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Maximising the hay fever opportunity

Cathy Crossthwaite, Numark OTC business development executive, suggests ways to make the most of the hay fever category.

Customers searching the allergy fixture are often already suffering hay fever symptoms so can become frustrated if they can’t find the solution they require quickly.

Ensure there is plenty of signage surrounding the fixture and use established merchandising techniques, such as beacon branding and product adjacencies, to help customers locate their product of choice.

A runny or blocked nose is one of the most common allergy symptoms, so display tissues near to the fixture, or perhaps on clip strips within the fixture, to prompt customers to purchase tissues alongside their required remedy.

What are the most popular products in the hay fever market?

It may take sufferers several attempts to find the remedy that can help tackle their symptoms. There are a variety of active ingredients a customer may try (see p24-25), often in a one-a-day capsule or tablet format, so this may be a convenient first option.

Nasal sprays are on the increase as customers search for convenient and effective solutions that will help relieve their symptoms. The format has increased its share of space from 16 per cent in 2017 to 21 per cent in 2020, according to Numark’s internal space share data.  

Should we stock well-known brands as well as own-brand products?

There are various brand leaders across the different sub-categories. Usually, the well-known brands have products available in a variety of formulations such as liquid, tablet and nasal spray – making them appealing to many customers.

However, own-brand products also perform well within the category as long-term sufferers come to understand the benefits of each of the active ingredients and move to a value alternative to treat their symptoms. While it is important to stock a brand leader to help with navigation, own-brand products can support new and long-term customers with a value option. 

What are the benefits of offering a drug-free range?

A drug-free range allows pharmacies to take advantage of a wider customer base. Customers can lean towards drug-free options for a range of reasons, from nervousness around medication to conflicts with prescription medications, and having a drug-free option in place allows you to support these customers. 

A drug-free option also opens up opportunities for products to be used in conjunction with other hay fever remedies – helping ease symptoms and increase basket spend. There is a general move towards natural remedies across various categories, with the hay fever segment following suit. For example, the category has seen the introduction of a number of sea water-based nasal hygiene sprays and preservative-free eye drops.

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