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CRN adds new regulatory conference to the calendar

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Wednesday announced that it will host a new conference, The Regulatory Summit, on May 5 at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Md.
 
“We anticipate this conference will have broad appeal for regulatory professionals in the dietary supplement and functional food industry, including senior executives, regulatory/quality managers and technical scientists," stated Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN. "We’ll cover topics of interest in regulatory affairs, as well as quality control/quality assurance,” he said. “We’d encourage companies to send more than one person as the set-up for the conference will encourage team-building opportunities resulting in strategies to prevent regulatory problems as well as practical remedies and forward-thinking solutions to address and correct them.”   
 
The Regulatory Summit, a one-day event, will feature sessions held in an interactive format to help attendees formulate clear direction and options for addressing current regulatory compliance matters confronting dietary supplements and functional foods. The conference will feature a variety of regulatory experts as session leaders, from companies, consulting firms, quality control laboratories and law firms. 
 
In addition, several FDA regulatory officials representing various units of the agency will participate as presenters and observers, providing an important interface between the supplement industry and the government authority that regulates it.
 
 
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Eight of top 10 2016 retail trends are tech driven

BY Michael Johnsen

STAMFORD, Conn. – The retail environment is constantly changing with every new style, product and season. While change is often retailer and consumer-driven, technology is shaping eight of the top 10 trends expected to have the greatest impact on retail sales in 2016 in a market brief released Wednesday by Synchrony Financial.
 
In analyzing the retail market, Synchrony Financial identified 26 trends, impacting retailers nationwide. The list was developed from ongoing retail and shopper research, and by tracking emerging and well established trends that continue to be important in the marketplace, as well as those impacting the payments space. 
 
Trends spanning multiple industries and categories relevant to its retail partners and cardholders were also reviewed.
 
Emerging from the research are 10 trends and retailer considerations compiled in Synchrony Financial’s latest brief, 10 Things to Know – the Top 10 Retail Trends for 2016. The increasing importance of technology in retail is reflected in most of the trends topping the list:
 
  1. Wearable Technology: From headsets and smartwatches to fitness and health devices, wearable technology is being embraced by shoppers for ease of accessing product and store information, offers and speed of payment;
  2. New Retail Holidays: Looking beyond the standard calendar, retailers are linking sales to special observances and creating their own shopping holidays to attract new buyers and engage with existing customers to boost loyalty and repeat spending;
  3. Voice Technology: Up to four times faster than type-and-click, voice-enabled search signals a shift in how consumers find product and service information. At the same time, innovations in language recognition will give voice a bigger role in online commerce, retail search strategies, and shopper engagement;
  4. Virtual Reality in the Shopping Experience: Virtual reality immerses consumers in sensory and personalized experiences, empowering them to interact with products and services. With mobile devices capable of delivering rich VR experiences, shoppers can tour a store or try on a new fashion anywhere, at any time;
  5. Video Streaming: Growing video-on-demand traffic and the higher likelihood of shoppers to purchase a product after watching a video, provides opportunities for retailers to consider online streaming video for product demos, display or customer service;
  6. Internet of Things: Point-of-sale information is no longer the main source of data for merchants, as millions of devices are being deployed and connected in the retail environment to collect and send data that provides valuable, real-time insights;
  7. Mobile and Alternative Payments: Expected to increase three-fold this year, mobile payments are transforming commerce. As retailers transition terminals and develop eCommerce platforms to engage with shoppers and accept new payment methods, consumers are adopting mobile wallet apps, branded wallets, and smartwatches and devices with payment capabilities;
  8. Social Network Buy Buttons: Shopping and social media have been a natural fit, but are quickly becoming more commercial. Largely driven by growing mobile usage, retailers are providing shoppers with easier functionality to purchase within a social app by adding Buy buttons that allow users to shop directly on their sites;
  9. Increased Spending on Pets: Pet expenditures continue to rise as consumer demographics and mindsets toward pets change. Recognizing pets are considered a member of the family more than ever, many retailers and veterinarians are focusing on the increasing demand for products and services that meet the needs of pet owners; and
  10. Personalization: All these trends intersect in the ability to deliver unique, personalized customer experiences. Data, tools and technology are making it possible to understand customer preferences and deliver personalized offerings, in addition to product selection and prices.
 
 
 
 
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Publix extends social media outreach to Pinterest, Instagram

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. – Publix Super Markets on Wednesday announced it has extended the company’s online social presence with fourth quarter soft launches to Pinterest (December 2015) and Instagram (October 2015). The company currently has more than 14,000 Followers on Instagram and almost 1,000 on Pinterest.
 
Pinterest provides a platform for Publix customers to discover the company’s expertise and services while Instagram allows for engagement in a fun and unique way.
 
“As a retailer passionately committed to serving our customers, our social media presence has always been about engaging with our customers where they are and extending our in-store service online,” stated Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “Pinterest allows us to inspire and entertain with recipes and holiday and event planning ideas. Instagram will further our connection with our online community through photos and videos showcasing our brand personality and strong company culture.”
 
Customer interest in Publix Instagram and Pinterest accounts was high prior to the company becoming active on the platforms. Customers had long been pinning Aprons recipes each day from www.publix.com/recipes to Pinterest and had been using #publix on Instagram to share their experiences with products, services and love for Publix in a visual way. There have been more than 300,000 photos shared on Instagram using #publix.
 
The company launched its social media presence in July 2011 debuting on Facebook with more than 10,000 Fans within the first 24 hours. Twitter followed in February 2013 with @Publix and @PublixHelps to offer customers brand content and customer service. Currently, the company has 2.4 million Fans on Facebook and more than 190,000 Followers on Twitter. 
 
 
 
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