The announcement of Nationwide Marketing Group’s partnership with Thermador last week at PrimeTime solidified the commitment made by the CE, furniture, and appliance buying group to put a focus on luxury appliances. “Luxury appliances have a longer sales cycle and a very different customer journey,” explained John O’Halloran, Senior Merchant, Luxury Appliances, at Nationwide Marketing Group. “There is more research on the part of the consumer, more people involved in the decision making, and obviously more money.”
Nationwide Learning Academy now offers Luxury University which was created to help educate independent retailers on how to navigate the different sales cycles for luxury appliances. The Luxury University includes in-person events for appliance retailers to feel comfortable in the space, learn more about the products, and enjoy a bit of the luxury they provide. This year at PrimeTime, Thermador and Monogram each held a luxury event with fanfare. Attendees enjoyed appetizers, champagne, wine tasting, and a tour through the booths. Coming soon to Nationwide Learning Academy will be classes for the members on sales skills, product knowledge, and, in the near future, sessions on how to include delivery and installation as part of the consumer experience. “We want our members to be top of mind for retailers carrying luxury appliances,” concluded O’Halloran.
Doug Wrede, VP of Merchandising, Home Appliances, continued with a similar message in regard to the luxury appliance category. “Our focus is to outpace the industry in the independent retail core business,” said Wrede. Luxury appliance is currently an extremely important sector for Nationwide retailers and is showing huge amounts of growth in the last several years. By bringing together sales skills with draw-and-close techniques, product knowledge, and shipping and installation tips, Nationwide says that retailers who attended the learning sessions can provide a customer experience and journey that cannot be matched by big-box retailers. “We can do it right,” Wrede continued, “We’re ready now with the information, and marketing materials. It is a really exciting place to be.”
Along with luxury appliances, outdoor living spaces were also visible at Nationwide PrimeTime last week. More than just a grill and some chairs in the backyard, what makes up the outdoor living space has evolved during the pandemic. As consumers sheltered in place, they spent more money making their backyards an extension of their homes. 2021 showed a 17-percent growth in sales for NMG independent retailers for this sector of the market and the buying group’s projections predict this trend to continue with another nine percent expected in 2022. In keeping with the trend, Nationwide brought in more than 12 brands for the outdoor space this year, including open-air-ready kitchen appliances, heating and cooling products, televisions, speakers, and grills.
“Part of the excitement in having outdoor products is teaching the retailers how to sell them,” said John Laing, Director of Appliances and Outdoor at Nationwide. Outdoor consumers are different than typical consumers. They are using disposable income and want to have fun creating a space that will include the entire family. There are so many options for outdoor spaces with the large scope of products available. Outdoor spaces can be created at any budget for all levels of consumers.
Laing encouraged the members to take advantage of the showroom possibilities and create an outdoor destination for consumers. “You get to touch all the senses,” he said. This sentiment was showcased perfectly with the Backyard Grill area just outside of the Phoenix Convention Center. Alive with smells, grill smoke, food, backyard games, and plenty of music, the Backyard Grill area was the perfect setting for Laing and Nationwide’s outdoor living partners to hit the mark teaching retailers how to bring customers to their locations.