Now that the Memorial Day weekend is over, it is time for any mass market retailers, CPG companies or supply chain providers that haven’t already done so to gear up for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo. The annual event, which this year will be held from August 6 through August 9 at the Boston Convention Center, gives those involved in the manufacture, transport or sale of “drug store merchandise” an unmatched opportunity to view the entire store and supply chain as a whole, as they work to adapt their business model to address the rapidly evolving behavior of consumers.
TSE attracts a broad spectrum of participants. Retailers in attendance, many of whom are represented by C-suite executives as well as buyers and category managers, range from Walmart, the world’s largest merchant with sales of $482 billion, to regional chains. Suppliers run the gamut from such perennial powers as Pfizer Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and Newell Rubbermaid to small companies aiming to make a name for themselves by bringing innovation to the marketplace. The show offers ample time for current and potential business partners to interact, both in the exhibit hall — which is all but sold out — where hundreds of companies will have their wares on view, and at social events.
TSE is as much about ideas and information as it is about merchandise. Attendees at the plenary Business Program will hear from NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson and Martin Otto, chairman of the association and chief merchant and chief financial officer at H-E-B. Based on their remarks at the NACDS Annual Meeting in April, it’s a safe bet that they will have incisive things to say about the state of community pharmacy, including the front end, and how the industry fits into a broader societal context. An assessment of politics and government in this tumultuous election year will add further perspective. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe will share their thoughts on that subject at the Business Program.
Suppliers will get a chance to hear directly from merchants at a series of Meet the Retailer sessions. CVS, Cardinal Health and Shopko are among the chains that will participate. Another highlight of TSE is the robust roster of Insight Sessions where pressing issues in pharmacy, the front end and the supply chain will be examined.
Attendees will have a chance to look to the future at Vision 2027, an area in the exhibit hall where companies will share ideas about the future of retailing and collaboration among business partners, with special attention paid to emerging technology and interactivity. Among the companies offering insights are Fung Global Retail & Technology, GSK Consumer Healthcare, Kantar Retail, Nielsen, Shark Branding, Everfave, Inturn, Eventable, Catalyst and Shopic.
Taken together, the diverse elements of TSE promise to provide attendees with an immersive experience in whatever part of the business they are directly engaged in, while placing those individual components in a industrywide perspective. NACDS has created a great opportunity for those ready to seize it. Now it’s up to the retailers and suppliers headed to Total Store Expo to set goals, map out a strategy for attaining them and reach out to relevant companies to make appointments. For those who do lay the groundwork, the trip to Boston is sure to be worthwhile.