COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Following the success of its virtual General Merchandise (GM) Conference and Selfcare Summit events last October, leading retail industry trade association Global Market Development Center (GMDC)|Retail Tomorrow has announced a series of virtual events for 2021. The events will enhance business connectivity for members and trading partners as the industry continues to navigate the disruption caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Focused on general merchandise, selfcare, housewares and holiday seasonal categories and scheduled over several weeks, event attendees will have the flexibility to schedule strategic and discovery meetings throughout the year to more frequently engage with current and potential trading partners:
- April 6-23: Spring GM and Selfcare Strategic Executive Connection (SEC) Meetings, in partnership with the International Housewares Association (IHA)
- June 1-11: Summer GM and Selfcare Discovery Sessions (Buyer’s Choice)
- September 14-23: Fall GM and Selfcare Strategic Executive Connection (SEC) Meetings
- October 13-14: Holiday Seasonal Strategic and Discovery Sessions
“Last October, we shifted our legacy GM Conference and Selfcare Summit events from in-person to a virtual setting in an effort to navigate the ongoing pandemic, while continuing to deliver opportunities for our members to conduct business despite the disruption caused by COVID-19,” said Patrick Spear, president & CEO of GMDC|Retail Tomorrow. “Following our successful pivot, we gathered feedback from and listened to our members, evaluating what worked well during our virtual events and identifying where we could improve. We quickly discovered that more frequent, category-specific events better position our members to conduct business and grow in the ever-evolving COVID-19 landscape, and our unique capabilities to facilitate strategic and meaningful connections position us to fulfill this industry need.”
In April, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow and IHA will partner to offer their respective members the opportunity to connect and uniquely collaborate with members from each association, enabling IHA members to meet with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow non-food retailers and wholesalers and suppliers.
- April 6-9: Session 1 – Selfcare Categories
- April 13-16: Session 2 – GM Categories
- April 20-23: Session 3 – Connect GROCERY, in partnership with IHA
“IHA’s mission is to bring buyers and sellers together regardless of format, and we are excited to work with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow to connect our supplier members with their buyer members during this virtual event,” said Derek Miller, IHA president. “Non-foods is an important and profitable category for grocery retailers, and until the industry can gather again in-person at The Inspired Home Show, this type of opportunity delivers the kind of new product and supplier discovery that retailers are craving right now.”
During the April event, attendees will have the opportunity to take part in 45-minute meetings via the GMDC*Connect video conferencing platform, powered by Zoom, scheduled at the top of every hour from 10 a.m.-5:45 p.m. ET. The meetings will be mutually matched, with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow building all meeting schedules to accommodate participants’ schedules and availability.
Buyers will indicate their interest in meeting with specific sellers by way of a ranking system to express high interest/some interest/low interest/no interest, while sellers will indicate their interest in any meetings with buyers with a yes/no qualification. Participating companies are not limited in the number of colleagues they’re able to bring to each meeting.
There is no registration fee for the event. Participating suppliers will be invoiced for each meeting scheduled and accepted during the event, but will also have the opportunity to register for all virtual events and meetings that will take place during the 2021 series, including the Preview Box program that delivers to retail and wholesale buyers a sneak peek of participating suppliers’ products prior to meeting.
“The nature of the retail experience and how we connect and conduct business is completely changed,” added Spear. “While our events will look and feel different in 2021, they will continue to deliver the same benefits expected by our members, only more frequently. “
For more information about GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s 2021 virtual event series, visit www.gmdc.org/gmdc-virtual-