OTC drug shopping: Time for some SKU discipline

From a recent RetailWire post about OTC drugs and the “shoppability” of the category in major drug and discount stores:

OTC drug shopping (especially for pain relievers and cold remedies) makes the cereal aisle seem simple by comparison. Brands like Tylenol and many others have added complexity through an endless stream of line extensions. (I’m still not clear on the difference between “Tylenol Sinus Congestion & Pain” and “Tylenol Severe Sinus Congestion.”) Add the growth in store-brand generics (many with their own line extensions) and it’s no wonder that the consumer is so confused.

Where to start addressing the problem? I think SKU rationalization makes just as much sense in this category as anywhere else in the store, but I wouldn’t stop there. I think it’s critical to add digital signing as a navigation tool and to provide product information. Finally, the big-box pharmacy chains need better category management: If Walgreens (for example) is really committed to be the headquarters of health and wellness, does it need to carry so much unrelated product?


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