Checking OTC execution in pharmacies: a possible challenge

In Europe, the over-the-counter (OTC) industry is now worth almost €3 billion, and it accounts for more than a third of the market.
Although non-pharmacy sales have increased in the last decade, pharmacies remain a key channel for OTC meds in most European markets. Recent research conducted among our community members across Europe shows that, for purchasing OTC drugs, pharmacies are the preferred channel (75%), followed by supermarkets (28%) and drugstores (26%). This makes execution a crucial element in increasing sales and beating the competition.

At Roamler, we have extensive experience in checking the in-store execution of different categories of OTC drugs in pharmacies.
When assessing the distribution and visibility of OTC products, our on-demand Crowd reports on whether the product, or a specific category of products, is:
1)    Available to consumers in a promotional branded display
2)    Placed on regular shelves inside the pharmacy
3)    Not placed on the store shelves but distributed by the pharmacy
4)    Not distributed in the pharmacy

Deploying a mobile Crowd to execute the field work provides a great advantage for Pharma companies, which can obtain a complete overview of the distribution of specific categories of products in a matter of days. Once validated, the data is immediately made available in the form of live dashboards and granular reports. This allows brand managers to quickly discover critical issues and act upon them before they impact sales.

However, distribution is not the only significant factor influencing the purchase decision in the OTC market: in-store recommendations also strongly impact sales and contribute to generating brand awareness and trust.
According to our latest research, around 48% of consumers opt for well-known brands, while another 40% state that they follow professional advice. Pharmacists are very often the first line of contact with customers, who expect trustworthy advice. Thus, professional in-store recommendations can increase the credibility of the product in the eyes of customers and contribute to building brand loyalty.
For these reasons, Pharma companies invest large portions of their budget in forming store personnel with their own field force, but checking the direct outcome of these efforts often becomes a long and difficult task.

Here’s where crowdsourcing can make the difference: it allows manufacturers to quickly and efficiently calculate the ROI of their field-marketing actions.

The Roamler Crowd also performs mystery-shopping checks to evaluate the recommendations coming from pharmacy clerks. According to each client’s needs, the mystery visits can be performed both in pharmacies that are regularly covered by employed field forces and in ones that are not covered. These data, combined with sales reports, enable manufacturers to immediately identify the impact of their field-marketing investments.

Our smartphone-enabled mystery shoppers execute the visit according to specific indications and report on multiple possible scenarios. This allows us to determine if pharmacy clerks spontaneously suggest the product as an “off-the-top-of-the-head” solution for a specific need, if they would recommend it over a different brand, if they have enough information to successfully market the product, and so on.
The results of these types of checks are validated by a professional team of reviewers and made available to decision-makers in real time in order for them to take immediate, data-driven actions.

Would you like to know more about deploying our on-demand Crowd to execute in-store checks in pharmacies across Europe? Get in touch with our experts.