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The GMDC Health & Wellness @Retail 2013 event is being hosted in conjunction with the Food Marketing Institute and is focused on enhancing business opportunities for members of both associations interested in expanding category growth in health, beauty and wellness across the footprint of the entire store.

This conference provides GMDC and FMI members with a venue that leverages our two associations’ expertise and leadership in education, consumer insights, sales promotion, nutrition, marketing, merchandising and pharmacy. The skill sets of the executives attending this conference provide a great resource of talent and leadership from wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, and service and solution providers who are engaged with strengthening the shopping experience of today’s consumers.

This year, GMDC is launching new ways of doing business at our conferences, and at the desktops of our members. During the conference, executive-level connectivity is being fueled by GMDC*Connect telepresence-empowered Senior Executive Conferences, or SECs, and prescheduled tabletop Controlled Casual Conference, or CCC, meetings. Make sure you visit our GMDC*Connect “Innovation Station” BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, Booth to learn more about how you can connect your business communication devices — laptops, smartphones and tablets — to our new GMDC*Connect cloud-based network. This booth is located next to the registration desk and will be open for the entire five days during the conference.

On Sunday, we’re sponsoring two workshop sessions to showcase new programs. The first will highlight a member-only Global Virtual Store Tour repository in partnership with The RetailNet Group. If you’re interested in learning more about how to leverage this powerful new tool, you’ll want to attend a RNG-hosted workshop Sunday after lunch. The second workshop features a powerful selling and informational tool being launched by GMDC and The Retail Gateway, called GMDC365. GMDC365.org is a public website, built for members and nonmembers of GMDC, for all retail and supplier companies looking for category planning and product discovery conveniently streamlined to access from your office or laptop.

If you are not able to attend a Sunday workshop, both RNG and TRG will offer daily demonstrations in the CCC Lounge area throughout the conference.

GMDC continues to advance its educational leadership and business insights initiatives in 2013 and beyond. Available at this conference is a copy of the whitepaper that was released earlier this year, “Selling wellness across the entire store,” which outlines opportunities, based on exclusive consumer insights on how to monetize health/beauty/wellness and general merchandise products with concrete steps to make these products leaders at the retail level.

The GMDC Education Council also plans to release “The changing healthcare scene @ retail” this summer. It is an educational document that helps members and senior executives understand and profitably leverage the health-and-wellness opportunities triggered by the Affordable Care Act. This paper compellingly tells how retailers are in a sweet spot to deliver healthcare products and services. It states how retail mainstays — pharmacy, OTCs and clinics — can play a role in helping doctors and hospitals. It also offers essential tips for retail success in the changing U.S. healthcare environment.

This is an exciting year at GMDC, and we want you to take part by leveraging your membership not only at our conferences, but also year-round by staying connected with retail, wholesale, supplier and service company members via our many new services. Thank you for your continued support, and have a terrific conference.

Bill Anderson is chairman of the Global Market Development Center and group VP drug store, beauty, GM, floral and services for H-E-B.

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