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Guide To Sucess

This primer is for first-time attendees and seasoned participants who are interested in maximizing their opportunities at the NACDS Total Store Expo. It has been developed by members of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board and is based on their collective experiences.

What Sets The Total Store Expo Apart

Who Attends

Retail senior management teams responsible for operating the business including: marketing, merchandising, supply chain, operations, information technology and related functions in both CPG and pharmacy, and their associate member/supplier counterparts.

During the Exhibit Hall hours, it is common to see senior, multifunctional executives of major retail organizations meet with their counterparts from leading CPG or pharmaceutical companies. The meetings are vibrant, the exchanges are sometimes animated, and the results can be profound.

Exhibit Hall Format & Appointments

The Total Store Expo is an appointment-based trade show. Although many retailers do walk the aisles looking for new companies and ideas, it is STRONGLY recommended you make appointments well in advance of the meeting.

We encourage associate members to contact the specific companies and individuals you would like to meet with during the Total Store Expo. As a registrant, you will be able to obtain contact information for all attendees.

Networking Opportunities

NACDS has carefully formatted the Total Store Expo to create opportunities for Exhibitors and Retailers to interact. Successful Exhibitors take full advantage of these opportunities to meet Retailers and start conversations.

The daily Networking Continental Breakfasts, Exhibit Hall Lunches and evening receptions are great opportunities to meet new prospects and reconnect with partners.

Download the NACDS Events App

Navigate the NACDS Total Store Expo like a pro with the mobile app, developed to enhance attendee experience.

With the NACDS Events app, users can:

  • Get the most up-to-date conference information
  • Personalize your schedule
  • Search for participating companies
  • View the floor plan and bookmark favorites


If you were unable to register on Friday, do so first thing Saturday morning. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., followed by your first opportunity to meet retailers at the Networking Continental Breakfast, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and Meet the Market, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Meet the Market is a special program designed to introduce the latest innovative products, technologies, and services to the retail audience. Participating exhibitors present their company and products to buyers through a series of 10-minute appointments arranged by NACDS – thousands of presentations are made in this pre-exhibition event. There is no additional charge to participate in Meet the Market, but you must register in advance.

Meet the Industry is a program conducted from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. A number of companies will provide informational sessions from leading executives featuring the latest, topical, areas of interest. There is no additional charge or registration necessary to attend. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Your evening is open for you to meet with business partners or explore the city of Boston.


The day begins with a Networking Continental Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. followed by our Business Program at 8:00 a.m. Periodically check the schedule for updated speaker information.

At 10:00 a.m. appointments begin in the Exhibit Hall with lunch available 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The Exhibit Hall closes at 6:00 p.m. but you can continue to meet with retailers at the Total Store Expo Reception, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Omni Boston at the Seaport, Ensemble Ballroom, located on the 2nd  level.  The remainder of the evening is open, so make your dinner appointments and reservations prior to arriving in Boston.


Monday starts with the Networking Continental Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. held prior to our informative, innovative, and topical Insight Sessions from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. at the Boston Convention  & Exhibition Center. Again, check the Schedule as session descriptions and speakers are frequently added.

Appointments continue in the Exhibit Hall, 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., with lunch available 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The exhibit hall closes and dismantle begins at 6:00 p.m.

On Monday evening, plan to attend the NACDS Boston Extravaganza to be held in the Omni Boston at the Seaport, Ensemble Ballroom! The evening will feature plenty of great food, great music, and great opportunities to interact with your fellow attendees and find the one or two people that you would like to meet to make the Expo a success. Dress for the evening is casual. The perfect way to wrap up your successful conference!

Register Now! Don’t be left out of the biggest, most productive drug, food, and mass market event of the year!