Q&A: GMDC’s Mechelse discusses how Selfcare Summit addresses consumerism

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Q&A: GMDC’s Mechelse discusses how Selfcare Summit addresses consumerism

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is launching the Selfcare Summit from Oct. 3 to 7 in Indianapolis. The event will entirely be focused on two of the biggest trends in health care — consumerization and the increasing importance of self-care. Drug Store News caught up with GMDC vice president of insights and communications Mark Mechelse to discuss the trends that brought about the summit and how the event will help attendees prepare for the future.

Drug Store News: Tell us about the GMDC|Retail Tomorrow Selfcare Summit 2019.
Mark Mechelse: GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is launching the Selfcare Summit to help retail industry stakeholders satisfy consumers’ health, beauty and wellness needs; spark innovation; and remain relevant in a changing marketplace. As this is the only industry gathering focused exclusively on the consumerization of health care, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow quantifies and qualifies how the self-care movement is reshaping health care and the future of retail.

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is uniquely positioned to lead the $100 billion self-care revolution, given our continual focus and research on consumer and shopper perspectives. The Selfcare Summit coincides with our 50th anniversary and elevates our focus from connecting suppliers and retailers to fostering uncommon partnerships.

DSN: What is self-care?
MM: Self-care is a mindset and holistic lifestyle approach to achieving improved physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual health and wellness. A global movement, self-care is a response to the idea that legacy thinking about food, movement, daily routines, work, relationships and overall living conditions can cause harm if not reconsidered or mitigated.

DSN: What are the ramifications for retailers and suppliers?
MM: Self-care is at the heart of why, what and where consumers buy. The $64 billion health non-prescription category is growing an aggregate 1.5% across food, drug and mass retailers.

Rising healthcare costs are motivating consumers to focus on proactive and healthy lifestyle choices, driving new consumer habits and buying patterns through health and wellness solutions within retail. Shoppers now also have clearer sightlines on how products are made, grown and raised, and many want to support brands and companies that share a similar concern for sustainability.

Many healthcare categories already have high household penetration and are used as part of a daily regimen. As a result, distribution of these products is widespread, with little differentiation in offerings from one outlet to another. When a category becomes ubiquitous, shopper loyalty is limited.

To win, retailers must drive trips and transactions. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s opportunity is to inspire retail members to build shopper loyalty through retail differentiation and help them understand how various categories interplay with one another according to self-care occasions and health conditions. Understanding what is driving the consumer back into physical stores is especially relevant and urgent as more products, especially high-profit margin nonfoods, continue to migrate online due to convenience.

DSN: Who should be attending this event?
MM: All wellness-focused organizations and entrepreneurs — from buyers, sellers, merchandisers, dieticians, thought leaders, healthcare executives, beauty influencers and anyone “self-care” — have an opportunity to grow their understanding and create new business opportunities at the Selfcare Summit.

For buyers and sellers specifically, the Selfcare Summit brings GMDC|Retail Tomorrow member buyers and sellers together for face-to-face meetings and establishes connections with innovators and start-ups, all while enlarging their vision of self-care’s role in retail through insightful learning tracks.

DSN: How will self-care transform the retail industry over the next decade?
MM: As the baby boomers age, we have an increasing population over the age of 65. Today, 4-in-10 households have someone suffering from chronic or acute conditions, influencing household purchases. And with rising healthcare costs, shoppers are more aware of what they are putting into their bodies and investing in different ways for their well-being.

No department is benefiting more than the area in front of the pharmacy — the large and important health, beauty, wellness and personal care department. Based on projected growth, this department is not only critical to self-care success, butis also positioned to become even more competitive. To win long-term, retailers must compete differently, understand unique occasions and strategize their merchandise and assortment accordingly, then differentiate by becoming a credible and trusted source of healthy living information and solutions.