Gearing Up for Marketplace
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace Meeting kicks off Saturday in San Diego. If the Annual was any indicator, odds are this year’s gathering will be more robust and upbeat than last year’s Boston show. Last year was a tough year for attendees at Marketplace. The aisle attendance was sparse and moods were low. Although Boston is a beautiful city and the venue was good, many retailers feel more at home in San Diego — the leading host for Marketplace. A few manufacturers who haven’t shown in years, such as Jesse’s Girl, are headed back to the show looking to inject sizzle.
At Annual, retailers said they’ve got inventories and costs in check. Now they want to boost top-line volume. To do that, they need products that shoppers want. With that as a backdrop, Marketplace should really vibrate with excitement. It does look promising because, according to NACDS, the meeting is sold out for the first time. The chains coming represent $500 billion in buying power.
New this year to the very successful Meet the Market program where buyers and sellers get together for one-on-one gatherings is a template for presentations and leave-behind materials. The Meet the Market Presentation Template is designed to help Meet the Market manufacturers convey to retailers the information they need to evaluate a product and company. This should streamline the process and make it more efficient. There will be “how to do business” sessions with key retailers including Meijer, ShopKo, Costco, Wegmans, CVS, Kmart, Walgreens and the Chain Drug Consortium.
While the ECRM shows are certainly important, especially on a category-by-category basis, the Marketplace meeting is like no other in the industry. With selling the entire store and the blurring of health and beauty, Marketplace is the only show in the industry where suppliers from all areas exhibit their wares in one place. In fact, several buyers said they walk the entire show to look for trends in other segments, too. Buyers polled headed to Marketplace said they’d be looking for new items, customized displays and ideas about how to drive sales without as many promotions. Many want to hear how manufacturer moves away from buy-one-get-one deals are impacting sales.
This year’s Marketplace promises to pulsate with excitement. After a few years of empty aisles and down faces, the prognosis is for grins. However, one seasoned professional said this is still only the beginning of a turnaround. “We’re only at first base,” she said. Still, NACDS looks like it should be a home run.
People, Place and Things
A few words with Jesse Lawrence, creator of Jesse’s Girl cosmetics. Lawrence will feature makeup artists in his booth at Marketplace.
WWDBeautyNews: How is business?
Lawrence: Our business is good. We didn’t walk away from quality during the recession and at the same time, people were trading down to mass and finding us. I think the beauty cycle will come full circle and buyers will be looking for new and different again.
WWDBeautyNews: Why did you decide to bring makeup artists to Marketplace?
Lawrence: We hadn’t done Marketplace in a few years and we wanted to liven it up. I got a very large booth and we’re going to project the makeup demonstrations. We found all of these makeup artists using our products on YouTube and we’re giving them samples and finding it a great way to get our name out.
What’s In Store
Virtual Makeover: Wal-Mart is quietly testing a virtual makeup mirror in a 90-day trial at 10 stores in various locations around the country. The technology uses IBM, Sprint and EZface to allow shoppers to test makeup virtually by taking a photo and scanning barcoded cosmetics that are applied to the image. Shoppers can save their image and e-mail it to themselves.
Rite Aid’s Skin Cancer Foundation Road To Healthy Skin Tour: Rite Aid is offering free full-body skin cancer screenings and sun care information as part of a national outreach program.