ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Retail Advisory Board will be heading to London on Feb. 25 to examine key marketplace trends, including multigenerational retailing, how the omnichannel is improving the shopping experience, urban retailing and managing OTC medications.
Why London? According to Bryan Stuke, chairman of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board and Procter & Gamble VP of customer business development, England’s population is aging a few years ahead of the American population, so the opportunity to observe how British retailers are managing the needs of aging consumers is relevant, especially given the baby boomer juggernaut that’s seemingly affecting every aspect of life in the United States. Furthermore, London has a centuries-long reputation as a thriving, diverse, populous European capital. Stuke said a big trend in the United States right now is to become more urbanized rather than suburban or rural, so London fits the bill.
The market immersion trip will mark the fourth such trip for the Retail Advisory Board so far. Past trips have been to Toronto, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Austin, Texas. The group will travel to Boston in May. Stuke said that the objective is to identify places where new ideas are being generated and new retail formats exist. He said the trips “allow retailers and manufacturers to walk a store together to discover new ideas on how they can merchandise their stores, product categories, adjacencies or product lines better.”
Beyond merchandising, supply chain and store operations, the group will also look at how British retailers are becoming omni-channel — utilizing Internet, mobile and the physical store to help the consumer shop whenever and wherever.
The group will have the opportunity to tour several stores, including Boots, Burberry, Marks and Spencer and Tesco. A speaker will provide an overview of English history, putting into perspective the ways the English government and healthcare systems have evolved. A speaker from Nielson will also present on the English retail market, contrasting the differences between British and U.S. stores. As part of the agenda, representatives from the U.S. embassy will address policy issues in the U.K. and E.U., such as privacy concerns and how the embassy can help U.S. companies in England.