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Healthy customer vs. Over the counter: the challenges facing the otc market

The health products market is growing fast and changing even faster. Despite economic turmoil and the price-centric shopping market, people are still actively searching for ingredients that positively influence their health.
"The health and well-being mega trend is still going strong, and it doesn't look like it will stop anytime soon.”

As the world becomes increasingly digital, customers are looking for their health products and ingredients online, expecting a seamless and integrated shopping experience across all channels. Touchpoints include physical stores, online marketplaces, mobile apps and social media platforms.

Here come the challenges.

OTC-companies are facing significant challenges in this rapidly evolving market. A brand strategy is no longer sufficient; companies need to develop an omnichannel brand strategy that provides a consistent, recognisable and positive customer experience across all channels. So many brands are missing wonderful opportunities to make a difference and get noticed this way.

The digital disruption.

Claims surrounding gut health, mood boost and brain health are flooding our supermarket aisles. Brands like Innocent and VITHIT are great examples of how to communicate on the powerful benefits of your products. 

Digital disruption has also been added to the mix: as webstores expand their offerings of OTC products, a new battleground emerges. Brands must become chameleons, adapting and finding a success formula in this dynamic, constantly evolving landscape.

Betr, an OTC brand that's tackling medical inequality in the US, is a good example of this. Their online launch was only the beginning. Since then, they have partnered with Walmart to make health products accessible to all. With a consistent story that matches their brand promise perfectly, Betr is paving the way towards improved health and equality in the US. 

Hims is another brand that shows great promise, targeting men with the mission to help them feel great through improved health. Through a strong online presence and strategic partnerships with physical stores, Hims is bridging the divide between digital and physical realms, delivering on their promise of empowerment and well-being.

"Every challenge has a solution. Haystack is here to help OTC companies overcome their biggest obstacles.

Rising to the omnichannel brand challenge.

As a brand, it's essential to proactively and continuously improve your value proposition and service delivery to meet the changing needs of customers. It's a clear sign that you not only value them but are listening to their needs. Your brand is the promise you are bringing to your customers. The omnichannel experience is the way to do deliver it. And positive feedback is the outcome you want.

At Haystack Consulting, we believe that you should focus on your brand first. It's crucial to understand how your customers are interacting with your brand, starting from the brand promise. And how they are interacting with your brand via omnichannel touchpoints. An effective strategy? Leveraging the experiences with the most impact on your customers and linking it to your brand promise and optimising your resources to do so.

An example.

For a client that sells nutritional supplements, we conducted a qualitative study via an online community to fully understand consumers in North America. We examined how they look for information, shop and consume food supplements. 20 individuals across the country were involved for 10 days, completing daily tasks regarding cultural habits, needs, cross-channel shopping behaviour, understanding the category, the role of the brand and a concrete concept evaluation. 

Our insights provided the client with valuable information about how to position its new product and which channels to use. In fact, specific communication material was developed based on our insights.

Meeting the sensory challenge.

    To compete with the rapid growth of health-focused products in the FMCG market, certain OTC categories are being increasingly challenged based on their full sensory experience. Taste is a crucial element in repurchasing and treatment compliance. 

    As such, OTC companies must ensure that their products meet specific taste needs of customers while being compliant with regulatory requirements. This challenge offers a great opportunity for new innovative and appealing products. To stand out in a crowded market space, a good understanding of the sensory needs of customers for specific categories is essential.

    Another example.

    Health by Habit understands that taste plays a crucial role in treatment compliance and repurchasing behaviour. That's exactly why they have transformed their vitamins into tasty gummies. By delivering a full sensory experience, they have unlocked the potential for innovative and appealing products that resonate with the desires of consumers.

    To thrive in the challenging, constantly evolving OTC landscape, brands must embrace the power of experience. By making the most of both online and offline platforms and crafting unforgettable sensory encounters, brands can create meaningful connections and unlock limitless potential. The key lies in understanding what consumers truly want and delivering on those desires, wherever and whenever it is needed.

    Want to know how you can optimise your omnichannel strategy or product experience?

    Reach out to Haystack Consulting!

    Get in touch with the expert

    Hannelore Goddyn
    +32 (0) 16 74 70 58
    Business Director