The next high growth and high margin opportunities for Nationwide Marketing Group Members are closer to home than you might think. In our world, new categories “bubble up” because of shifting consumer demand rather than from suppliers’ future outlooks or board room directives. Our smartest voice is that of the shopper. Hearing things like, “I sure wish you carried X product,” or “Have you ever considered adding X category to your store?” are music to our ears. Our customers are sometimes gently guiding us to be even more important to them — the type of loyalty that big box can only dream about.
At Nationwide, we listen carefully to you, our Members — an exercise that has served us well for over 50 years. A survey showed that Nationwide Members ranked lighting as the number-one category they want us to support, followed by decorative plumbing, cabinetry, flooring, hardware, and even HVAC.
Consumers are moving into home improvement projects with or without us. Homeowners are desperately searching Angie’s List, Craigslist and Google for trusted partners to enter into business with on their next home improvement project. Whether the goal is to increase property value or to enjoy and customize their house, the customer’s deepest need is to find a reputable partner in their local marketplace that will care about their projects just as much as they do. And hopefully that’s you!
Nationwide retailers are already heavily involved in remodeling and replacement activities. Recently, we’ve began expanding our offerings and assortment, which should in turn should allow you to expand your customer base. Some of our Members have storefronts in the center of town, showroom space for samples and trained salespeople that care about helping others make the best selections. You have the unique ability to create “store within a store” experiences. Armed with the right business intelligence, industry experience and group support, it’s our hope as your group that we can provide dealers with the tools they need to successfully navigate new business opportunities in short time frames. Adjacent verticals could help you earn incremental volume and margin, which funds the expansion economics.
To be clear, expanding into new and adjacent verticals isn’t for every single Independent retailer out there. But, for those of you looking for growth opportunities or to fill competitive gaps in your local market, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make the investment and reshape your business.
Let’s explore some of those turn-key solutions by category.
Lighting products like wall sconces, lamps, track lighting, under cabinet, pendants, chandeliers, wall mounts and ceiling fans don’t require any floor space. Rather, you can add these to your showroom’s walls and ceiling. Remember that when you carry Big Box products and brands, you are redirecting DIY traffic from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards. Give your customers one less reason to find a home improvement center.
Decorative plumbing includes kitchen faucets, sinks, disposers, water dispensers, tankless water heaters and other accessories. Nationwide provides you opportunities to expand into kitchen and bath fixtures with leading consumer brands with no inventory requirements, a same-day drop-ship program and low-cost parcel post.
Kitchen cabinets, bath vanities, prefabricated counter tops and decorative cabinet hardware would require limited floor space; Members can use existing vignettes to sell cabinet fronts and hardware accessories. Plus, they’re a major starting point for many consumers looking to upgrade their homes.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
In our post-pandemic environment, health and wellness has taken a front seat in many consumers’ minds and shopping habits. Water treatment, purification, filtration (whole house solutions),reverse osmosis sanitized water systems, HE hot water heaters (standard and tankless) and water softeners for rural markets are in demand as consumers look to keep clean the things they touch, eat, drink and breathe in their homes.
Another starting point for many consumers, flooring is a natural extension for those kitchen remodeling projects that might also involve appliance upgrades. Flooring, which can also be easily displayed in a showroom, can include everything from solid surfaces (hardwood, laminate ceramic tiles and luxury vinyl) to soft surfaces (flexible linoleum, bamboo, cork laminate and carpet) and other accessories (floor care products like vacuums, steamers and chemicals).
Consumers will also be looking for eco-home improvements, such as residential solar, EV chargers, power generators, home battery storage and monitoring usage. Homeowners will demand home solutions that save both energy and money.
As you can see, the opportunities within the home — in these congruent categories — are endless. Businesses that lead will solidify their place in the future and within the communities they serve.
Mark Spear is director of business development for Nationwide Marketing Group.