Magazine article Drug Topics

The Right Promotion Can Boost Sales of OTCs

Magazine article Drug Topics

The Right Promotion Can Boost Sales of OTCs

Article excerpt

Ihe movement toward self-medication, the Rx-to-OTC switch trend, and the expansion of well-known brands ... there are many reasons why consumers are using more nonprescription drugs these days. So, given these reasons, are OTC promotions really necessary? The answer, to a large group of savvy independents and chains, is a resounding YES --if you want the OTC consumer to go to your store and not the competitor's down the street.

To find out which OTC promotions work, Drug Topics surveyed pharmacy managers and owners around the country. While many of their promotions were based on fundamental, well-used ideas, they were still successful. Some may even work in your drug store.

Among the respondents, an independent pharmacy in Ohio has found the financial incentive a good way to promote OTCs. This store's owner encourages patients to purchase nonprescription drugs by offering $2 off on any OTC purchase over $20.

Senior citizens are the key to promoting OTCs at an independent pharmacy in Nebraska. "Senior Citizen Day is Wednesday in our store, and we offer discounts to seniors on that day," the store owner told Drug Topics.

An Illinois chain manager has seen sales increase with the "addition of Spanish products with Spanish literature" to the OTC section of the drugstore.

A chief pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in Tennessee believes in the power of the written word. "I started writing an article [about OTCs] in a local paper on a weekly basis. People have responded well to it."

An independent pharmacist in Texas described companion selling--the sale of a complementary OTC with a prescription product--as a most successful way to promote OTCs.


Some drugstores find that putting the focus on specific categories can boost sales. A chief pharmacist from a chain store in Minnesota said that "arthritis literature combined in a display with pain relievers and analgesics" was his store's most successful OTC promo.

Besides advertising incontinence products, a chain pharmacy in Texas offers instructions on how to use the items, placing "special emphasis on what the customer needs."

Two independent pharmacies--one in Colorado and one in Maryland--said that promoting homeopathic remedies proved to be a successful OTC sales booster. The Maryland store owner advertised the homeopathic remedies in local dinner-theater booklets. The Colorado store manager, who had just added homeopathic remedies to his line of products, used bag stuffers to introduce the products to his customers. "A small but loyal group of educated consumers has responded well to the promotion, which, with a Wal-Mart in town, we need," said the pharmacist. To promote these products, this R.Ph. also focuses on the store's ability to counsel on them."

Other drugstores have found the promotion of vitamin products advantageous. "We had a buy-one, get-one-free sale on our store brand of vitamins," said an Ohio pharmacist. "A lot of people who never considered taking a good multivitamin, for instance, saw the promotion as a good buy and decided to give the vitamins a try." A Wisconsin pharmacist said a "reasonably successful" vitamin promo involved newspaper coupons. "More than 50 coupons were returned for sale," said the store's manager.

Several pharmacists noted that their stores promoted vitamins in conjunction with back-to-school sales. An independent store in Louisiana pushed nutritional products to dialysis patients. When patients came in, "we stressed the use of biotin to prevent complications inherent in the disease process/treatment modality." An Continued on page 29

Continued from page 24 independent store in Massachusetts offered "nutrition and weight management seminars and counselinn." Other pharmacies have found the promotion of weight-loss products a boon to OTC sales. A Texas chain store sponsored a buy-one, get-onefree sale of Ultra Slim-Fast products. …

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