Shopping for OTC products can be such a bewildering process that Lifehacker once devoted a post to explaining how to buy cold medicine. By challenging viewers to name the difference between Robitussin Peak Cold Maximum Strength Multi-Symptom Cold and Robitussin Severe Multi-Symptom Cough Cold & Flu (the answer: one contains acetaminophen), the article made clear that OTC brands focus more on developing products than informing consumers about which products they should buy.

Last year Johnson & Johnson took some initiative in this regard, partnering with Rite Aid to create educational product displays. But while Rite Aid reported that the displays boosted sales by as much as 10%, the company neglected a vital opportunity to increase that impact through omnichannel. Rather than limiting the initiative to physical stores, Johnson & Johnson could have made the educational content accessible on its desktop and mobile sites, so consumers could engage with it without having to visit a Rite Aid location.

Store locators

The failure of the initiative highlights a wider failure among OTC brands to leverage omnichannel tactics. Only 31% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: OTC Health Care feature a link to a third-party store locator on their desktop sites, and only 18% let users search to see which products are available at specific locations – a feature that could prevent a great deal of frustration for shoppers searching for specific remedies.

This puts the few brands that have developed these capabilities at a major advantage. Aleve’s PriceSpider tool lets consumers look up products by brand, type, and quantity and also features information about prices, store distance, hours, and phone number. Similarly, Mucinex offers a self-explanatory mobile-optimized locator with intuitive one-touch direction and call features. To get ahead in the OTC space, other brands may consider investing in similar offerings.




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