert, RWS COO. “With RWS’s experience building software that automates  promotions across a network of hundreds of retailer websites, coupled with Nationwide’s expertise in vendor promotions and retail analytics through Point of Sale, we are uniquely positioned to buy and execute more effective digital campaigns for our retailer customers.”

This RWS investment complements those in custom website design firm Site on Time and the group’s long-time Nationwide PrimeMedia production studios, producing the industries’ richest digital video content. Combined, they provide a seamless integration of online content, distribution, digital marketing and analytics for Nationwide’s 5,300 independent member companies.

Nationwide’s Hickman added, “With over 90% of shoppers in our members’ categories researching online to select a store, our members must have the best tools available to level the playing field. After all, our members collectively have more stores, more brands, stronger local relationships and far better service than any of the big box stores and Amazon.  Nationwide’s recent merger with MEGA Group U.S.A. has provided independents with the scale necessary to invest in a digital platform that allows us to use this unmatched capability to drive awareness, traffic and volume to the independent channel.”

Thousands of Nationwide members, vendors and staff converge in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms Resort for the group’s PRIMETIME member conference and buying show Feb. 25, through Mar. 1, 2018 to engage in the channel’s most comprehensive buying, networking, educational experience.  Nationwide Marketing Group is North America’s largest independent appliance, electronics, furniture, bedding and outdoor buying, marketing and business services group.  With some 5,300 members, operating approximately 14,000 stores who generate an estimated $18.5 billion in sales, Nationwide has more buying power than all competing groups combined.  If you’re not currently a member of Nationwide marketing group you’re invited to contact info@nationwidegroup.org or call 336-722-4681.

Nationwide Investment in Retailer Web Services: Questions & Answers