Q&A: TSE – Trade shows’ next gen
The next generation of trade shows is nearly upon us. Enter NACDS Total Store Expo, which debuts Aug. 10 to 13, 2013. Jim Whitman, SVP member programs and services, and Steve Perlowski, VP industry affairs and member relations, talked with Drug Store News about this new concept, which will combine the Marketplace, Pharmacy and Technology, and Supply Chain and Logistics conferences.
DSN: TSE has been described as a “true laboratory of innovation.” Can you elaborate?
Jim Whitman: [The innovation] will come about in a couple of areas. It is coming out in the expansion, most likely in the [Digital Learning Center]. That is why we are introducing [the center] at the 2012 Marketplace, but you will see it in a different form and format in 2013. … No. 2, if you went online and looked at the floor plan, it shows what we are calling, as a working title right now, … “Centers for Excellence.”
Steve Perlowski: The other thing we are working [on] with a couple of manufacturers is, instead of coming to TSE selling [only] a product or a line, they are coming to sell an idea or a concept. [For example], if a food company has a vision of what health and wellness is, they should come to TSE to share their vision with their customers.
Whitman: Obviously, a company, to a certain extent, has a product [they are selling] and that should be part of TSE. But, what Steve and I are eluding to is, let’s say you are working on obesity, or health and wellness, or nutrition, just to take an area, … we believe it would be ideal for one of these Centers for Excellence or an innovation laboratory or a learning center or a freestanding approach. … Remember, TSE, by the definition itself, is encompassing the total store.
DSN: How can suppliers and retailers prepare for TSE?
Whitman: At Marketplace we are going to have a TSE booth, and we will have a series of meetings going on with people to get them prepared for the ideas and possibilities that can happen at TSE. You’ll see resources on the website. … We want to give everyone as many tools as possible to be successful.
DSN: Anything else you would like to share about TSE?
Whitman: There will be [business] sessions that are somewhat front-end focused, pharmacy and technology focused, and supply chain focused. You’ll be able to pick and choose which ones you want to go to. … There is going to be a very lively, interactive kind of calendar that will be created.
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Meet the Market a staple of Marketplace
DENVER — The 2012 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace Conference kicked off Saturday morning with a bang as retailers and suppliers gathered for Meet the Market, a special program designed to provide attendees the opportunity to present and be presented with new products.
(For photos, click here.)
“Meet the Market on Saturday has become institutionalized and is one of the distinguishing factors of Marketplace. … We are using some new technology to help refine these meetings,” Jim Whitman, SVP member programs and services, told Drug Store News.
Over the years, Meet the Market undoubtedly has become an institution within Marketplace, pairing suppliers — including many emerging new companies — and retailers in a series of back-to-back-to-back appointments that are prearranged by NACDS.
According to NACDS, nearly 8,000 appointments took place during the one-day program, which started at 9 a.m. and concluded at 4:30 p.m on Saturday. Supplier participants included first-time exhibitors and any exhibitor who has a new product or service that has been launched since July 2011 or will be launched in 2012.
Some advice for new suppliers! Be prepared for short 10-minute meetings and don’t be late. Waste no time with meaningless small talk. Introduce yourself, make a brief elevator pitch about your company and get right to your presentation. Be sure to include some visuals to show your understanding about the product category and business model. Know your costs, SRP’s, and all the basics. Retailers hate when new suppliers are not prepared for a meaningful discussion. www.biernbaum.com
Walmart’s Bauza keynotes Mack Elevation Forum
DENVER — “Show me white spaces and create [value] that I don’t already have.” That’s what one retailer polled by the Mack Elevation Forum said regarding what suppliers need to do to score a win. And that may be both the challenge and the opportunity for suppliers today as they prepared for NACDS Marketplace meetings.
(For pictures from the Elevation Forum, click here.)
Two days before the show floor opened, more than 20 senior executives and keynote speaker Carmen Bauza, Walmart VP beauty and personal care, gathered as part of the latest Elevation Forum just down the street from the Colorado Convention Center to engage in a top-line discussion around how to best score those wins and maintain that continued generation of success going forward.
Bauza also discussed with attendees Walmart’s back-to-basics strategy that emphasizes value through everyday low pricing, coupled with unique solutions for its shoppers.
Retailers today are looking for more than the latest line extensions or new product introductions being replicated across the retail landscape, noted program founder Dan Mack, EVP strategic business development for the Swanson Group. They’re looking for new learnings around consumer needs, coupled with compelling programs that create a unique customer experience.
Past and present successes sometimes can serve as the most significant barriers to delivering on those retail needs, Mack noted. Mack outlined three “pitfalls of power.”
- First, the assumption that the past is a fair indicator of the present and subsequently that the present is a fair indicator of the future;
- Second, many successful suppliers ignore critical feedback; and
- Third, many successful suppliers fail to recognize the changing nuances within their businesses that could fast make their solutions obsolete. “It’s not only that you’re not seeing [those nuances], you’re not open to them,” Mack cautioned.
One way to deliver on that retailer need for unique offerings is to align a supplier’s product development and business analysis against a particular retailer’s core focal points, even if that means doing something as counterintuitive as helping to drive a retailer’s noncompetitive private-brand offerings.
It’s about contributing total category value beyond exceeding an individual supplier’s profit-per-sq.-in. hurdles. “We’ve got to change the nomenclature,” noted Bruce Kramer, Wahl Clipper VP sales and marketing, North America Consumer. “We’ve got to stop calling [retail strategy meetings] ‘category line reviews’ and start calling them ‘category growth sessions.’”
Another valuable learning to come out of this forum: Communication flow in these meetings shouldn’t be one way, from supplier to retailer. It may be unnecessary, for example, to rehash the historical position of a category to an experienced buyer, and instead may be more constructive to fast-forward to the meat of any presentation.
If category reviews were to become category growth meetings I think we as an industry would thrive rather than to merely survive. However, the change needs to be with how category managers and retail executives think about the business as well as how consumer brands approach the business. The growth isn’t always in the rear view mirror nor is growth necessarily reflected on IRI or other historical data. The growth comes from vision, preparation, and open minds. www.biernbaum.com