The fourth annual NACDS Total Store Expo (TSE) brought thousands of retailers and suppliers together to see the latest products and learn about emerging technologies and trends in health and wellness, beauty, pharmacy and more.

The TSE offers a cross-industry approach focused on the entire store, and the innovative format has proven to be a success.

On Saturday alone, more than 7,000 Meet the Market meetings took place, jump-starting business transactions that flourished throughout the conference.

NACDS Leaders Speak

During his remarks at the Business Program, NACDS Chairman Martin Otto, chief merchant and chief financial officer of H-E-B, described the ability of pharmacy-based healthcare solutions to help confront an array of socio-economic challenges facing the nation. NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, spoke about NACDS’ effectiveness in putting the “public” back into public policy.

Otto said NACDS has three essential roles: to create a marketplace for suppliers and retailers to get together; to advocate on behalf of pharmacy; and to participate actively in public policy solutions.

Otto noted that access to pharmacy patient care can help to reverse trends in increasing poverty and declining education. He said, “…it’s important that we as an industry help to take the lead in what healthcare and the related pieces look like,” adding that “…we should work very, very hard to provide access to quality, affordable healthcare to all Americans.” He said that spending on healthcare is crowding out spending for education and social services, which increases poverty and creates a vicious cycle. Otto said that because there is not enough money to adequately fund these priorities, Americans need to find ways to spend more wisely. Otto emphasized that there are solutions and, he said, “collectively we can lead the way—and we at NACDS can play a big part in that.”

Anderson described the declining state of political efficacy in the nation – which refers to the people’s belief that they can affect, and have a say in, the direction of the government – and contrasted that with NACDS’ member-focused and patient-centered approach to everything it does. He gave examples of NACDS programs which reflect the Association’s “authenticity of mission and effectiveness in action” in addressing challenges like prescription drug abuse and access; improving patient care; fostering retailer-supplier partnerships that benefit consumers; and increasing engagement in the political arena. He also described separate NACDS Foundation initiatives that focus on advancing public health, including education related to the Zika virus and increased screening for HIV and Hepatitis C.

Anderson noted there are countless examples to show how NACDS has put the public back into public policy, but perhaps most significantly is by recent advocacy efforts supporting legislation that addresses the opioid addiction crisis currently facing the nation. Anderson referenced two recent bipartisan and NACDS-backed pieces of legislation, which were signed into law by the president this year: the Ensuring Patient Access and Drug Enforcement Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. By actively addressing the issue of opioid addiction, NACDS put patients first, ensuring that there is zero tolerance for drug abuse, while also ensuring patients have access to medications they legitimately need.

Opportunities to Do Business Better

Hopefully, chains and suppliers alike appreciated efforts to help make the meetings conducted during the TSE efficient and productive. In the months leading up to the event, NACDS made available to exhibitors resources designed to help them prepare to make their pitches most effectively – which of course can help the exhibitors but also the retailers who are investing their time in the meetings. NACDS also presented a session for exhibitors titled “I Got on the Shelf, Now What?” – featuring Mark Young, founder and CEO of Jekyll & Hyde Advertising. Daymond John of Shark Tank also spoke with Meet the Market participants, advising them on how to refine the all-important elevator pitch. First-time exhibitors benefited from the insights of three panels of NACDS Retail Advisory Board members, who shared their hard-earned insights from decades of industry success.

The popular Product Showcase at the event gave retailers looking for new merchandising ideas the opportunity to preview products in advance of the TSE, and again in the showcases on the exhibit hall floor, giving them invaluable exposure. Product Showcase winners were announced on Tuesday, with products ranging from baby care to home healthcare items. NACDS also created an Online Press Room for TSE exhibitors to announce their new products and other appropriate news related to their company’s participation. Companies posted their press releases online in advance of the conference, giving them an added media coverage advantage.

The TSE offers a cross-industry approach focused on the entire store, and the innovative format has proven to be a success. Everything from the packed Insight Sessions—where participants delved into topics ranging from branding, the supply chain and pharmaceutical trends—to the sold-out Exhibit Hall, the Vision 2027 attraction on the show floor, and the tremendously popular Meet the Market and Meet the Retailer programs, reinforced that the NACDS Total Store Expo is the trade show gold standard in the industry.

The 2017 TSE will be held August 19-22 in San Diego.

Watch highlights of NACDS Total Store Expo on NACDS-TV, and view photos of the event on the NACDS Total Store Expo Flickr album.