No post-holiday lull for pharmacies

Mindset Moments in the pharmacyI went to a mall yesterday after work to return a couple of items and was struck by how quiet it was.  Granted, it was a chilly, nondescript Tuesday evening in mid-January – probably not a barnburner night for a shopping center, despite the prevalence of post-Christmas bargains.  But nevertheless, what I witnessed represented quite a dramatic change from a few weeks prior when gift hunters were out in full force. After my mall errand, I stopped in at a Walgreens on the way home and was struck yet again – but this time by the large number of people in the store in addition to the usual gathering at the prescription pick up area.  En route to the Vitamin section, I passed by a man in the Pain Relief aisle who was intently reading a package label.  I saw him again, still reading and pondering, as I made my way to the front of the store.  Elsewhere, two women were chatting as they compared body lotions in a personal care section and another woman, young child in tow, stood perusing the children’s allergy products.   The man in front of me in line seemed to fit the definition of “heavy shopper”, his small cart filled with food items along with a collection of shaving supplies, deodorant, and a large bottle of fruit-flavored antacid tablets.  To top it off, he threw a few trail-mix bars in before checking out.

Given the business I’m in, I was (as usual) perhaps observing more intently than the average person.  I hope the other shoppers weren’t disconcerted by the “gawker” in their midst! Aside from that, here is the upshot:  just about every brick-and-mortar store experiences an after-holiday letup in traffic – but that’s not the case with retail pharmacies.  They are just as busy as ever as the cold and flu seasons take hold, school starts again with kids getting exposed to various illnesses, and New Year’s resolutions drive people to smoking cessation and weight control remedies.  Of course much of their business is driven by consumer need for not only health items, but for necessities as well.  Because they are quick and accessible, pharmacies have become a convenient source for daily essentials of all kinds.

 Leveraging that Mindset Moment ™

This recent “shopping surveillance” experience was just further validation for the Mindset Moment ™, a concept we’ve been talking about a lot recently.  It is a term we’ve coined for that point in time when people are thinking about their health, searching for remedies, and receptive to information.  Those moments definitely occur in the pharmacy:  in the OTC aisles, near personal care products, and at the pharmacy counter. Plus, given the busy nature of pharmacies and the level of shopper traffic, a lot of people are having those Mindset Moments. What better place to reach and educate prospective patients?