Written by Ketan Shah, National Sales Manager at Veggie-mart.
A natural product is a chemical compound found in nature that may have a pharmacological or biological activity. Tiene sentido no se? It is regrettable then that businesses based on evidence-based modern medicine and what is now termed alternative medicine have evolved separately and often serve different customer types.
In an era when more and more people are being pro-active about the health of their families, and questioning received wisdom, it makes perfect sense that contemporary independent pharmacies should fully exploited the commercial potential of the natural products industry.
Uno no puede pensar en un mejor ambiente al por menor de una farmacia independiente como un canal rentable de productos naturales - no tienen que un farmacéutico titular-formación científica, uniquely positioned to make a critical assessment of the suitability of natural products used alone or in conjunction with conventional medicine.
In addition, pharmacies are strongly connected to the health of their local communities, with a guaranteed footfall of patients either with scripts or simply looking for advice from a respected healthcare professional. El farmacéutico comunitario es consciente de las circunstancias particulares de sus pacientes y es el más indicado para dar consejos acerca de si o no los productos naturales tienen beneficios para la salud y pueden formar parte de gestión de la salud de sus clientes
Independent pharmacies have stocked a reasonable range of vitamins, minerals and some herbal and homeopathic products for a number of decades, pero ahora es el momento de ampliar considerablemente el alcance de su oferta dado el creciente interés de un público más consciente de la salud en busca de elección. El crecimiento en las ventas de productos naturales también está siendo impulsado por envejecimiento de la población del Reino Unido.
People use natural products for all kinds of reasons: para impulsar su propia salud y la de los niños; for vitality; limit the signs of ageing; cut the risk of chronic diseases; treat specific ailments; and live in homes and work in environments as free as possible from environmental pollutants and toxins.
How can independent pharmacies fully exploit this lucrative and yes, ethical market?
First, ensure you cover the key natural health and wellness categories. There are literally dozens of these, but be careful about investing in too much stock in too many areas. Start with the basics and grow from there. The following categories should most certainly form the core of your offering: Joint and Muscle Care, Cardiovascular, Skin and Hair Care, Mother and Baby, Mental Health, Immunity, Digestive Aids, Weight and Blood Sugar Management, Herbals, Eco Household Products, and Health Foods.
Within these main categories, there are many sub categories that provide many opportunities for cross-selling: e.g. household, body, VMS and essential fatty acid products to tackle eczema or herbal, probiotic, VMS and food products for IBS are obvious examples.
Segundo, es fundamental que que integra el merchandising con el resto de su tienda para que estas categorías son percibidos como parte de su oferta general de la salud minorista, y no son considerados por sus clientes como separado y distinto de los productos farmacéuticos convencionales y sólo para una determinada “clase” del cliente
La Tercera, keep abreast of industry and regulatory trends. Your best sources of information are trade media and trade shows. Your wholesaler can also indicate new innovations or products that could give you a potential lead over the more generic offerings of less well informed retail competition.
Fourth, insist to your wholesaler that you are well supported with free point of sale material, sampling, access to technical information via print or electronic media, and educational material for your counter staff.
Fifth, ensure that your staff have bought into this exciting new venture by actively involving them in the selection of the natural products categories, giving them access to product education materials, and encouraging them to participate in free CPD or distance learning courses provided by the brands.
The natural products industry is one in which everyone in your store can become passionate about since it is one area where they can make a direct link between the health and well being of their families and the products on the shelves.