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Beauty, beacon technology among highlights at this year’s GMDC HBW

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX — There are a number of reasons to be excited about the Global Market Development Center 2015 Health Beauty Wellness conference, not the least of which is a new beauty immersion session designed to help recapture that beauty shopper.

“These beauty immersions are exclusive and new formats for us. They’re pilots,” explained Mark Mechelse, director research, consumer insights and communications at GMDC. GMDC is helping retailers reignite interest within the beauty and personal care categories as a destination. “We’ve been working hand-in-hand with Nielsen to develop some insights,” Mechelse added. “Here’s an opportunity not only to create a more immersive experience for your customers, but also an opportunity to start stealing wallet share from Amazon, especially when millennials start walking through that door.”
 
According to market research from Lucintel, “rising consumer incomes and changing lifestyles are driving the global beauty care products industry, which is forecasted to reach around $265 billion by 2017.”

Another unique opportunity at the conference: GMDC’s focus on showcasing beacon technology that will truly create in-store experiential differentiation for the shopper. “This is new technology that has recently been funded by private equity in order to go to market,” Mechelse reported. “This is an exclusive venue within GMDC — no other trade association is introducing technology like this to the retail industry like we are.”

BKON Connect will be on hand at GMDC HBW to demonstrate how beacon technology can truly transform the shopper experience.

In addition to the beauty immersion and beacon technology displays, this year’s conference will delve into ways food and drug retailers can best promote beauty aisles and navigate sales in the face of a growing industry where the consumer is commanding change. In addition, the conference addresses opportunities for retailers to rethink their approach to over-the-counter healthcare products and the expanding role of in-store pharmacies — and how retailers can help transform customers from curious, to interested, to committed buyers of wellness products, and raise their store’s potential to ring up more wellness-first and price-secondary sales.

“GMDC’s HBW conference is more relevant than ever before because retailers and suppliers can meet in real-time, have face-to-face conversations about these changes affecting the marketplace, and develop strategies that challenge how they’re thinking about health, beauty and wellness,” stated Patrick Spear, GMDC president and CEO.

During the conference business session slated for Oct. 3, Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Wakefern will provide insights into the impact of healthcare legislation and how the shift toward more over-the-counter product sales is enabling manufacturers and retailers to view “patients” and “consumers” on the same continuum. “Next-practices” will be the focus, and strategies will be revealed about how stores can redesign their merchandising toward “how the shopper shops,” which can build a significant lift in sales. “They’ll be doing a deep dive into the diabetes category and how Johnson & Johnson is helping Wakefern engage that diabetic,” Mechelse added.

One other addition to the conference this year is the Preview Box, a unique pre-conference program where suppliers can place selected products into the hands of every wholesaler and retailer attending the conference, offering them the opportunity to touch, see and use their new or best-selling products or innovative packaging prior to the conference. A sample of the Preview Box program also is placed outside the entrance of the showcase at GMDC HBW for attendees to see how this marketing tool is delivered to each retailer executive.

To follow all of DSN’s coverage of GMDC HBW 2015, click here.

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Walmart cuts jobs at HQ

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The importance of expense control at Walmart became evident on Friday when the retailer confirmed it planned to eliminate 450 positions as part of a broader restructuring effort.

The long-rumored cuts were detailed in an internal memo with the subject line “a company positioned for the future,” that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., President and CEO Doug McMillon distributed to the company’s home office employees on Friday, Oct. 2. Approximately 18,000 employees work at Walmart’s complex of buildings in Bentonville and neighboring Rogers, Ark., so the elimination of 450 positions represents a 2.5% reduction in force. 

McMillon said the decision “impacts people we care about,” but noted that the structure changes that will make the company a more nimble organization that serves customers better.

“Our customers are changing, retail is changing and we must change. We need to become a more agile company that can easily adapt to shifting customer demand. After months of evaluation, we’ve concluded there is an opportunity to better position our home office teams to move with speed and purpose,” according to McMillon. “This is an important time in our history – requiring all of us to think critically about our business and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. For the company, this in part means pulling back in some areas and investing in others.”

Additional details on areas of investment and reduction were not immediately available.

While the elimination of 450 positions is sizable, Walmart took more extreme measures in early 2009 at the beginning of the Great Recession when it eliminated 800 positions. The company also eliminated 300 positions in 2010

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GMDC widens audience for silent auction

BY David Salazar

PHOENIX — With 125 items ranging from an evening with two legendary Yankees finishers to Disney World tickets and assorted jewelry, artwork and experiences, the silent auction fundraiser for GMDC Education and Insights at the 2015 Health Beauty Wellness conference has the potential to raise a lot of funds, and in turn generate education and insights for GMDC members.

One of the central parts of GMDC HBW conferences, in years past bidding on items in the silent auction has been limited to attendees onsite for HBW, but this year the bidding has been moved online, opening it up to all GMDC members, even those who aren’t in attendance at HBW 2015.

“In the past, we always had silent auctions focused inside the actual HBW event,” GMDC’s director of research, industry insights and communications Mark Mechelse said. “This year because we have a mobile app, we’ve opened it up to all GMDC members, not just those attending the conference. All GMDC members can now bid and that has begun to accelerate the opportunity to socialize this fundraising event well beyond our attendees.”

Expanded opportunity for bidders means that the auction — which brings in about $30,000 every year — is now open to more people who benefit from the insights beyond GMDC’s HBW members. Especially given that GMDC is focusing on three areas in the next three years — Why GM Matters, the Health & Wellness Minded Consumer and Center Store/Front End is Essential to Total Store — it follows that members who might benefit from insights can take part in helping generate them, and take home an item from the auction in the process.

“It's not just HBW companies that benefit; it's GM companies as well,” Mechelse said. “They all benefit from research and insights. Our insights are actionable to help retailers refine and transform their strategies and help them plan for ‘next practices’ that capitalize on future shopping trends.”

A full list of items up for auction can be found by clicking here, and you can follow all of DSN’s coverage of GMDC HBW 2015 by clicking here.

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