Talking Shop with… Jim Whitman
By Grocery Headquarters Staff
Jim Whitman, NACDS (National Association of Chain Drug Stores) senior vice president meetings and member services, says NACDS Total Store Expo is evolving. Tell us about Total Store Expo 2014. Jim Whitman: The NACDS Total Store Expo premiered in 2013 with a four-day, high-caliber program that fostered a highly personalized approach to conducting business. The game-changing trade show unified the NACDS Marketplace Conference, NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference and NACDS Supply Chain & Logistics Conference into one comprehensive meeting—the NACDS Total Store Expo. The innovative nature of the trade show builds on NACDS’ reputation for providing cutting-edge events that focus on retailers’ and suppliers’ needs. The 2014 event will take place August 23-26 at the Boston Convention and Visitors Center in Boston. What did you learn from last year’s event after talking to attendees? As we look ahead to this year’s event, the energy is already building. Well more than 5,000 attendees attended the inaugural NACDS Total Store Expo in 2013. Survey results reveal that 92% planned to return for the 2014 trade show. What we have heard and continue to hear from attendees is the cross-industry approach to doing business in a new way was not only very successful but also necessary for the industry, which is ever evolving. What is new for 2014? NACDS will build on the successes of the inaugural Total Store Expo. The core programming and strong elements of the trade show will continue because the format worked well. However, just as the industry is ever evolving, so will the NACDS Total Store Expo. The highly rated Meet the Market and Meet the Retailer programs will continue, providing retailers and suppliers important business opportunities that can extend long after the four-day event. The Business Programs are an important component, providing exclusive opportunities to hear from key industry experts on key issues, as well as high-caliber keynote speakers addressing relevant and timely topics. The educational sessions are key opportunities. These enrichment sessions address a variety of relevant and timely topics and policy issues, as well as look toward the future of the industry at its meetings and conferences. While each convention center is different in its size, the layout of the show floor will resemble last year’s Expo—again always with an eye toward maximizing the business opportunities for attendees. NACDS is also exploring some innovative show floor activities that will crystallize as the trade show gets closer—so stay tuned. In NACDS’ continued efforts to demonstrate the innovation and technology of the Total Store Expo, last year NACDS-TV was introduced, which captured the inaugural event through interviews, highlights and features that offered new attendees a snapshot of the trade show. NACDS-TV has continued to build on the momentum from last year, with regular updates about what attendees can expect this year. A playlist of NACDS-TV videos is available on YouTube—and NACDS soon will be promoting the videos aggressively to help empower chains and suppliers alike. Currently, NACDS-TV segments listed on YouTube include insights on Meet the Market and the Product Showcase. Future segments will help attendees compare their own preparation against a checklist of recommended actions. Tune in to NACDS-TV by visiting the Total Store Expo website: tse.nacds.org/. Attendees are also encouraged to visit NACDS Total Store Expo website. The site contains valuable resources to help both retailers and suppliers prepare for the conference. As an appointment-based trade show, planning is key to a successful Expo. Retailers and suppliers are always discussing return on investment. What do you think that Total Store Expo is worth to them in this regard? The NACDS Total Store Expo is truly evolutionary. It is distinguished in its ability to deliver the precision and personalization that members have come to expect from NACDS conferences and meetings. It enables business partners to work together creatively across departments and functions with an eye toward the entire store. The rewards for engaging in the right ways in the NACDS Total Store Expo can include business success, new insights, bold ideas and a creative vision for defining the future.