Guide To Success

Developed by members of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board for first-time attendees and long-time participants, who are interested in maximizing their opportunities at the NACDS Annual Meeting. The Retail Advisory Board consists of executives from retail and associate (supplier) NACDS members.

Meeting Format

The meeting is a combination of Business Programs, strategic exchange appointments and social networking opportunities. During the strategic exchange appointments, it is common to see senior executives of major retail and pharmacy organizations meet with their counterparts from leading CPG or pharmaceutical companies. The meetings are vibrant, the exchanges are sometimes animated, and the results can be profound.

Who Attends?

Attendance at the Annual Meeting is comprised of the senior management team responsible for operating the business including marketing, merchandising, supply chain, operations, pharmacy, digital and related functions in both CPG and pharmacy, and their associate member/supplier counterparts.


The primary reason executives attend the NACDS Annual Meeting are the opportunities to meaningfully change the trajectory of their companies. This is accomplished by having appointments with trading partners and other industry-allied companies such as technology providers, manufacturer agents, other suppliers, etc. Appointments between retailers and suppliers, with preset agendas, are recommended and are normally made well in advance of the meeting. We encourage associate members to contact the specific companies and individuals you would like to meet with during the Annual Meeting. Use your sales team, brokers, others to help you make an appointment.

Appointment Planning Tips

  • Start your planning early – now! Become familiar with the Schedule and Participants pages of the Annual Meeting website and start to build your agenda. The Participants page has a video that demonstrates how to use the myriad of ways to see who attends the meeting.
  • Determine who you want to meet with and what you want to accomplish with them. Check the Participants page frequently for new attendees and their contact information. Familiarize yourself with the attendee and their company and make sure you are meeting with the right person.
  • If the company you want to meet with has not yet registered, check the previous year’s attendee list on the Participants page. It could be that the company/individual has not yet registered and an invitation from you might remind them to register. Additionally, if they know you want to meet with them, it may encourage them to attend.
  • When you invite someone to meet with you, have a concise proposition and tell them up front what the potential opportunity could mean to their business.
  • If you are unknown to the attendee, call for the appointment yourself; it’s much more productive than having an assistant do it. Be prepared to answer the hard question, “How will we benefit from meeting with you?”
  • If you have a broker, or an independent sales and marketing firm relationship, ask them to help you set appointments.
  • If you are a smaller or new company consider engaging with a broker. We can assist you with a list of current Sales & Marketing Companies and Manufacturer Representatives. Visit the Participants page for a list of manufacturer representatives attending the Annual Meeting.
  • Extend dinner invitations and make reservations well in advance of the meeting. You can always reduce the number for the reservation or cancel.

Strategic Exchange Appointment Tips -
After the Meeting is Set and Onsite

  • Develop a convincing proposition for each meeting as to why they will benefit from a meeting with you. This is not an item/price meeting. Retailers are looking for big ideas and enhancing strategic relationships. Focus should be on 12-24 months, not the next couple of quarters.
  • Make sure you have done your homework on the retailer. Check out their website, download their app, examine their social media and retail media network and learn as much as you can about the company.
  • Obtain bios of key executives you do not know and be prepared to send bios of your executives to the individual(s) with whom you have an appointment.
  • Develop a “one-pager” summarizing the important points about your company, key products, point of difference, and any performance matrices that set you apart from your competition.
  • Take notes and define follow-up after the meeting – this may be your most critical success factor.
  • Ask for a mobile phone number from the individuals you have appointments with, should there be schedule changes or location changes due to inclement weather.


ANN has the Answers

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  • Get the most up-to-date conference information and personalize your schedule.
  • Search for participating companies, bookmark favorites and navigate based on your location.
  • Access social media to keep up on all the buzz surrounding the event.

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