Shopper views on medicine help determine what products to recommend and when

October 25, 2018By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Step into Natural

Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager, for the Step into Natural blog series

How well do you understand the parents in your community? Are they naturally-inclined, conventional shoppers, or somewhere in between?

As mentioned last summer, the answer to these questions can influence how you merchandise natural products in your pharmacy. But it can also determine what your shoppers’ approaches are to medicine and what kinds of products you could recommend.

Let’s consider a hypothetical example. A child has a moderate fever. His parent has a couple ways of viewing the situation depending on what they believe about conventional vs. functional approaches to medicine.

Viewpoint of parent #1: The fever is a bad sign of an infection that must be stopped.

Viewpoint of parent #2: The fever is a good sign of a strong immune system trying to fight an infection and should not be suppressed.

They may view the situation differently, yet neither parent wants their child to feel pain or suffer.

Parent #1 will probably go to the medicine cabinet right away to grab a children’s analgesic. If they don’t have any at home, they are likely to race to your pharmacy to pick one up and may have questions about ibuprofen vs. acetaminophen, dosage, etc.

Parent #2 will probably try to keep their child comfortable. They might start with cool wash cloths and then come to your pharmacy for cool packs or a homeopathic solution which they deem as a more natural option because it is free from drugs and supposedly puts the body “back in balance” to allow the immune system to “do its job.”

However, if that fever turns from moderate to high or very high, parent #2 is likely to come back to your pharmacy for conventional OTCs in order to lower the fever. They will now have the same questions as parent #1 but probably be looking for additional features in the medication such as no dyes, artificial flavors, parabens, etc.

Therein lies the truth about the natural shopper – they are not tied to only natural approaches or natural products, which is why the pharmacy is the perfect place to house both natural and conventional items. It is a good idea to understand which medical approaches your shoppers favor before making a recommendation.

Persuadable Research once said that “Most moms who are inclined to buy natural medications understand the benefits of natural alternatives and worry about the long-term impact of OTC medications. Paradoxically, every mom uses OTC medication to some extent.”

Every naturally-inclined mom they surveyed!

The natural-only stores are missing the opportunity because they only house natural, drug-free products. And since every naturally-inclined mom uses OTC medications to some extent, the opportunities for pharmacies that house both may be greater. This should definitely get you thinking about ways you can incorporate more natural products into your store.