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Serving the self-care consumer on a journey of recovery

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Finding ways to connect with your shoppers and draw in new consumers is an ongoing effort that needs constant reevaluation based on market conditions, the evolution of shopping behaviors, trends and the economy. One trend that continues to shape retailers’ strategies is the self-care movement. As consumers take more responsibility and control of their own health and wellness, or the needs of their loved ones, retail channels should consider how they can best attract and serve these shoppers. Based on consumer research conducted by Acosta for leading retail industry trade association GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s Selfcare Roadmap and HRG’s analysis of the responses, this is the third article in a series of four examining consumers’ primary purchase intent — preventing, maintaining, recovering or caregiving. This article will concentrate on those shoppers focused on recovering from an illness, injury or surgery.

Females represent 61% of the “recovering” group. The average age of this cohort is 51, and the age group 53 to 71 represents 46% of survey respondents. Those age 72 and over are the smallest segment, followed by 22- to 36-year-olds.

Shoppers in recovery mode are fairly evenly spread out across the U.S. There is a slightly higher percentage of shoppers with a recovering mindset in the West, with the smallest percentage in the Northeast.

The average income of these consumers is $50,246. There are 24% in the annual income range of $75,001 to $100,000, and 24% earn $25,001 to $50,000. Twenty-two percent fall in the $50,001 to $75,000 range. Consumers identified as recovering span a wide range in income level, so products that meet their needs should include lower-cost as well as premium-priced options.

The recovery-focused shopper’s preferred outlet is mass merchant/discounter, with drug store not far behind and grocery trailing in third. This order of preference is the same across all purchase journey groups; however, the recovering group’s fourth-most preferred outlet is tied between club and dollar stores.

Individuals in the recovery group of shoppers said their intended purchases were for these top three health concerns: general pain relief, cough/cold/flu/throat, and allergy/sinus. Although not in the top three, digestive issues combined for over 23% of this group’s planned purchases, which is more than general pain relief at 21.7%.

When looking for over-the-counter recommendations, a third of consumer decisions are influenced by personal research. Physicians are most looked to for recommendations — almost 40% — with individuals’ research and then pharmacists following. With the exception of “preventing” shoppers, physicians, pharmacists and individual research make up the top three spots of all shopper groups.

Twenty percent of shoppers recovering from a health-related condition would like information to be easier to find on retailer and brand websites. Self-education resources and item availability were top choices for improvements this group would like to see. Brands can look to their social media sites and other areas where they collect customer feedback for direction on what type of educational and informational material is desired and where to provide it online exactly.

Providing and keeping product information and images up to date across all online sites can be a challenge, but resources are available to make this easy and remove the burden from retailers and brands. The retailers and brands that provide the most current and comprehensive information about products and how they alleviate symptoms will also ensure they will stand out as recovering shoppers do their own research. In a recovery period, trust is important, and being a valued resource will help build that trust.

The next article in the series will look at the “caregiving” consumer segment and the best ways to reach them.

Megan Moyer is an industry researcher and writer with Hamacher Resource Group Inc. HRG focuses on improving results across the retail supply chain by addressing dynamic needs, such as assortment planning and placement, retail execution strategy, fixture coordination, item database management, brand marketing, analytics, and Rx track and trace compliance .


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