Virtual now and going forward

Seth Mendelson
Publisher and Editor in Chief
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Now what?

After months of hoping that things would improve and the shows would go on, the Private Label Manufacturers Association did the prudent thing and canceled its two annual events: its annual show in Chicago, slated for November, and the “World of Private Label” International Trade Show, scheduled for early December in Amsterdam. The international event had originally been scheduled for May before being delayed by about six months.

Frankly, the New York-based association had no other choice. COVID-19 is still here and many fear the situation will just get worse before it gets better. Many retailers and suppliers have made it clear that they are not ready to start traveling anytime soon. Some went so far as to say that their companies have outright bans on any type of travel, outside of going from one room in a house to another.

PLMA is replacing both events with virtual trade shows in coming months and hope to put on their regular events late in 2021. The Chicago event is being replaced in February with a week-long virtual trade show. Details, as of early September, are still being worked out for the virtual international trade show event.

Great moves by PLMA, but, by themselves, just not enough. All parts of the private label industry need to step up at this point to make sure that they keep communicating with each other and getting the right products to retail shelves.

Let’s be totally clear here. The opportunity for private label and store brands to break out at mass retail may have never been better than it is today. A severe recession that promises to go on for a while, lack of products and fast-changing consumer shopping patterns offer the industry a unique opportunity to increase awareness of private label and store brands.

Retailers are looking to the private label world to ensure that they have enough supply and can rake in some extra profits. Consumers want private label products because they have increasing faith in the quality of the merchandise, and they like the fact that price points are significantly lower than comparable national brands.

So now we have to go to work. First, sign up and get involved in both PLMA virtual events. Second, start picking up the phone, connecting on Zoom or finding other ways to interact with the industry now.

We are in this together. We will get through this together and emerge stronger on the other side.

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