The American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) will move into the future with a new name, but its key pillars will remain the same.
The association’s board of directors approved a measure to change the name to Convenience Distribution Association (CDA) during its meeting at the 2015 AWMA Marketplace & Solutions Expo, which took place in late February in Las Vegas.
“AWMA is going away. Not the association, but the name,” said Chairman Robert Sincavich, president of Team Sledd, based in Wheeling, W. Va. “Convenience Distribution Association is who we are and what we do.”
The switch comes as the association and its members face a changing landscape. Financially speaking, CDA is still strong, but distributors are declining in number as consolidation takes hold in the distribution industry, Sincavich explained. In addition, the industry continues to deal with increasing regulatory and legislative pressures.
Another factor for members, he pointed out, is the rise of retailers turning to self-distribution, and manufacturers of emerging products like electronic cigarettes going direct to retail. Failing to adapt to the evolving landscape will push the distribution industry and the association toward becoming obsolete, according to Sincavich.
Despite the name change, the association will stay focused on several key pillars including government affairs, industry affairs and education.
A new digital portal will be available to provide a menu of programs and training tools to association members. In addition, the association is establishing a series of “communities” designed to allow collaboration and learning, and forming a manufacturer advisory council designed to get greater input from manufacturer partners.
CHANGE: THE ONLY CONSTANT
Just as convenience distributors are facing change, so too is the c-store industry as a whole. “Change is happening at a faster and faster pace,” Kelly Tackett, U.S. research director for Planet Retail, said in a presentation at the AWMA Marketplace & Solutions Expo.
The catalysts for change include consumer demographics, lifestyles and technology. C-store retailers are dealing with new shopper demands at the same time they’re facing increased competition from other sectors and channels looking to win that “quick trip,” she explained.
Contvenience retailers must adapt, and Tackett offered the following tips:
- Build a higher-margin mix with foodservice, which accounts for 18 percent of sales but 29 percent of gross margin.
- Localize the assortment.
- Capture the expanded shopping trip. More than three-quarters of consumers have purchased groceries at a non-grocer in the past 12 months.
- Grow the private-label assortment.
- Connect with tech-savvy consumers as smartphones are becoming the ultimate shopping companions.
- Use technology, like self-checkout and touchscreen ordering, to improve the in-store experience.
“Change really is the only constant,” Tackett said. “…Convenience has replaced location. It is no longer location, location, location. It is convenience, convenience, convenience.”