Wellness Franchise Opportunities

Healthcare fitnessJun, 08 2016

Nutritional supplements opens new avenue of opportunities in Pharmaceutical industry

Changing lifestyle has pushed the demand of nutritious supplements, seen stocked in the pharmacies nowadays. Here is a report highlighting the growing nutrition merchandise in pharmacy retail is transforming the traditional business model.

By Niharika Verma

There has been intense market competition and consolidation among providers of pharmaceutical services. In the retail pharmacy sector, the notable changes have been seen in closures of local independent pharmacies, and growth in pharmacies located in supermarkets and mass merchandise stores.

Giant pharmacy chains like Guardian Pharmacy, Apollo, Religare and more are very common and seen on the busiest street corners in towns across India. Not only do they fill prescriptions and sell OTC medicines, but they also offer wide varieties of nutrition merchandise.

While the overall number of chain drug store outlets has been relatively stable, there have been increased prescription volumes, market competition, and corporate ownership changes. In the short-term, the market competition has pushed demand for pharmacists to staff expanded hours of operations and new stores.

This Report will describe examples of newer practice models for pharmacists and discuss how expanded clinical practice may affect the future demand for pharmacists.

Merchandise watch

With the emergence of new trends, retail pharmacy has a significant role to play in expanding its reach to the patients through the over-the-counter department and healthcare counseling and in helping to connect the dots between health apps and self-care diagnostics.

As consumers are leading the way, bearing more costs and making more decisions; change is erupting throughout the healthcare sector. Established healthcare companies and new entrants are rapidly developing cost-efficient products and services tailored directly to consumers.

“I think more than merchandising; it’s the visual merchandising engagement with the consumer at the front. These are the products on which customers have a lot of queries. There is only one difference in nutritious products and other OTC product is people pick it up because they know and have seen advertisements and other things. But in this particular case, there is a little discussion, engagement and conversations happen at the pharmacy level,” said Atul Ahuja, Vice President- Retail, Apollo Pharmacy.

Reportedly, the year 2015 will be a revelatory year for the Indian health sector as a portrait of the newly-insured emerges, fostering better care management programs and shifting marketing strategies.

Current purchasing trends

Despite perceptions that the rise of eTailers would jeopardize the physical retail store, Indian consumers are favouring the brick-and-mortar model. Tracking the current consumer’s preferences unveiled that Indian consumers still prefer to buying nutritious supplements, specially the one made their mind to try something new with the influence of peer group, would still prefer to purchase it from a physical store instead of ordering it online.

Almost 70 per cent of consumers would prefer to shop from a brick & mortar store versus online. In fact, in-store expertise drives purchase volume as about 90 per cent of the consumers are likely to buy when helped by a well-versed associate.

“Looking at the changing lifestyles, various lifestyle diseases are coming in; there is a lot of focus on nutritional supplements, vitamins and nutraceuticals. If you look at these kinds of products, there is a level of advice that is also required to sell. Thereby, at pharmacies, we are really equipped with pharmacists and these pharmacists are well placed and equipped to understand the requirements of the consumers and keep relevant nutraceutical products for them. So, to be more precise, pharmacy is ‘The channel’ to sell the nutraceutical products to the consumers,” added Ahuja.

e-Tailing in nutrition merchandise

With exponential adoption rates of smartphone usage, online purchases harnessing the opportunity across the customer journey. This will be the ultimate game changer. Thereby, retailers need to bridge digital interactions with brick-and-mortar interactions with new innovative technologies along business process changes.

Significantly, with the growing rage of technology in all possible sectors in Indian trade industries, Traditional e-tailers are opening brick-and-mortar locations because they understand very well the highly personalised services can offer better traffic on their online store. In fact, the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are creating more personal, digital-savvy experiences in the store to serve shoppers better.

Pricing strategy

“65 per cent of our sale comes from pharmaceutical medicines, which are at the different marginal structure and the remaining comes from other products which includes nutraceuticals, supplements, personal care – skincare, hair care, baby care, OTC, pain management, so in all these categories, we have a different margin structure. The product pricing starts from Rs150 and goes till Rs1, 200,” said Ahuja.

Outcome

With high-priced new products and specialty drugs are hitting the market in 2015, increasing demand for new evidence and definitions of positive health outcomes are expected, which showcases a steady growth of nutrition merchandise in Indian pharmacies.

Nevertheless, with all companies that retail nutritious supplements, they too have a need to pull older items from their shelves to make way for newer incoming stock. It doesn’t matter that many of the products being pulled out are in perfect condition. This way retail pharmacy would see a striking growth ahead.

Related: How a 15-month-old healthcare startup bagged Rs1 crore from a reality show

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