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GMDC|Retail Tomorrow Using Virtual Format For 2020 Conferences

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Retail industry trade association Global Market Development Center (GMDC)|Retail Tomorrow says it will pivot this year’s General Merchandise Conference (GM20) and Selfcare Summit (SS20) to virtual events over a three-week period taking place Oct. 5-23.

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has reimagined this year’s event offerings in order to expand member opportunities and enable product discovery in a virtual format while protecting the health and safety of its members and employees during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The members-only virtual events are anticipated to bring together more than 80 retail/wholesale companies and 250 supplier companies from across North America to connect; to help retail industry stakeholders satisfy consumers’ health, beauty, wellness, selfcare and general merchandise needs; and to spark innovation for the marketplace.

The virtual events will guide members through the resulting new business landscape, inspire new product assortments and merchandising strategies based on post-COVID shopping trends and provide resources for navigating the anticipated lasting effects on the industry as they continue to unfold.

“As an association born out of industry disruption, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has delivered industry-first opportunities for the past 50 years, from “speed-networking” meetings to a virtual meeting platform for members to mic-drop quick pitch presentations. Now is a perfect time to leverage this expertise and scale it for the benefit of our members who are seeking new ways to connect,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of Colorado Springs, Colorado-based GMDC|Retail Tomorrow. “While we all work through a changing retail landscape, we look forward to exploring new and innovative solutions for our members to network and enable product discovery as we transition to a virtual format this year.”

The virtual format events will be hosted on the GMDC*Connect video conferencing platform, bringing together the capabilities and member connections that GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has long spearheaded in a way that meets the industry’s needs in 2020, including: networking meetings; live and recorded learning track sessions focused on GM, selfcare and post-COVID consumer trends; and the Preview Box program that delivers participating suppliers’ products into the hands of retailers and wholesalers prior to the events.

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s Strategic Executive Connection (SEC) meetings are scheduled for the week of Oct. 5, for General Merchandise and Selfcare Summit participants, while Buyer’s Choice meetings will occur Oct. 12-23. Retailers, wholesalers and suppliers will utilize a new self-scheduling tool to arrange meetings, allowing for a customized conference experience. The extended duration of the conference, combined with new virtual capabilities, will enable more meetings and enhance connectivity among retailers and suppliers.

“We know this has been an extraordinarily challenging year, and we are committed to all our members as we operate within the current climate. We recently published an open letter to the Industry to extend our support to non-essential suppliers that are getting left behind amid the consumer’s focus on essential products. Now, we enter a new phase to further support the industry by enabling strategic continuity as we reimagine our event program to deliver what the industry needs from us at this time,” Spear said. “We are grateful for the full support of our retail board to reinvent our events both now, and in the future. Retailers and wholesalers like Wegmans, Kroger, Southeastern Grocers, UNFI, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Wakefern and many more are committed to attend and eager to meet with our supplier members. We welcome you to join us in October as we navigate what is undoubtedly a changed retail landscape.”

For more information about registration and conference programming, visit gmdc.org/virtual-events.

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