BOSTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Meet the Market program on Saturday afforded the more than 250 retail buyers in attendance a bit of a preview of what new product ideas and launches will be showcased at the conference.
Executives in attendance were upbeat when speaking of what’s to come, with one retail buyer suggesting that by mid-morning he had seen enough innovative new products to make the show worthwhile — and give his category managers plenty to do on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Carma Labs used the event to introduce its national launch into skin care with a line of Carmex-branded Healing Lotions. The line of three skin care products became a top brand in a test market with a major retailer, Carma Labs’ Kirk Hodgdon told Drug Store News.
New-to-the-industry Help Remedies was identified as another innovator with its line of over-the-counter medicines designed and merchandised to appeal to a younger demographic.
Smart Health fielded a new line of visually appealing wristwatches replete with a heart rate monitor. The watches still are fairly conservative looking — designed for mass channel appeal. But for those retailers looking to break out of the box, one of the Smart Health executives was sporting “the Bling,” a heart rate monitoring watch styled with what looked like cubic zirconia circling the watch face.
And Hyland’s was showing the new packaging for its soon-to-be-reintroduced Hyland’s Teething Tablets. Last week, Hyland’s asked its Facebook fans for broadcast commercial ideas to be incorporated into the media program heralding that product’s return to market.
There also was a fair representation of “fresh” on hand as more retailers seek to augment their convenient food offerings. Crunchies Food Co., which is making a push into mass with its line of freeze-dried fruit snacks, was identified as one of those “innovators” by one retailer.
All told, NACDS hosted 76 retail companies and 281 supplier companies on Saturday for the annual Meet the Market program. The more than 250 retail buyers fielded more than 7,000 appointments, NACDS stated.
“We continue to evaluate feedback from both the retail buyers and the exhibitors, and have worked closely with both to insure that exhibitors meet with the appropriate buyer,” Larry Lotridge, NACDS VP conference services, told Drug Store News. “The feedback was extremely positive, and the Meet the Market program continues to be a vital factor in the success of the Marketplace conference.”
NACDS again hosted a Meet the Market Presentation Template webinar prior to this year’s Meet the Market, in which NACDS introduced a meeting template created in conjunction with NACDS membership that succinctly captures all of the information retailers typically use to evaluate a new product or company.