In Stage 3 of the SMA® Nutrition 5-Stage Plan, we look at how category management can help you to achieve your goals
The infant feeding category is different to the other product categories you will deal with in your pharmacy, and there are certain key aspects to consider on the road to success.
The phrase ‘category management’ is used to describe the development of revenue and profit from a particular type of products or ‘category’. It involves making the best possible use of space and range to maximise shopper satisfaction.
With the infant feeding category in particular, your pharmacy should be taking a different approach to that which would be taken by a grocery store or supermarket – for a number of key reasons:
The closeness of the pharmacy- customer relationship, and the opportunity to develop this for whole families, means there are two key elements to managing the baby milk category in a pharmacy: availability and range.
With any retail category, it is important to have products in store, on the shelf, available to customers at all times. But with infant feeding, it’s even more essential. The vast majority of categories have a degree of ‘substitution’ – whereby a customer will buy an alternative brand if their first choice is not available. With infant formula, this is not the case.
The baby milk category has tremendous brand loyalty – well over 80 per cent of mums will not change their formula brand. 75 per cent of those who are specifically shopping for formula will go to a different store if they can’t get exactly what they want in terms of brand and stage.
Well-stocked shelves in an emotional category like baby milk formula give mums the absolute confidence that when they walk into your pharmacy, they will be able to get exactly the product they need. And even if mums just come into your pharmacy to buy an infant formula, always having well- stocked shelves gives you a great opportunity to assure them that you can also meet their needs for most other baby-related products.
By ensuring good availability of products that can help mums when they are under emotional stress, a pharmacy can build up strong customer relationships based on confidence and trust. This will ensure footfall, and will facilitate cross- category purchases, as mums buy additional products for their babies and for themselves. It will also help ensure that prescriptions are brought to your pharmacy. Strong, confident, trusting relationships are longer-lasting ones and help to retain customers for your pharmacy.