By Mark Wohltmann   read

Another quarter has gone by and the pandemic still has its grip on Europe and the world. After a near standstill months before, are we still far from “normal”?

September 08, 2020

Dear NACS members, partners and friends,

Another quarter has gone by and Covid-19 still has its grip on Europe and the world. Whilst many countries report a surge in retail activity, after a near standstill the months before, we are far from “normal” and might never be.

Regional lockdowns, changing travel advice and second and third waves already are our “new normal.” But... did you notice? More people are wearing a mask without complaining. It’s become a routine process for us to grab the mask before leaving the car on the supermarket parking lot. We don’t even find it strange anymore to see a sea of mask-hidden faces in stores. Reaching into our pocket for hand sanitizer? As common as reaching into our pocket to grab a wallet... And, at least where I live, nearly no queues at shops and nearly no empty shelves.

This means we’ve adapted! And that is something that we humans are rather good at, even if we don’t like it. Things change. We adapt. Yes, we complain, we struggle for a while, we get frustrated; But in the end, we accept and adapt.

Earlier this year we held our annual NACS European Regional committee meeting for the first time ever as a virtual meeting. 100% participation, all cameras on, a lively discussion and remarkable video-conference-efficiency. Later we moved our NACS State of the Industry Summit in the US to become a fully virtual experience, with online participation numbers exceeding the live event. And ever since March, I have been virtually in your online meeting rooms, sharing our latest insights of the NACS Convenience Briefing, more often and sometimes in deeper discussion than ever in person before.

Do we miss the personal interaction? Sure. Some things are easier shared in person than virtually. And as “social animals” we humans love to mingle, share meals and experience chance encounters in conference-coffee-break-situations. But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can adapt and learn. This doesn’t mean we trade one for the other but combine the best of both.

What does that mean going forward? Well, we at NACS will provide a brand new, five-week digital experience (NACS Crack the Code Experience), starting this autumn, to connect our industry 24/7 and across borders to learn, connect and advance. And by combining the best of this virtual experience with our 2021 reinstated live events—like CSA in Bangkok and CSE in Dublin—we hope to support our global industry even further, better and more efficient in what will be our “new normal”.

Thanks for all your support for our industry and for NACS. See you soon (on camera in 2020 and in person onwards...).

Mark Wohltmann, Director, NACS Europe, has been responsible for the strategic development of the NACS brand in Europe since 2016. This includes researching, collecting and curating global knowledge and insights on best practices and thought leadership that will shape the future of convenience and fuel retail. Mark regularly makes this available through speaking engagements at leading industry events, as well as through tailored presentations at internal strategy meetings held by NACS members. Mark has 20 years of experience in marketing, consulting and market research, focusing on FMCG/CPG and Retail. Prior to NACS, Mark worked with the Nielsen Company across Europe, with USP Market Intelligence in Munich, setting up Germany's largest convenience retail panel, as well as Combera, developing Marketing and Sales strategies for FMCG companies entering the convenience sector. 

Questions or comments? Contact Mark at or #NACSGlobal.