What Retail Buyers Want: Health Care  7/14/2017

As part of their preparation for ECRM’s 60+ EPPS meetings, retail buyers complete a form on the EPPS prep site, indicating the subcategories they are buying for, and on what areas they are focusing their buying efforts.

Based on this information, collected from more than 80 buyers and category managers attending ECRM’s upcoming Health Care EPPS meetings, here are a few key areas of interest:

Self-Care Solutions: In general, regardless of the health care category – whether it’s first aid, wound care, foot- eye- or ear-care, or reading glasses – buyers are looking for self-care solutions that address specific issues that will help consumers stay healthy and live comfortably. Because of this, messaging and communication are key; as consumers turn more to self-care vs. physicians as their first line of defense, education related to these conditions is a major component in marketing these products, and this education can be delivered via traditional marketing such as packaging, signage, and promotions, as well as online and via social media. Indeed, brands with strong consumer education resources will have an edge over their competitors.

New & Niche Items: Products that are not already in mass retail that meet very specific health care needs.

Mature & Aging Related Products: Products aimed at issues related to aging consumers, such as analgesics, joint remedies, reading glasses, compression hosiery, braces, diabetic socks and incontinence.

Private Brands: Merchandise across all health care categories that can be sold under the retailer’s brand.

Close-outs, Off-Price, and Opportunity Buys: Extreme value items and opportunity buys that can help continually refresh assortments for those retailers looking for a “treasure-hunt” experience that keeps shoppers returning to find something new. This includes closeouts, excess inventory and packaging changes.

Online Opportunities: Many retailers attending sell products online, and are looking to set up suppliers on their e-commerce platforms. In some cases, however, this will require drop-ship capabilities, or at least a U.S.-based distributor.

Products for Canada: Several of the buyers attending are from large retail chains up north, and in addition to the items noted above, they also have particular requirements that are unique to the Canadian market, such as bilingual packaging (English and French) and a Canadian broker or distributor.


Judy Ard

VP of Health Care

Judy can be reached at 440.528.0424

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