Making a splash in new product categories

28Jun11

Many of the pharmacies in my area have begun carrying grocery items. In some cases, it’s a half-hearted effort, focusing on the types of items you’d find in a convenience store. In other cases, the stores have tried to include fresh foods and other staples of a real grocery store. But something about all of these efforts falls short.

As I think about it, the pharmacies aren’t giving people much of a reason to buy groceries there. Sure, they added a new product category, and it might be convenient to pick up some grocery items if you’re already in the store for prescriptions or other personal care products. But people are creatures of habit, and it takes more than just a few shelves of food items to make shoppers change their buying patterns.

What’s the solution? Go beyond the “me too” approach, and add a cohesive message that ties together all of the items in the new product category. For instance, maybe your prices are 20% lower than typical grocery stores in the area, or maybe your research shows that shoppers can save two hours a month by picking up staple food items at the same time they get their prescriptions. Or perhaps you’ve got a big selection of house-brand organic foods. Either way, if you can get people excited about the new product category, there’s a much better chance that they’ll begin to associate that category with your store and give the new offerings a try.



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