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Nationwide invests in Retailer Web Services, names Hickman president

Published by Furniture Today | February 26, 2018

Tom Hickman

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Nationwide Marketing Group has invested in long-time partner Retailer Web Services, enhancing members’ website services and accelerating the release of AdRocket, a new automated digital marketing solution developed by RWS.

According to Nationwide executive Sean Crane, “As digital marketing began overtaking other media, our members recognized its importance and began asking for support in navigating this new and sometimes confusing opportunity. … With this investment, our members now have access to the most comprehensive digital solution ever made available to independent dealers. All of this serves as a catalyst to enhance Nationwide’s industry leading buying, marketing and business services."

At its Primetime member conference in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 25-March 1, Nationwide also will unveil the next phase in its long-term succession strategy. Dave Bilas, the group's chairman, has announced the appointment of Nationwide’s executive vice president of merchandising, Tom Hickman, to the position of president. Bilas will transition to an advisor to senior management.

“Over the past couple of decades, Nationwide has successfully transitioned leadership a number of times. From Lee Guttman, to Ed Kelly, to Robert Weisner and Les Kirk, and then to me," said Bilas. “This leadership change positions Nationwide for this new era of retail, and I look forward to my new advisor role."

Robert Weisner, a Board member, added, “At Nationwide, our leadership structure is results-oriented, team-based and member-focused. Having the industry experience and capabilities of industry veterans Jeff Knock, Frank Sandtner, Rick Bellows, Patrick Maloney and Jerry Honea on the executive team is testament to the long-term vision of Dave Bilas."

Before joining Nationwide as senior vice president of electronics in 2012, Hickman had spent more than 16 years with Toshiba culminating in him leading the U.S. retail team for all business units.

“I’ve observed an amazing six years of growth for Nationwide’s members, vendors and team," said Hickman. “As our members’ sales growth continued to outpace national chains and other independents, a merger with Mega Group USA increased membership by more than 50%. This unprecedented independent scale made it possible for the group to acquire custom website developer Site on Time in late 2017 and now to announce our investment in RWS and its portfolio of digital marketing technologies."

AdRocket, the new digital marketing solution from RWS, will expand and integrate with the market-leading product offerings RWS already provides to over 2,000 independent retailers of appliances, furniture and mattresses.

This RWS investment complements those in custom website design firm Site on Time and the group’s long-time Nationwide PrimeMedia production studios.

Nationwide Marketing Group is a leading independent appliance, electronics, furniture, bedding and outdoor buying, marketing and business services group, with some 5,300 members, operating approximately 14,000 stores that generate an estimated $18.5 billion in sales.

You can read this article in Furniture Today by clicking here.