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Forum: Millennials hold influence

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — It’s all about unveiling opportunity, absorbing those insights that can really transform a business and then putting those insights into action. That’s what Dan Mack, managing director of the Mack Elevation Forum, asked attendees to do at Friday’s exclusive, one-day summit co-hosted by Mack Elevation Forum and Drug Store News at the Seaport World Trade Center. 

Modeled after the cutting-edge TedX conference series, the joint Mack Elevation/DSN summit brought together eight critical thought leaders from both inside and outside of the industry, to challenge attendees and their companies to think beyond their brands to achieve breakthrough results. “I’m a big believer that business can be transformational,” Mack said. “The companies and the brands that inspire me, … they’re much bigger than
their products.”

One recurring theme throughout the day’s sessions revolved around the importance of capturing the millennial shopper.

“[Millennials] want businesses to be engaged and do not trust businesses that are not engaged in the world in some way to make it better,” said Seth Rogin, chief revenue officer at Mashable. “Sixty-three percent of millennials are giving money to charity; we’ve certainly seen it this week on how many have poured ice over their heads. They’re the biggest generation any of us will see in our entire lives, and … our brands that stand for something, also can do well while doing good at the same time.”

In addition to Rogin, the speaker lineup included:

  • Chris Skyers, VP health and beauty at Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite, talked about the opportunity inherent in creating custom programs with smaller retailers. Manufacturers can get actionable results fast; 
  • Brett Goffin, industry head of retail at Google, discussed the buzz behind omnichannel retailing and why mobile is the platform to own; 
  • Vic Curtis, SVP pharmacy at Costco, reviewed the rationale behind disciplined SKU rationalization; 
  • Craig Hashi, head of OTC and pharma for Twitter, broke down how healthcare marketers can create social media marketing opportunities in real time without complaints from the compliance department; 
  • Moe Alkemade, GVP/GMM convenience for Walgreens, explained how brands and private label can not only co-exist, but also succeed together; 
  • Larry Levin, EVP and practice leader at IRI, outlined the reasons new launches fail and how manufacturers and retail partners can ensure a better success rate; and
  • Jason Reiser, chief merchant for Family Dollar, identified the distinct opportunity within today’s value channel.

For more photos from the summit, click here.

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IMS’ Long tracks trends in Rx market

BY Rob Eder

BOSTON — IMS Health VP industry relations Doug Long briefed a packed house of NACDS TSE attendees on the latest trends shaping the U.S. pharmaceutical market. 

Looking at historical trends over the past 10 years, Long noted that pharmaceutical sales had rebounded sharply in 2013 and 2014 following an all-time low in 2012 when “the market declined for the first time in its history,” Long said.

According to the latest IMS Health data, pharmaceutical sales grew 10.7% through June on a 12-month moving annual total basis, and was up more than 13% year to date through June, tracking at more than $346 billion. This despite a weak flu season and a weaker than expected allergy season this year.

Sales in 2013 topped $329 billion, with retail representing more than 71% of the market on sales of $236 billion, up 3.2%, and chain pharmacy leading the way, with sales of $115 billion, up 4.1%.

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NACDS living ‘Total Store’ commitment

BY Steve Anderson

Two recent projects of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board stand out as examples of NACDS’ commitment to execute the “total store” vision behind the NACDS Total Store Expo.

The NACDS Retail Advisory Board establishes members in their appropriate roles, which is driving the programs and services of NACDS. The NACDS Retail Advisory Board includes front-end suppliers and chain representatives, and they advise the NACDS board of directors on front-end issues and the association’s programming.

In June, the NACDS Retail Advisory Board and global strategy firm The Partnering Group released a report to help retailers and suppliers establish joint business plans to align and optimize shared business goals.
The report, “Creating Value Together,” brings a sophisticated approach to the growing movement of joint business planning. We know that time is one of the biggest challenges confronting truly collaborative efforts to achieve joint goals.

I applaud the NACDS Retail Advisory Board for taking steps to help companies simplify the process and streamline the time it takes to create a joint business plan. One of the results of this improved efficiency will be the ability of companies to enter into these relationships with more of their business partners.

Another of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board’s initiatives stands to help companies understand and act on an equally timely subject: digital marketing.

Today, at the NACDS Total Store Expo, during an Insight Session, NACDS and A.T. Kearney are releasing the results of the “Winning with Digital” study. The goal of the study is to answer the following questions:

  • Which specific digital marketing vehicles do retailers find most attractive?
  • What are their digital goals? and
  • What are the implications of these trends for consumer packaged goods manufacturers?

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the study is that its findings gel in many ways with the collaborative spirit of the joint business planning report that I mentioned, and with the collaborative spirit of the NACDS Total Store Expo.

When it comes to understanding consumers’ desires and digital usage, nearly 40% of retailers involved in the “Winning with Digital” study expressed strong interest in collaborating with suppliers in developing knowledge in these areas. That shows significant intensity of interest, as that 40% figure does not include others who expressed some or modest interest.

The NACDS Retail Advisory Board’s work with our partners on joint business planning and digital strategies reflects a commitment to relevance. These are timely subject areas, to which NACDS and our partners are bringing actionable insights.

Such on-the-mark initiatives as these are able to thrive when an association operates in a truly member-driven format. And on-the-mark initiatives like these are bringing a consistent and “total store” approach to the member programs and services of NACDS.

On behalf of the entire industry, I want to thank the members of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board for their amazing efforts, and I want to thank the entire NACDS board of directors for prioritizing this area of focus.


Steve Anderson, IOM, CAE, is president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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