Eric Sindelar was recently welcomed in the Nationwide Marketing Group family as the new director of connected services. In his role, Eric is responsible for helping Members get the most out of Nationwide’s relationship with AT&T.
Launched in 2019, the AT&T partnership was a major step for Nationwide into the realm of connected services. For the first time, Nationwide’s network of independent retailers had seamless access to entirely new categories of products and services for their stores. Smartphones, wireless plans, internet, entertainment services— and more — can now be sold alongside other consumer electronics, appliances, furniture and bedding.
Already knee deep in his responsibilities, Sindelar spent some time sharing his thoughts on how he plans to grow and expand the connected services channel for NMG Members.
Independent Thinking: Tell us about your retail upbringing.
Sindelar: I’ve been in the CE space for 23 years. I began my career with Circuit City as a sales manager, store director, eventually working my way up to District Manager and Regional Manager. That organization helped me develop from a leadership standpoint early on in my career.
I eventually moved on to run the computer category for an independent retailer as Director of Operations. This role taught me how to partner and strategize with vendors and other departments in the organization. It really showed me the importance of being cross-functional.
And then right before joining NMG late last year, I spent the previous five years leading wireless sales inside of Costco — four years as the Regional Director with 12 districts and 150 locations, and one year as Director of Sales, with 4 Regional Directors, 43 Districts, and over 500 locations.
I found success in connected services and installation services. Driving these categories resulted in significant gross margin and net profit increases to my business. It is a unique skill set to lead and sell intangible services. This focus on services has opened doors in my career.
How has your background helped you in your current role?
My background has provided me with an understanding of current service offerings, partners and needs of the business. It has allowed me to jump in quickly and begin planning and executing strategies. I understand the tools and resources our Members need to be successful with connected services, and I have had the unique opportunity to lead, test and implement many service strategies and initiatives over the years — strategies that I look forward to helping our Members implement.
What are you responsible for in your role?
As director of connected services, I am responsible for shaping this category’s business strategies. This includes current and future vendor partners/programs. I feel it is important to assist our Members with understanding the importance of this category. We have a unique relationship with AT&T that allows our Members to offer these highly profitable services with little to no incremental costs. Starting up an AT&T retail store could cost around $500,000. As a Member of NMG, it is a benefit — free of charge! This is a different concept for our Members and I feel it is important to educate them on how we can help serve their customers in a different way. It is important in my role to create execution plans to support the Members on their terms.
What opportunities are you most excited about for the remainder of 2020?
There are a couple of things that I’m excited about for the second half of the year. Among them:
- We will be launching our first labor team in a retail environment in June. This team will be going through training the last week of May before kicking off June 1. We have goals for each individual to achieve. Performance along with strategies will be reviewed during our weekly team call. We anticipate going into several other large retail establishments with our labor program this year.
- Our partnership with AT&T is fueled by DSI. We use DSI’s Sara+ software — the easiest and quickest activation platform to use in the industry. DSI has partnered with AT&T to offer an e-commerce activations portal. We look forward to implementing not only landing pages but activation ability to our members’ websites.
- Growth! We anticipate adding more of our Membership to the AT&T program.
- And we look forward to adding a home security option later this year.
There’s a lot happening in connected services, so stay tuned!