General Merchandise, Self Care Events Move to Virtual Format

Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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General Merchandise, Self Care Events Move to Virtual Format
GMDC|Retail Tomorrow's virtual events will be hosted on hosted on the GMDC*Connect video conferencing platform.

Retail industry trade association Global Market Development Center (GMDC)|Retail Tomorrow will hold this year’s General Merchandise Conference (GM20) and Selfcare Summit (SS20) as virtual events over a three-week period taking place Oct. 5-23.

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has reimagined the events to expand member opportunities and enable product discovery virtually while protecting the health and safety of its members and employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The members-only events are expected to bring together 80-plus retail/wholesale companies and 250 supplier companies from across North America to connect; to help retail industry stakeholders meet consumers’ health, beauty, wellness, self care and general merchandise needs; and to drive innovation for the marketplace.

The virtual events will guide attendees through the altered business landscape, give rise to new product assortments and merchandising strategies based on post-coronavirus shopping trends, and offer resources for responding to the anticipated lasting effects on the industry.

“As an association born out of industry disruption, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has delivered industry-first opportunities for the past 50 years, from ‘speed-networking’ meetings to a virtual meeting platform for members to Mic-Drop quick-pitch presentations,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of Colorado Springs, Colorado-based GMDC|Retail Tomorrow, which represents more than 125,000 retail outlets. “Now is a perfect time to leverage this expertise and scale it for the benefit of our members who are seeking new ways to connect. While we all work through a changing retail landscape, we look forward to exploring new and innovative solutions for our members to network and enable product discovery as we transition to a virtual format this year.”

The events will be hosted on the GMDC*Connect video conferencing platform and include networking meetings; live and recorded learning-track sessions on GM, self care and post-COVID consumer trends; and the Preview Box program, which delivers participating suppliers’ products to retailers and wholesalers prior to the events.

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s Strategic Executive Connection (SEC) meetings are scheduled for the week of Oct. 5 for General Merchandise and Selfcare Summit participants, while Buyer’s Choice meetings will take place Oct. 12-23. Retailers, wholesalers and suppliers will employ a new self-scheduling tool to arrange meetings, enabling a customized conference experience.The longer duration of the conference, along with the new virtual capabilities, will make more meetings possible and improve connectivity among retailers and suppliers, according to the trade group.

“We know this has been an extraordinarily challenging year, and we are committed to all our members as we operate within the current climate,” added Spear. “We recently published an Open Letter to the Industry to extend our support to nonessential suppliers that are getting left behind amid the consumer’s focus on essential products. Now, we enter a new phase to further support the industry by enabling strategic continuity as we reimagine our event program to deliver what the industry needs from us at this time. We are grateful for the full support of our retail board to reinvent our events both now, and in the future. Retailers and wholesalers like Wegmans, Kroger, Southeastern Grocers, UNFI, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Wakefern and many more are committed to attend and eager to meet with our supplier members. We welcome you to join us in October as we navigate what is undoubtedly a changed retail landscape.”

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