Magazine article Drug Topics

How to Improve OTC and Rx-to-OTC Sales

Magazine article Drug Topics

How to Improve OTC and Rx-to-OTC Sales

Article excerpt

CHAINS and BUSINESS

Counseling. Information. Lowrisk introductory products. Permanent new-product sections. These are the most important in-store strategies pharmacists can implement in order to maximize the potential for merchandising overthe-counter (OTC) and Rx-to-OTC switch products, according to a new study.

"Introducing and Merchandising New OTC Whole Health Products A Practical Guide for Maximizing the Potential of OTC Products within the Whole Health Concept" was conducted by Willard Bishop Consuiting for the GMDC Educational Foundation. Results of the year-long study, which included four focus groups and conversations with 600 consumers in six cities, were presented recently at a press conference in New York City.

Commenting on the findings, Bill Bishop, president/CEO of Willard Bishop Consulting, said, "This study goes to the consumer and asks them what needs to be done differently to better satisfy their needs and to make it easier for them to purchase products. We found a strong connection between new OTC products and whole health, with 75% of consumers buying these OTC products for maintenance of their health."

The study revealed that retailers need to counsel consumers about these new products, Bishop said. "Consumers are looking for a person-human or virtual-to make a referral about a product. Offering information about the products is important, because the products are new and complicated. You need to provide counseling and referrals and make information accessible in the form of a health reference center or informative shelf-talkers." Retailers also must find ways to reduce consumer hesitation about trying new products, he added, and this can be accomplished by offering free products or trial sizes.

Building excitement into new products is yet another challenge for retailers. Pharmacists can accomplish this by building a permanent new-item section in the pharmacy.

Ralph Bartolotto, chairman of the National Association for Retail Merchandising Services (NARMS), one sponsor of the study, added, "The study highlights the importance of instore preparation and timely execution. Our research has found that marketing service organizations can improve sales of new items by up to 45%. This gain is accompanied by a focused ability to speed product and information to shelf," he said. The study identifies consumer information as the cornerstone for achieving full potential of the whole health initiative. "Today's consumers expect to find new products on shelf during the period of commercial introduction. This is especially true in the area of Rx-to-OTC switches. …

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