News

Marketing to women drives foot care

BY DSN STAFF

In 2004, Implus introduced an entire line of foot care devices, called Airplus For Her, specifically marketed toward women. Today, taking a quick peek at a Walgreens set, you see almost a color divider marking the influx of women’s related products—with pinks and purples— versus the standard foot care devices marketed toward a more pedestrian population.

Schering-Plough last year reinforced that marketing toward women with the introduction of its For Her line of foot care products, a lineup that includes open-shoe insoles and clear-ball foot cushions in addition to its selection of regular insoles marketed toward women. The Dr. Scholl’s For Her line also includes a range of deep-moisturizing foot creams and scrubs and pedicure implements, all specifically designed for the thick skin on the feet.

The companies are looking to tie into the potential for high-volume, high-heel foot traffic, especially considering that more than 55 million Americans experience an average of 1.4 foot problems each year and that women experience four times as many foot problems as men, according to statistics from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Top foot care manufacturers

Source: Information Resources Inc. for the 52 weeks ended July 15 across food, drug and mass (minus Wal-Mart)
  Sales in millions % chg
Foot care devices $306.4 6.4%
Schering-Plough 174.7 4.6
Pro-Foot 18.7 –10.2
Implus 11.1 2.1
Homedics 9.0 66.7
Spenco 4.8 27.9
  Sales in millions % chg
Athlete’s foot $295.0 –1.4%
Schering-Plough 94.8 –3.0
Novartis 54.3 –2.9
Chattem 11.1 13.0
Combe 10.6 –4.4
Del Labs 7.9 25.7

According to a survey conducted earlier this year by APMA, 21 percent of women complained of having heel pain, and another 12 percent identified their shoes as the source of their pain. Of those women who complained of foot problems, 28 percent sought an over-the counter solution versus the 25 percent who consulted a podiatrist, while 27 percent did nothing.

Lately, Implus has employed cause marketing to help get its feminine foot care message across to female consumers. Implus is one of the corporate sponsors of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, which raises money to help advance breast cancer research. Between Sept. 15, 2007, and July of next year, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer will be hosted in nine cities, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“We see that as a good grassroots vehicle to [help raise awareness on] the features and benefits” that Airplus For Her brings to the table, Steve Head, Implus executive vice president, told Drug Store News. “And cause-based marketing resonates with the consumer. We try to come at the category from a different angle than Scholl’s in order to bring a different consumer and more consumers to the set.”

As part of the sponsorships, Implus has a presence at the event with a booth and samples of its Airplus For Her offerings. “We’re looking in 2008 to take that up a notch and do some local [marketing], where we’re donating money directly to schools that concentrate on cancer research.”

BY THE NUMBERS

55 millionAmericans with foot problems

The category’s leaning toward marketing to women appears to continue to be paying dividends. Sales of all foot care devices are up 6.4 percent to $306.4 million for the 52 weeks ended July 15 across food, drug and mass retailers (minus Wal-Mart), according to Information Resources Inc.

HBN Shoe/Insolia’s research on market potential only reinforces that merchandising position. More than 80 million American women are buying 200 million pairs of high heels each year, suggesting that the inventory of high heels in women’s closets are many times that. And 80 percent of those women are uncomfortable in those high heels, reported Michael Backler, president of HBN Shoe, and those women are more likely to purchase multiple inserts for permanent placement in their “favorite” shoes.

Insolia initially was manufactured within DKNY shoes, and last year it began going to market as a separate high-heel insert. The product relieves high-heel discomfort by shifting the weight of the body off the ball of the foot and back to the heel. “From all indications, this has become one of the best-selling foot care products for the retailers who carry it,” Backler said.

It’s a sized product, Backler noted, coming in both small and medium. (Large is absent because who would want to tell a woman she has big feet?) “The concept of a one-size-fits-all to fix a problem in a shoe is anti-technology— the idea that you can use a size 6 [insole] in a size 10 [shoe],” he said. Sales across both of those SKUs, Backler noted, has landed each of the products within the top 10 foot care devices over the first half of the year.

And Implus currently is showcasing a Heel Savers product, a heel insert that allows consumers to swap out two gel inserts of differing softness into the heel pad. “Or you can use the product without either [insert] to create a ring around the heel that’s ideal for heel spurs,” Head said. Implus also is showcasing a new peel-and-stick arch product, called Ultra Arch, that can be placed inside any shoe for customized arch support.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?
News

Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?
News

NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?