GMDC Celebrates 45-Year Anniversary

Association looks back at top retail innovations through the decades

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 5, 2015 – Global Market Development Center celebrates its 45-year anniversary this month with a retrospective look at the top retail innovations as well as the association’s own industry-changing moves since the 1970s.

“We are proud to celebrate our 45th anniversary as a testament to past successes as well as a launchpad for future strategies which will continue to reimagine and revolutionize the retail industry,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC. “Early on, GMDC emerged as the go-to association for all stakeholders who not only wanted to navigate the industry, but also set innovative trends. We continue to grow and transform through the dedication of our membership and their visionary leaders in the retail, wholesale, supplier and service/solution company landscape.”

From the introduction of the first supermarkets to today’s mecca of digitized retail, GMDC fosters growth in Health Beauty Wellness and General Merchandise categories of commerce through connectivity, collaboration and creativity. According to “The Evolution of Retail: Reinventing the Customer Experience,” released by audit, advisory and tax firm KPMG, industry changes during the last half-century mirrored milestones of change inside GMDC during national and global demographics, economics and technology shifts.

  1. 1970s – Stores began using barcodes as chain stores dominate the marketplace. The association that would become GMDC is established as a connective trade association, hosting its first marketing conference for members such as Carlie C’s (IGA) and Merchants Distributors, Inc. The association introduces corporate “speed dating” at conferences to maximize member connections.
  2. 1980s – Big box and discount retailers including Wal-Mart and Costco reface the customer experience with stores that cross categories. Ahold USA joins GMDC as the association admits direct-buying supermarket chains to membership.
  3. 1990s – The marketplace goes digital with the launch of GMDC opens membership to service merchandisers, non-direct-buying supermarket chains, club stores and later admits all mass market wholesale and retail channels to membership.
  4. 2000s – Computer and technology stores plug into the market and Toys R Us unveils its store-in-store concept.  The association rebrands itself as the Global Market Development Center, while the Health and Beauty Care Marketing Conference is rebranded to the Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference to capture the emerging health and wellness consumer opportunity.
  5. 2010s – Smart phones and tablets mobilize the marketplace, equipping retailers, wholesalers and service companies by expediting commerce processes. Brick and mortar stores incorporate mobile technologies with apps offering digital coupons, digital wallets and in-store mobile push marketing. GMDC digitizes many facets of member communication and introduces GMDC*Connect, a virtual meeting tool offering live and recorded knowledge-sharing infocasts, and launches a mobile app for its conferences. The association also releases the GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy, a tool for tracking critical sales information by category within General Merchandise.
  6. 2020s – Industry research predicts physical store sizes will shrink as up to 20% of retail purchases shift online. The growth of shoppers managing their own health care will increase demand for space in over-the-counter, health and wellness and healthy food options. GMDC continues to be an industry trendsetter, offering innovative tools and actionable insights to its growing membership and helping to maintain leadership positions across respective businesses.

GMDC will celebrate its 45-year anniversary at its 2015 Health Beauty Wellness Conference taking place October 1-5 in Phoenix, Ariz. For information on how to become a GMDC member, click here.