Getting ahead of the trends

This April, two large and important conferences will run in Florida in the US that will have an impact on shopper experience in Australia and New Zealand over the coming year because of the size of the gathering and the responsibility and seniority of those attending.

The National Association for Retail Marketing Services (NARMS) and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) conferences will see manufacturers, retailers, academics and retail marketing specialists from around the globe meet to share, debate, forecast and shape our shopping habits in the years ahead. These are important events in my annual calendar.

They both attract a heady mix of very senior “thought leaders,” from CXO level business people through to deans of university faculties, all with an interest in making us happier within the retail store environment.

These events are amazing places to watch and learn from those who are already doing it, and to take notes from the “future seers” and endeavour to apply their innovative, creative ideas in shaping solutions for the shopper in the real world. Importantly, many senior Australian retailers, manufacturers and retail marketers also attend these meetings.

At NARMS I will attend as a guest speaker on how Australia – The Wonder Down Under – missed the GFC.

There will be opportunities to hear first hand from senior execs and academics on the key traits and themes being developed in many different and diverse retail environments, from camping and leisure to grocery. Oh, and the camping and leisure sector will resume its ascendancy and  continue to grow as the next leading edge big-box, out-of-town destination store with the GFC now passed.

I’ll talk about this more after my US trip when I’ll have walked some more stores in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and had a catch up with retail researcher and thought leader, Paco Underhill.

At the NACDS conference the attendee list is even more august, with the top health and well being manufacturers, retailers and researchers all sharing the stage and conference rooms.

The most notable thing about this group is how the profile of the attendees has changed over the past decade as “mainstream” retailers in grocery and discount department stores have entered the “prescription drug store” retailing space, and how traditional pharmaceutical manufacturers have morphed into the mainstream “cosmetics, self medication, well being and beauty” product space.

Many of these changes have only been possible with changes in the legislation that applies to retailers and manufacturers in many countries, with retailers and manufacturers lobbying government to give shoppers what they want, where they want it and when they want it. There is no reason to believe this ongoing shift to allow shoppers more mainstream access to self medication and prescription drugs won’t continue here in Australia and New Zealand.

Whilst I am not attending the NACDS conference I will have a de-brief with one of my fellow CROSSMARK executives from the US company, who sits on the NACDS advisory panel. We are represented on this panel because of our retail marketing work with Wal-Mart and Walgreens, and the broad range of pharmaceutical clients in our North American, Australian and New Zealand pharmacy divisions.

I’ll give you some insights into developments in that space in the coming weeks too.

2010 will be a far more upbeat and optimistic meeting environment than it was last year at the height of the global financial crisis. We are through it now in almost all leading retailing sectors in North America, and innovation and creativity to deliver great shopper experience should be far more evident. I’ll let you know.

 

In his role as CEO of CROSSMARK, Kevin Moore looks at the world of retailing from grocery to pharmacy, bottle shops to car dealers, corner store to department stores. In this insightful blog, Kevin covers retail news, ideas, companies and emerging opportunities in Australia, NZ, the US and Europe. His international career in sales and marketing has seen him responsible for business in over 40 countries, which has earned him grey hair and a wealth of expertise in international retailers and brands. CROSSMARK Asia Pacific is Australasia’s largest provider of retail marketing services, consulting to and servicing some of Australasia’s biggest retailers and manufacturers.

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