Walmart’s Bauza keynotes Mack Elevation Forum

BY Michael Johnsen

DENVER — “Show me white spaces and create [value] that I don’t already have.” That’s what one retailer polled by the Mack Elevation Forum said regarding what suppliers need to do to score a win. And that may be both the challenge and the opportunity for suppliers today as they prepared for NACDS Marketplace meetings.

(For pictures from the Elevation Forum, click here.)

Two days before the show floor opened, more than 20 senior executives and keynote speaker Carmen Bauza, Walmart VP beauty and personal care, gathered as part of the latest Elevation Forum just down the street from the Colorado Convention Center to engage in a top-line discussion around how to best score those wins and maintain that continued generation of success going forward.

Bauza also discussed with attendees Walmart’s back-to-basics strategy that emphasizes value through everyday low pricing, coupled with unique solutions for its shoppers. 

Retailers today are looking for more than the latest line extensions or new product introductions being replicated across the retail landscape, noted program founder Dan Mack, EVP strategic business development for the Swanson Group. They’re looking for new learnings around consumer needs, coupled with compelling programs that create a unique customer experience.

Past and present successes sometimes can serve as the most significant barriers to delivering on those retail needs, Mack noted. Mack outlined three “pitfalls of power.”

  • First, the assumption that the past is a fair indicator of the present and subsequently that the present is a fair indicator of the future;
  • Second, many successful suppliers ignore critical feedback; and
  • Third, many successful suppliers fail to recognize the changing nuances within their businesses that could fast make their solutions obsolete. “It’s not only that you’re not seeing [those nuances], you’re not open to them,” Mack cautioned.

One way to deliver on that retailer need for unique offerings is to align a supplier’s product development and business analysis against a particular retailer’s core focal points, even if that means doing something as counterintuitive as helping to drive a retailer’s noncompetitive private-brand offerings.
It’s about contributing total category value beyond exceeding an individual supplier’s profit-per-sq.-in. hurdles. “We’ve got to change the nomenclature,” noted Bruce Kramer, Wahl Clipper VP sales and marketing, North America Consumer. “We’ve got to stop calling [retail strategy meetings] ‘category line reviews’ and start calling them ‘category growth sessions.’”

Another valuable learning to come out of this forum: Communication flow in these meetings shouldn’t be one way, from supplier to retailer. It may be unnecessary, for example, to rehash the historical position of a category to an experienced buyer, and instead may be more constructive to fast-forward to the meat of any presentation.



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Jun-24-2012 11:00 am

If category reviews were to become category growth meetings I think we as an industry would thrive rather than to merely survive. However, the change needs to be with how category managers and retail executives think about the business as well as how consumer brands approach the business. The growth isn’t always in the rear view mirror nor is growth necessarily reflected on IRI or other historical data. The growth comes from vision, preparation, and open minds.



Q&A: Successful Marketplace

BY Antoinette Alexander

As 2012 NACDS Marketplace swings into action, Jim Whitman, SVP member programs and services, and Steve Perlowski, VP industry affairs and member relations, talked with Drug Store News about the highlights of this year’s event and how attendees can make the meeting a success.

DSN: How can retailers and suppliers make the most of this year’s event?

Jim Whitman: We are continuing and improving some of the standards, like Meet the Market on Saturday and our Meet the Retailer on Sunday, as well as on Monday the addition of two educational programs that we will be doing. …

Meet the Market on Saturday has become institutionalized and is one of the distinguishing factors of Marketplace. … On Sunday, we have an excellent lineup [of retailers and speakers from those retailers], and it represents the industry in terms of traditional food, mass, drug, dollar, [etc.] …

[Meet the Retailer] has turned into something the retailers really look forward to doing because it is a great way to put their company forward … [to discuss with suppliers] the company’s goals, how they are looking at business [and] how [they approach business], not only at Marketplace but … throughout the year.

DSN: What are some new elements that attendees will see this year?

Steve Perlowski: Just like a retail store, the exhibit hall is full of products, services, information and education. To enhance that, this year we are going to have a [digital learning center] where we are working with one of our associate members, a company called Inmar. … They are going to have, just inside the exhibit floor, a learning center where they are going to put on presentations during the day on the floor … talking about how consumers use social and mobile, both at home and in the store; how it works in the store from a cash flow standpoint; and how you analyze whether or not the campaign was successful. …

Then on Monday morning, we will have two education sessions.
The first [session is] titled “Inside the Mind of the Shopper: Understanding the Difference in Motivation by Generations,” … [and] attendees will find out how differently you need to connect with consumers based on what generation they are in. …

The second session is called “Game-Changing Marketing: Best Practices for a Digital World.” As more and more of our members are looking at how to drive significant sales increases, the whole concept of digital and social are top of mind. We are partnering with Coca-Cola and Facebook. … It is the first time we’ve had Facebook at any of our events.


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Jun-24-2012 12:14 pm

I agree with Jim Whitman that Meet the Market has become one of the most important events in the industry. I would love to see the emergence of a 2-day or 3-day Meet the Market format where suppliers would meet with more retailers and more retailers would meet with more suppliers. I would encourage all of my consumer branded clients to attend and fully participate with top notch preparation. I would also encourage all retailers to do the same!



Study: African-American, Hispanic shoppers rapidly adopting shopping technologies

BY Antoinette Alexander

DENVER — Looking to target multicultural consumers in today’s tech-savvy environment? If so, then you’ll be interested to know that, according to a recent study, African-Americans and Hispanics are adopting new shopping technologies at a faster rate than Caucasians.

According to the latest issue of "The Checkout," an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, African Americans and Hispanics are adopting new shopping technologies at a faster rate than Caucasians, with 18% of African-American shoppers and 16% of Hispanic shoppers using their mobile device to make purchases as compared with 10% of Caucasians.

African-American shoppers (21% versus 13% of Caucasian shoppers) use their phone to read product reviews and maintain shopping lists and Hispanic shoppers (20% versus 13% of Caucasian shoppers) use their mobile device to compare prices on products, according to the study. Despite smartphone penetration skewing lower among African-Americans and Hispanics than Caucasians, both are leading the charge by using mobile as a means to access the digital world of shopping aids.

"Basic mobile communication through SMS and mobile websites should be the points of entry. Mobile marketing to multicultural shoppers is a huge opportunity," stated Martin Ferro, senior account planner for Velocidad, a Hispanic promotional, retail and shopper marketing capability of The Integer Group.

Additional findings on mobile shopping from "The Checkout:


  • Almost as many shoppers are using coupons from email and e-newsletters (49%) as they are from the Sunday paper (57%);

  • Men might be the traditional lovers of tech toys, but when it comes to using technology to enhance shopping, women are ahead of the curve; and

Having children in the household drives accelerated adoption of digital technologies to deliver shopping solutions for busy moms and dads.

"Digital shoppers are just shoppers," stated Ben Kennedy, group director of mobile marketing at Integer. "Digital shopping tools are illustrative of the continued blurring of the on- and offline spaces. Today’s reality is that shoppers use whatever tools they have on hand to make them smarter, savvier shoppers."


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