In an announcement sent out by Nationwide Marketing Group on the eve of their big Virtual PrimeTime event, the organization stated, “To thrive as an independent business, individuals and the teams around them have to have a certain amount of grit, resiliency and hustle. Those defining characteristics have shined especially bright during 2020, which has been one of the most challenging years ever to be an independent business owner.”
That statement provided the perfect lead in to this year’s first ever Virtual PrimeTime – a semi-annual business and educational opportunity that regularly draws thousands of Nationwide members, vendors, service providers and staff from all corners of the United States and Canada.
In his State of the Union speech to kick off the event, Tom Hickman, Nationwide’s president and chief member advocate said, “The last eight months have been a whirlwind of disruption. COVID has changed the way we do everything — including PrimeTime. But even though we won’t be together in person for this show like we had hoped, the spirit of PrimeTime remains unaltered. The opportunities exist in this digital platform and beyond for our members and vendors to come together and make meaningful connections and continue doing business with one another.”
Hickman also stated that many Nationwide members, “Have been killing it on the eCommerce side in 2020.” And the industry numbers most certainly back that up as with every study you look at you see huge increases in online shopping sales.
The disappointment of having to conduct this particular PrimeTime, that was originally scheduled for Las Vegas, in a virtual setting was addressed immediately, as Hickman said, “This isn’t how I thought we’d be kicking off the show. We were all pumped to be headed back to Vegas for PrimeTime, but no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn’t create an experience that was safe and deliver the high level of excellence you deserve. So, like all of you, we had to pivot to a digital strategy. But I promise, when the pandemic starts to recede and we can travel more easily, we’re going to have one hell of live PrimeTime event.”
While the pandemic cast just a bit of a cloud over the proceedings, Hickman’s State of the Union set a positive tone as the aforementioned online successes for independent retailers has opened up new doors for innovative digital marketing strategies – perfect timing for the Q4 holiday selling season.
Hickman also sweetened the Virtual PrimeTime pot with the announcement with what will be the largest individual giveaway opportunity in the history of the show and possibly the largest giveaway in the history of the independent retail channel — a $100,000 store makeover.
Sponsored by Nationwide Marketing Group and 12 of its largest vendor partners, the giveaway will enable one Nationwide member to completely reimagine their physical store or their digital presence, or both.
The giveaway works thusly: Over the course of Virtual PrimeTime, members will earn points as they attend Nationwide Learning Academy sessions, visit vendors’ booths, virtually check into networking social hours, and more. Once a member passes the designated point threshold, they’ll automatically be entered into the drawing for the $100,000 giveaway. The winner will be announced on November 5.
Hickman closed with the overall message that Nationwide is always there for any of their members to turn to, particularly those that might be having a rough 2020.
“Though we know some of you are struggling, we are here to help, so please reach out, to each other as well as to Nationwide,” he said. “And remember that change has always fueled the independent retailer as the big box guys can’t be as flexible. The good news here is that consumer demand continues to soar, not just in appliances, but also in furniture, bedding and CE. Our channel, overall, is very fortunate indeed. ”