Please note these FAQ's are being updated regularly.
Q: Why is GMDC|Retail Tomorrow shifting its co-located conferences to virtual formats?
A: GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s pivot to a virtual format for GM20 and SS20 will ensure the health and safety of all participants during the COVID-19 pandemic and accommodate any business travel restrictions in place that would have prevented members from attending in person. The virtual events will include our signature Buyer’s Choice and SEC meeting formats, enabling business continuity and new product discovery. We’ll also guide members through the resulting new business landscape and provide resources for navigating the anticipated lasting effects on the industry as they continue to unfold.
Q: Does this mean the two conferences will be combined?
A: Similar to previous years, the events will not be combined; however, members are able to register to virtually attend GM20, SS20, or both. The virtual events will take place over a three-week period from October 5-23, 2020.
Q: What kind of programs will be offered in this new virtual setup?
A: The virtual events will be hosted on the GMDC*Connect video conferencing platform, featuring the capabilities and member connections that GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has long spearheaded, including: 15 or 30-minute Buyer’s Choice meetings, scheduled through the Buyer’s Choice Discovery Guide; 45- minute SEC meetings, scheduled through a mutual match process; live and recorded learning track sessions focused on GM, Selfcare, Retail Tomorrow, and post-COVID consumer trends; and the PreviewBox program that delivers participating suppliers’ products into the hands of retailers and wholesalers prior to the events.
Q: Will the General Merchandise Conference remain virtual in 2021?
A: Given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the plan for this year is to schedule GM20 as a virtual event this October. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is always looking for ways to innovate its conferencing format and will keep the industry informed of any changes in its conference scheduling for 2021 as updates become available.
Q: Will the virtual events be recorded for attending/viewing during later dates or times?
A: Trading partners and meeting participants will have the ability to decide if specific Buyer’s Choice and SEC meetings will be recorded for later review or sharing with a broader team. All plenary sessions, including Learning Tracks, will be recorded and made available to GMDC|Retail Tomorrow members and conference attendees at www.gmdc.org.
Q. Will GMDC|Retail Tomorrow provide systems training for the virtual platform? If so, when?
A. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow will be conducting regularly scheduled video meeting participant training sessions, beginning in early September and extending through the first week of October.
Q: With the disruption brought on by COVID-19 in mind, why should members spend budget and time attending GM20 or Selfcare Summit during such an uncertain time in business?
A: The COVID-19 outbreak has forced the cancelation of many other industry events and the ability to maintain business continuity has been upended. Rather than canceling, shifting to a virtual event format while retaining prescheduled strategic, continuity, and discovery meetings will empower members to seize an opportunity this year to make up for lost business opportunities and prepare for the industry’s evolving future.
Q: Has the conference agenda changed?
A: Components of the GM Conference will remain the same, but the dates and times of meetings, programs and events have changed. Visit the Pre-Conference page to view changes.
Q: Has the pre-conference preparation and pre-conference schedule changed?
A: The pre-conference preparation dates and times have changed to reflect the new conference dates.
Q: Are there changes to the conference as a result of the new dates and format?
A: Components of the meetings will remain the same; however, the dates and times of meetings, programs and events have changed. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s Strategic Executive Connection (SEC) meetings are scheduled for the week of October 5, 2020, for General Merchandise and Selfcare Summit participants, while Buyer’s Choice meetings will occur October 12-23, 2020.
In addition, the length of SEC meetings have been expanded and will be scheduled based on the mutual match process, enabling joint agenda setting, and additional private strategy meeting opportunities.
Q. Will industry service providers be able to participate in pre-scheduled meetings?
A. Yes, service/solution providers will be able to participate in the SEC mutual match process and make themselves available for Buyer’s Choice meetings.
Q. Will there be a Preview Box program?
A. Yes, as in past years, the Preview Box will be an integral component for the Virtual event, and all suppliers are encouraged to participate by providing select samples for merchant review before meetings are scheduled, and for use in all meeting presentations.
Q. Will there be a Showcase program?
A. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow will be developing a unique and innovative Buyer’s Choice Discovery Guide, which will enable an experience similar to the Showcase used during physical events. Suppliers will have the opportunity to customize their submissions for the Buyer’s Choice Discovery Guide to maximize discovery of key items.
Q: Will attendees who have already registered receive refunds if they are unable to attend the virtual events?
A: Yes, refunds will be applied to 2021 dues/program registration, or refunded upon request.
Q. What is the deadline for companies to commit to participate?
A. The company sign-up deadline for the Buyer’s Choice program is Wednesday, September 16, and the company sign-up deadline for the Strategic Executive Connections (SEC) program is Friday, August 7. All companies that were previously signed-up for the Buyer’s Choice and/or SEC programs at the physical 2020 GM Conference will by default be automatically signed-up for the corresponding programs in the virtual events.