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    Drug Stores Look to Take a Bite Out of Snack Sales

    Major chains team up with POPAI to gauge the category's in-store advertising effectiveness.

    WASHINGTON -- Drug Store chains are so focused on increasing convenience sales, they have commissioned Point-of-Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), the nonprofit trade association of the at-retail marketing industry, to study snack sales and other products in the drug channel.

    Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and Brooks Drugs have agreed to participate in upcoming studies to measure the effectiveness of in-store advertising and the placement of product displays in drug stores. The retailers will provide a combined total of 150 drug stores across the country where brand marketers will learn what combination of signage and placement increases sales in each of several product categories. Brand marketers sponsoring the study include Frito-Lay (snacks), Pharmavite (Nature Made Vitamins), Cadbury-Adams (gum, mints, and cough drops), and Schering-Plough (over-the-counter allergy medication), among others.

    The initiative, which may begin as soon as this autumn and will run for 16 weeks, marks POPAI's third study in the last three years. The first two studies focused on supermarkets and convenience stores. The drug store initiative will include two control studies: one that lets brand marketers test innovative POP never before used in drug stores, and another using new technology that electronically tags displays and transmits hourly reports to an off-site computer.

    In addition to audits of POP in stores and the RFID technology at 25 of them, the retailers will provide scan data that will be analyzed by Prime Consulting Group. The sales data analysis will be supplemented by 1,000 consumer interviews to measure consumers' recognition and recall of in-store advertising and signage.

    Results from the drug store studies are expected to be available by next spring, according to POPAI.

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