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Long Live Physical Space

March 26, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


The members of World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards perform merchandising and marketing service activities in stores around the country and the globe. They are an unquestioned stake holder in the future of the physical store. On Tuesday, April 30, Dee Warmath of NPD Group will address attendees of the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) with Long Live Physical Space: How to ensure survival of retail locations that pay your bills today! The conference will take place April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

If you listen carelessly to the description of the current retail environment, you are very likely to acquire the impression that physical stores are moving closer to extinction. Given that impression, one might be inclined to invest disproportionately in emerging channels that seem to signal the future. One problem though, the physical retail store is here to stay as the most important source of and influence on sales. However, that does not mean that every physical retail space will be spared. Warmath will provide you with insight into the survival of physical retail presence, provide you with a new perspective on growth opportunities and leave you with clear ideas for action.

Warmath is the Senior Vice President of Global Product Development & Retail Insights for The NPD Group, Inc. She is responsible for the design and delivery of innovative, solution-based applications of NPD information to address client business needs. She has 26 years of research and strategic consulting experience across a range of industries, with 20 of those focused exclusively on the retail industry and 10 in apparel retailing. Warmath is a sociologist by formal training and recently completed her Ph.D. in Consumer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her training and experiences have produced an integrated approach to research and a unique ability to translate customer research into simple, relevant, actionable insights for her clients She has expertise in qualitative, quantitative, and database methods, as well as statistical analysis and modeling.

The Warmath address is just one more reason to attend RMMC. You can click here to access the official conference website for more information and to register. One important reminder: Time is running out to take advantage of the substantially reduced room rate of $ 150/ night at the beautiful Scottsdale Plaza Resort! Reserve your room before April 4th to obtain the group rate! Call the hotel at 800-832-2025 or visit the link on the conference website.

Cleveland Research to Look at Pet Channel

March 19, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


As a reminder, World Alliance of Retail Excellence & Standards is working with Cleveland Research Company to bring relevant retail industry information to the Association. The firm is hosting a series of market research conference calls across key retail channels and these calls are open to our membership. In some instances there is a charge for the call which is payable upon registration. The next call is tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20 at 2:00 PM EST and features a look at the Pet Channel. You can register by checking your email inbox for an invitation.

Join your fellow Association members who have been taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity to gain key insights. The call will last approximately one hour and includes a Q&A session and real time chat capabilities. Following the call, participants will receive the full slide presentation and aggregated polling results. Key topics discussed on the call will be:

-Overall Pet Industry sales and growth trends.

-Trends and outlook by key retailers.

-Trends and outlook by category.

-Cost trends and outlook.

The Cleveland Research calls have proven to be very popular with the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry. Here is an upcoming schedule so you can join in:

-International Sourcing Call - April 10

-Department Store Call - April 17

-Dollar Store Call - April 24

-Drug Store Call - May 1

-Amazon/eCommerce - May 8

The topic of industry research is important to the Association and our members. It is sure to be an over-arching topic of discussion at the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) to be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. You can click here to access the official conference website for more information and to register.

HR Track at RMMC Tackles Big Issues

March 12, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


Last week we took a closer look at the Changing World Track being offered at The Retail Merchandising & Marketing Conference (RMMC), presented by World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards. Today we will focus in on the Human Resources Track. It is one of four tracks offered in a value-packed agenda that also features Sales & Marketing and Performance as track options. RMMC offers group rates so you can bring your human resources team to the event to take in these exciting breakouts.

The Human Resource Track sessions will take place on Monday, April 29 and Tuesday, April 30. Each attendee may select one breakout at 11:30 AM and another later in the afternoon.

The Monday 11:30 AM session of the HR Track will examine something of great interest to all at-retail merchandising and marketing service companies who provide people to perform in-store initiatives on behalf of retail and manufacturer clients. Will Lucero and Jennifer Betts, with ProActive Human Resources Services, will take a look at The Changing Demographic of our Labor Force.

A little later, at 3:30 PM, Rob Dooley with World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards Health Exchange will present the importance of Creating a Safe Harbor Plan for you and your employees, and provides ways in which your business can minimize taxes with the Affordable Care Act. There is no hotter topic in HR today than health care reform and the Affordable Care Act.

The HR Track concludes on Tuesday at 9:45 AM with The Foundation of a Fully Engaged Workforce. Eric Bourget, president and founder of Half Serious, will walk you through their approach to design for engagement. Using tools such as persuasive design, game mechanics and behavioral psychology, Half Serious helps organizations achieve better business results by optimizing workforce engagement.

All of this information, and more, is available on the official RMMC website including registration and a new mobile app. Visit today, register and take your place among your industry peers as together we Learn, Change, Grow.

Competitive Edge Examines Grocery e-Retailing

March 5, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


Whether you consider e-retailing an opportunity or a threat to your at-retail merchandising and marketing service business, it goes without saying that you should pay attention to how it is impacting the CPG industry and how products are brought to market. Food and grocery offerings have been a minimal part of e-retailing to date. In the latest edition of Competitive Edge, Willard Bishop Consulting takes a look at how the firm sees e-retailing evolving and the effects it will have on food retailers and manufacturers.

Competitive Edge tells us that leading players in the industry are making great efforts to make e-retailing work in the food retailing environment. This is probably due to the expectation that the practice will double over the next five years on a global basis.

So where does that leave our Association members, who specialize in performing sales building at-retail merchandising and marketing activities in stores? Competitive Edge lays out the current models for distributing products and a couple of opportunities jump out. The easiest and quickest model is store pick-up of on-line orders. Most retailers who employ this tactic need to fill orders by having associates pick from regular aisles or remodel their stores to include a pick-up area.

Another interesting aspect of this report is the impact that out-of-stocks play in the fulfilling of on-line orders. Dealing with out-of-stocks is costly on several different layers of e-retailing and cost of order fulfillment and delivery is a big hurdle to jump for retailers. They can pass the cost to the consumer, but too much will drive customers away. More and more tech savvy consumers expect delivery costs to be included and are considered table stakes for brand marketers.

Keeping pace with the future of retail is important for all of us. That is why World Association for Retail Excellence & Standards (formerly NARMS) has included the Changing World Track at the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC). This track features several speakers and workshops designed to help you navigate the evolution of the retail industry. RMMC will be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Check out the Changing World Track and register by clicking here.

RMMC Panel Discussion Provides Perspective

February 26, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


Fast forward to the last day of the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards. You have already participated in the myriad of learning, networking and business building speakers, workshops and events in Scottsdale and are now about to make your way home. Your thoughts start turning to how you can convert your experience at RMMC to real and actionable strategies and tactics. You need a sense of perspective.

On Tuesday, April 30 from 11:00 to 12:15, RMMC has the perfect vehicle to help you gain that perspective. The Retail Merchandising Panel brings together national industry leaders on a single stage to discuss and debate how the future of multi-touchpoint customer experiences is shaping up for retailers and manufacturers, and how at-retail merchandising companies can help them achieve their goals.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Lisa Calhoun, CEO of Write2Market. Calhoun, winner of the Gold Female Entrepreneur of the Year from the Stevies, crafts powerful reputations for some of the top business brands in the United States, and has worked for Jack Welch, Motorola, Kaiser Permanente and numerous other leading executives.

Here is a bit more on each of the panelists:

As CEO of ShopVisible, Sean Cook provides the strategic leadership and vision that has propelled the growth and success for his company and clients. As the author of Evolving Commerce and as a recognized industry thought leader, Cook has been published in Forbes, 1 to1 Magazine, Internet Retailer and He is also a frequent presenter at events such as IRCE, and Online Digital Summit.

As the CEO of Laddering Works, Eric Holtzclaw advises clients on the development of customer-centric products, services, marketing messages and experiences. He has over 10 years experience interviewing thousands of consumers. He speaks on evidence based consumer research, trends, leadership and entrepreneurship.

Jennifer Kwiatkowski is the Director of Circulation and Analytics for Plow and Hearth. Plow and Hearth brands provide unique, high-quality products for home, hearth, yard and garden, and quality toys. Kwiatkowski is responsible for driving business performance by developing and executing contact strategy, customer segmentation and target marketing initiatives, research, customer behavior and website analytics.

Dave McMullen is the Partner/Strategic Planning for redpepper. McMullen provides the kind of perspective and acumen that sets him apart as a creative entrepreneur and marketing leader. He received the Atlanta 2009 Agency Marketer of the Year Award, Catalyst Magazine number 14 rated Entrepreneur and the 2009 Small Business Person of the Year.

Florian Vollmer serves as Senior VP of Design and Principal at InReality. Volmer is an InfoRetail fast forwarding futurist, where he is constantly engaged in future research and process of design. He directs his foresight towards recognizing and interpreting user behaviors and mapping potential for leading brands such as The Home Depot, Tempur-Pedic and Foot Levelers.

More information on the Retail Merchandising Panel and the rest of the RMMC can be found at the official conference website. Here you will find everything you need, including a mobile app download, to plan an amazing few days to Learn, Change, Grow.

IRS and HHS Issue Proposed Regulations on Individual Mandate

February 19, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf


As business owners and operators of at-retail merchandising companies, we will be hearing a lot about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in the weeks and months ahead. The World Alliance for Retail Excellence and Standards is striving to help our members get over the jumps by establishing its own Health Exchange and by offering a session on the topic at the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) to be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

On January 30, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued two sets of proposed regulations related to the individual mandate provision of the PPACA.

The individual mandate requires most individuals to have minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty beginning in 2014. The penalty is now called a shared responsibility payment. Some individuals may qualify for an exemption so they will not be required to have coverage or pay a penalty.

The proposed regulations confirm the individual mandate requirements and outline the process for requesting an exemption. They also cover what qualifies as minimum essential coverage, how penalties will be determined and paid, who is exempt from paying the penalty and when individuals can apply for an exemption.

This document goes into greater detail and fills in some of the information that business owners and individuals will need to meet the proposed regulations. As an additional resource, this website should be useful for small businesses in the coming months.

As your trade association, the World Alliance for Retail Excellence and Standards looks forward to providing continuing news and information on the PPACA. We encourage you to attend RMMC and engage our experts in this and many other important topics as we Learn, Change, Grow.

Shopping Experience Still Revolves Around Store

February 12, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


Digital technology has shaped just about everything in our lives including the way CPG marketers and consumers connect. The evolution has caused many misconceptions about the role that at-retail plays, and will play in the future. A recently released study by PwC, as reported on by Progressive Grocer, identifies 10 myths of multichannel retailing and provides some much needed perspective on the role of social media as an important contributor to the shopping experience, but not the shopping experience itself.

The study is based on a survey of more than 11,000 shoppers worldwide, addresses misconceptions about multichannel and pulls out ideas for trading partners to keep pace with consumers. Here are some of the myths unearthed by PwC:

- Social media will become an indispensable retail channel. Social media is more likely to become a driver of shopping across all channels, rather than just a channel for online stores.

-Stores will be showrooms. The survey results said that, for most consumers, the store remains the center of the shopping experience. However, there is an important showrooming role that can be played by stores as companies discover how to drive purchases across multichannels.

- Tablets overtake PCs in shopping. Tablets and smart phones are used at the end of the purchase, particularly in-store, while shopping.

-Global consumers are becoming more similar. Retailers still need to account for local differences and trends.

- Retailers are positioned better than brands. With consumers buying direct, they do not always distinguish between retailer and brand.

-Online retail sales take away from other channels. In reality, consumers are spending more with multichannel retailers.

These myths, and the trends that debunk them, all point to the continued importance of at-retail to consumers. By extension, they also point to the critical in-store merchandising and marketing services provided by the members of the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards, formerly NARMS International. The members will be getting together to discuss these trends and others at the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. And speaking of digital technology, there is a just released RMMC Mobile App that you can use to enhance your trip to the Valley of the Sun.

Welcome to the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards

February 8, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf


In a letter to members, and expanded upon during a Town Hall meeting conference call yesterday, Executive Director Tom Caddell announced that NARMS international is rebranding itself as the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards. The change will be announced to the public via a press release to the trade media in the next few days.

During the last year, the Board of Directors and the NARMS leadership team have been working on a number of initiatives to broaden the presence and credibility of NARMS. The single largest piece was to develop a well-rounded branding and marketing strategy that would resonate with the members, retailers and manufacturer partners. Leadership feels that the challenge has been met with the adoption of a new name and several other key initiatives that go along with it.

This brand building strategy has its roots in very sound principles of Accredited Certification, Education, Resources and Research.

The Accredited Certification program answers a long standing request. It will place the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards at the forefront of retail service certification. Like ISO and ANSI. Our program is accredited and is the only one of its kind in the retail industry.

Initiatives include a complete redesign of the web site that will rank us higher in search, attract more traffic, expose additional prospects to your businesses, generate competition with other retail industry job boards, become a posting site for members only RFPs, generate educational/training opportunities for the retail workforce as-well-as manufacturers and retailers and become the go to site for proprietary and non-proprietary research. The site will be at and is currently under construction. It will be ready around the Retail Merchandising and Marketing (RMMC) Conference in April.

We will take our new brand story to several industry trade shows with significant booth exposure accompanied by targeted signage, print materials and technology-based presentations, all to generate awareness and potential business for our members. Brand awareness will be enhanced through continuous print and social media delivered through monitoring and posting on various social media platforms and the continuous release of industry related articles to 100 plus trade publications. This marketing mix includes a renewed investment in trade advertising towards promotion of our members services.

It is with deep purpose and respect to our past that NARMS International is now the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards. In the future, we encourage you to seize this opportunity and embrace your membership as the marketing and business development tool the industry expects; to visit the web site regularly for new business opportunities, new insights and to utilize the many enriched features designed to attract significantly more traffic as we move forward in the ever changing and evolving landscape of retail! Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Please contact any member of the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards staff or Board of Directors with any questions or concerns you have regarding this exciting announcement.

RMMC Speaker to Reveal What Big Brands Know

January 29, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


What if you could sit in on a meeting when billion dollar brands make their plans to go to market? At the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS, general session speaker Gerry O’Brion will show you how to use big company strategies to grow businesses of all sizes. His strategies work in any business, regardless of their budget. His general session – Grow Any Business Like a Billion Dollar Brand- will be held on Monday April 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am. A follow-up breakout session - What Big Brands Know: The Business Blueprint – takes place the same day at 11:30 am.

These presentations are packed with information, strategies and case studies about companies that are doing it right. It is a fun, thought-provoking dialogue that generates real action by the participants. Among the things you will learn are: the one thing that matters to all business, five things to do before you start marketing, getting customers to choose you, game changers for growth and reinventing your business when things get bad.

O’Brion is a nationally recognized speaker, author and marketing expert who helps companies thrive. He has worked on several billion dollar brands, and has translated his experience into strategies for any business. The sessions will help you develop an action plan to make your business stronger now and over the long term, look at your business from a fresh perspective, reexamine how you are different from your competitors and understand why that matters to your customers.

O’Brion began his career in marketing at Procter & Gamble, working with brands such as Crisco, Tide, Mr. Clean and Spic & Span. Next, he managed Coors Light, and then became VP of Marketing for Quiznos. He was most recently VP of Marketing for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

You can use the same strategies as billion dollar brands to grow your business. The strategies big brands use are not complicated, and you can learn them by attending RMMC. These sessions are a perfect example of the Learn, Change, Grow theme on display at The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) to be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Visit the official conference website to get more information and to register.

SymphonyIRI Report Examines Merchandising Trends

January 22, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


The consumer definition of value is a moving target. The widespread acceptance of online, mobile and social media marketing has gone a long way to shape the impressions of shoppers before they enter the store. Has this made traditional methods of at-retail merchandising obsolete? The January issue of Times & Trends by SymphonyIRI takes a look at current and emerging trends being embraced by CPG marketers in the ongoing battle to meet consumer needs.

This report defines merchandising activity as those employing feature ads, feature plus display, display only and price only tactics. According to the report, more than one-third of volume is sold with merchandising support across 39 percent of categories. Here are some other key findings:

-The pace of merchandising activity has been mixed during the past year, with 53 percent of categories seeing increased support. Within the drug channel, merchandising activity declined across 60 percent of categories, but support across key health and beauty care categories has risen more quickly versus the grocery channel.

-Growth in display only and price-only tactics has escalated, while combined feature/display activity has slowed.

-Merchandising activity is intensifying across many meal ingredient and meal component categories, particularly in frozen foods and fresh/perishable categories.

-In general, private brands receive less merchandising support versus their name-brand competitors.

-Merchandising programs that begin to impact the shopper in the home are having a powerful impact on sales lift.

-CPG marketers are adopting new strategies aimed at capitalizing on new technologies and building more targeted, impactful relationships with consumers.

Certainly, the merchandising tactics employed by CPG manufacturers and retailers have a direct effect on the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry who often act as their outsourced execution arm in stores. Times & Trends dives much more deeply into these trends than we can share here, so you should download your copy here.

Staying on top of trends that shape the industry is an important mission of NARMS. This commitment will be on full display at The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) to be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Visit the official conference website for more information and to register.



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