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MARKETING


Nationwide Marketing Group Launches Ecommerce Program For Independent Retailers By Gretchen Kast


“By opening up the endless aisle feature, our retailers can now test certain product lines and brands, experiment with entirely new product categories, adjust their mix for seasonality and availability, and more—all with a few clicks and with no physical inventory requirements.”


Building on the surging popularity of ecom- merce sales, Nationwide Marketing Group is launching a new endless aisle feature for members with ecommerce-enabled websites. Supported by the Nationwide eX- change platform, the feature allows a retail- er to quickly and easily add product to their online catalogs. The eXchange platform is Nationwide’s


exclusive marketplace where members go to shop thousands of items from the group’s key vendor partners and core distributor partners. With the endless aisle feature now active, eXchange represents more than 150 brands and thousands of potential SKUs that members could add directly to their websites for their consumers to shop.


“Every retailer would love to have the op- portunity to adjust their product mix frequently and on the fly, and that’s exactly what endless aisle will allow our members to do on their websites,” said Randy Derr, director of distribu- tion and eXchange for Nationwide. “By open- ing up the endless aisle feature, our retailers can now test certain product lines and brands, experiment with entirely new product catego- ries, adjust their mix for seasonality and avail- ability, and more—all with a few clicks and with no physical inventory requirements.” The endless aisle experience follows right in step with what an online shopper would expect in today’s ecommerce-first world. The customer visits a Nationwide member’s website, adds the product to their online shopping cart, heads to the checkout page, and selects how they’d like to receive the product—either via BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) or delivered directly to their home. Once submitted, the retailer receives, and is credited for, the customer’s order and can place that order through eXchange, just like they would with any other stocking order for their store.


Nationwide tested the endless aisle expe- rience with Serta Simmons Bedding (SSB) this July, running a program with 16 mem- bers. Those retailers were able to add three Serta bed-in-a-box SKUs to their websites, with Serta shipping the orders directly to customers’ homes. “Bed-in-a-box accounts for roughly 30% of the mattress industry right now,” said Jeff Rose, senior director of furniture and bedding for Nationwide. “By opening this endless aisle feature, we’re providing our members with the perfect avenue to insert themselves into this growing space. And the simplicity of the endless aisle experi- ence on the eXchange platform will give our members’ customers the online-first experience that’s critical and expected in today’s retail environment.”


In partnering with Nationwide to help


launch this new feature, SSB showed its con- tinued commitment to the independent chan- nel. It is the first vendor partner to sell direct to Nationwide dealers and their consumers through the eXchange platform.


“Direct-to-consumer sales continue to grow in the bedding industry, and we want to help Nationwide and their valued mem- bers capture their fair share of this grow- ing channel,” explained Gary Melder, senior sales director of buying groups for SSB. “The program we are launching with Na- tionwide in 2021 will set us up for mutual success in 2022.” With the test run of the endless aisle ex- perience complete, Nationwide will now work directly with its roster of distribution part- ners to expand the feature to the rest of the eXchange catalog. Products already on the platform are regularly reviewed and selected based on consumer demand, their relevance to Nationwide’s current offerings, as well as new and emerging categories. Visit nationwidegroup.org


16 Sleep Retailer / Summer 2021


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