Introducing the Forum of Merchandising Executives

Merchandising or "in-store activation" is vital to the success of shopper marketing initiatives. To address this critical strategic and tactical component, the Path to Purchase Institute is forming the Forum of Merchandising Executives (FME), a bi-annual, private gathering of select brand manufacturers, retailers, merchandising firms and other critical solution providers. The FME will:

  • Address best practices, key issues, and current obstacles to creating, distributing and measuring merchandising
  • Explore the future of merchandising and the shopping experience. 
  • Drive debate, discussion and learning in a one-to-one environment where today’s leaders in merchandising will advance their knowledge, enhance their relationships and shape the future of the industry.


A Proven Model

  • The FME meets for two days, twice a year. 
  • The meeting format is similar to TED Talks with a series of 19-minute Lightning Lectures addressing critical industry topics. These presentations are followed by a robust Q&A session. Occasionally, there are 45-minute presentations from industry experts to address the specific information needs of the FME.
  •  Members provide suggestions for topics they feel are the most critical, the most important or the most compelling. A steering committee reviews these recommendations to help develop the content and discussion points.
  • Breakout discussions often supplement the learning and deepen interaction around key topics.
  •  FME meetings are not a boondoggle. They are serious business meetings that advance critical business relationships and essential industry knowledge. 

Who Participates in the FME and Why?

BRAND MANUFACTURERS – The FME is best suited for senior-level merchandising executives with direct responsibility or influence over planning, design and procurement of displays, signs and fixtures. There will be particular emphasis on the information needs of those selling through grocery, mass merchandisers, drug, hardware/home centers, consumer electronics and specialty (pet, auto, sporting goods). 

RETAILERS – Typically those retail executives with direct responsibility for or influence over which signage and merchandising –whether their own or that which is provided by their vendor partners –is approved for use in their stores. 

These brand manufacturer and retailers executives benefit from:

  • Access to the deepest thinking around key topics such as measurement, retail design, promotional execution, test & learn, supply chain and innovation.
  • Unrivaled networking with industry peers.
  • An opportunity to contribute to the next phase of merchandising from savings-based buying to more results-based merchandising procurement.
  • Exposure to career-advancing concepts and considerations.

SOLUTION PROVIDERS – The majority of solution providers in the FME will be the more elite designers and producers of displays, signs and fixtures. They may also be research companies, field force agencies and other aligned to the field. The FME strives to maintain a 60/40 ratio of retailers and brand manufacturers to solution providers.

These Solution Provider executives benefit from:

  • Unrivaled access to influential buyers (manufacturers, retailers & agencies).
  • Exposure to the deepest thinking around key topics such as measurement, compliance/distribution, supply chain, sell-in methods and more.
  • An opportunity to contribute to the next phase of merchandising from savings-based buying to more results-based merchandising procurement.
  • Access to career-advancing concepts and consideration.

Design of the Times Judging

New in 2018, the Design of the Times competition will enlist the expertise of all FME members to judge and award the best in-store displays and digital activations of the year. For more then 20 years, the Path to Purchase's Design of the Times has honored innovative and creative marketers and recognized merchandising's critical role in any successful shopper marketing initiative. The Design of the Times will now benefit from the best eyes in the industry pouring over the most current and creative examples of merchandising and marketing in the industry. FME members will have the rare opportunity to provide feedback during two rounds of judging to determine which entries take home a trophy. For more information, visit

What Now?

Learn more about participating in the Forum of Merchandising Executives by calling (773) 992-4450.