What a Year

By Mark Wohltmann   read

As 2020 comes to a close, it goes without saying that we’ve all had our fair share of “surprises,” “new normals” and “unprecedented times.” To get out of this situation and back into a time of growth will require a lot of effort, investment, trust and cooperation—and what better industry to lead this journey than ours!

December 29, 2020

Dear members, partners and friends of NACS,

The year is coming to an end, and as I write this, the U.K.—the first country globally— began vaccinating against COVID-19.

There was a cartoon in the newspaper the other day: a man standing in front of his advent calendar, hesitating to open the first door on December 1, with the words “I won’t open the doors. I don’t want any more surprises in 2020.” I guess we’ve all had our fair share of “surprises,” “new normals” and “unprecedented times.”

COVID-19 has been devastating, with a high number of excess deaths that have taken far too many from us far too early. From a professional perspective, COVID-19 has been challenging industries, disrupting supply chains and leading to the foreclosure of far too many businesses and the unemployment of far too many people.

To get out of this situation and back into a time of growth will need a lot of effort, investment, trust and cooperation. And what better industry to lead that journey toward growth than the global convenience and fuel retailing industry! The people in our industry put a lot of effort into their everyday work to make us successful, while embracing the mantra “retail is detail.” We have seen lots of investment coming into our industry as the financial markets consider us to be a promising venture. Trust is our USP as our colleagues in neighborhood stores, proximity retail and commuter stops know their customers as no other. And cooperation lies at the heart of our industry, with retailers always up for a healthy, competitive fight but always ready to join forces for the greater good of our industry.

We at NACS also put effort and investment into our just finished, brand new, five-week digital experience—the NACS Crack the Code Experience—in an effort to convene our industry 24/7 and across borders to learn, connect and advance. And we want to thank our members for their trust and cooperation toward helping to make this experience a highly successful one. We will use our learning from this to enhance other virtual experiences, such as our Convenience Summit Asia in March, and our 2021 live events like Convenience Summit Europe in Dublin and the NACS Show in Chicago. Look out for the dates, mark your calendars and prepare to meet again.

Please let me, on behalf of all of NACS, thank you for your ongoing support of NACS and our industry. I hope you, your families, your friends and your colleagues will have a great end-of-year period and a joyful holiday season.

See you in 2021!

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 mwohltmann@convenience.org or #NACSGlobal.