Customer data is a key input into product development and marketing campaigns, but good customer data has also been historically difficult for consumer healthcare companies to attain. As pressure increases to find new sales channels and innovative marketing techniques, more consumer healthcare companies are exploring eCommerce and digital platform investments to create competitive differentiation.
It’s no secret that there are many benefits of selling direct-to-consumer for consumer healthcare companies. After all, by selling directly to the consumer, companies maintain better brand control because they have final approval over the entire online presence. Consumer healthcare companies are also able to own the entire customer experience which limits the patient’s ability to compare your product directly to competitors. As a business, you’re also able to directly access detailed customer data and build direct relationships with your customers. These key benefits are some of the driving factors behind the trend in consumer healthcare for companies to build digital and eCommerce platforms.
In the last five years over-the-counter products have become widely available on eCommerce platforms, and for consumers, it’s not longer a nice-to- have. Branded products such as Advil, Mucinex, and Nicorette are currently sold on Amazon and other retailer’s websites with fluctuating prices determined by the manufacturer.
Amazon paved the way in 2018, launching their own line of generic over-the-counter products called Basic care, which ranges from pain relief to hair regrowth treatment. Amazon’s decision to enter the consumer healthcare industry has changed the way that manufacturers and retailers think about their digital and growth strategies, and since that time, the DTC market for consumer healthcare has only continued to explode.
Companies like Ritual, who are DTC native, are doubling down on using transparency as a value proposition as they use DTC to connect directly with their buyers.
Another area where consumer healthcare brands are innovating in the digital space is with commonly used consumer apps. Pioneered in 2017 with the Johnson & Johnson Rapid Release Gels app in partnership with Walgreens and Waze, this space only continued to grow in the post-COVID 19 era, as consumers are wanting to be more in the know about their health and medications than ever.
As over-the-counter products solidify their places on eCommerce platforms, retailer and manufacturer digital collaboration can help drive foot traffic to the stores.
Marketing teams at consumer healthcare companies face multiple threats from a shrinking retail channel, increased competition from generic products, and pressures from neighboring categories like health and beauty and pharmaceuticals entering the market. In addition to battling these threats, consumer healthcare companies also have their traditional goals of brand building, market expansion, and driving product innovation. Embedded in these threats and opportunities lies an increasingly complex marketing mix which must include new marketing techniques, like influencer marketing, and a strong digital and eCommerce strategy.
If you’d like to talk more about DTC and eCommerce approaches for your consumer healthcare business, contact us today to set up a conversation.
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Contributions from Megan Weldon