Earn add-on winter sales with medicated skin care

February 11, 2008
Sandra Levy

Sandra Levy is Managing Editor-Projects. She covers self care, chains and business, home care, over-the-counter medicines and Rx-to-OTC switches. She joined <i>Drug Topics</i> in 1998.

Medicated skin care products are highlighted in this stockchecker article by the Hamacher Group.

This article is contributed by the Hamacher Resource Group ( http://www.hamacher.com/). Based in Milwaukee and with offices in the United Kingdom, HRG's comprehensive services combine the art of communicating with the science of data analysis to improve the profitability of every link in the retail healthcare supply chain. Manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and others count on HRG for strategic solutions to their business goals.

Most drugstores do not merchandise as a separate category the product classes that fall under the umbrella of "medicated skin care." Rather, they are usually scattered about in categories as diverse as foot care, skin care, and cold and allergy. When considered together, however, the products typically included in this virtual category of medicated skin care are sales powerhouses, from efficient add-on sellers such as lip balms to premium big-ticket items such as anti-itch remedies for psoriasis and eczema.

Best bets

How to satisfy category shoppers

Virtually anyone could have a reason to buy a medicated skin care product, though some subcategories are more customer-specific than others. While essentially everyone can use a lip balm, a smaller segment of the population will have need for an anti-itch cream or an athlete's foot spray. All the same, it's important for drugstore staff not to stereotype the athlete's foot shopper as a young, athletic-looking male, or the psoriasis sufferer as an elderly gentleman. Women in their 40s can pick up a case of athlete's foot at a yoga class just as easily as men's feet can find it in the locker room after a game of basketball. Likewise, psoriasis affects a host of different people of all ages, though they may not all be aware their chronic dry skin actually is psoriasis. Acne-fighting products also are considered a part of medicated skin care, and that subcategory's shoppers range in age from pre-teen to middle age.

It's important first for pharmacy staff to know about common conditions of the skin, then to be aware of the OTCs that can effectively treat them. For example, dry lips appear to be a self-evident problem. But there are two main paths to treatment: to burn off the dry layer of skin with an ingredient such as salicylic acid, or to soften that dry layer with a skin protectant. Different products take different approaches to the same problem; reading ingredients and learning the differences can arm every staff member with the knowledge needed to make expert recommendations. Psoriasis and eczema are examples of conditions that aren't always well understood, though a mild case of either is easy enough to recognize with just a little education. Often, consumers assume a prescription remedy is necessary to treat ordinary psoriasis or eczema, but several effective OTCs are available.

Merchandising for success

Since products in medicated skin care range across different categories, clever cross-merchandising is crucial to generating extra sales. Ordinary lip balms are a classic point-of-sale item. But consider including a row of a premium cold sore medicine at the register as well. Or, if its premium price makes it too great a risk to keep near the door, include signage with the POS lip balms pointing customers to the cold and allergy department for serious cold sore medicine.

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