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Guest opinion: Add to your success equation

BY Amy Oberg

Mom + Baby has been a very successful equation for drug retailers in the past. After all, babies need lots of “stuff,” and moms historically have been responsible for buying the stuff babies need. The success of the Mom + Baby equation, however, is weakening because it fails to include an increasingly important but often ignored element: Dad. Here’s my forecast for the future: Those retailers who fail to add Dad to the traditional Mom + Baby equation will see their market share decline.

Dads are becoming increasingly involved with parenting and family responsibilities. This increase is being driven by a number of trends, including a new generation of Dads, older and repeat Dads, working moms and changing family economics.

Being a dad isn’t what it used to be. The traditional career-focused absentee dad has been disappearing for three decades. Today’s dads are putting family before work, spending more time with their kids and becoming more involved as parents than previous generations.

Today’s new generation of dads is Millennials who focus heavily on family and believe their role as active parents is very important. The majority of young Millennial men believe a work schedule that allows for more family time is more important than career power or prestige; and at least 7-of-10 indicate they would give up more money for more family time. These young men want to be active, involved fathers and want to take on as much responsibility for child care as moms.

Dads also are increasingly older. While the majority of children are born to men ages 20 to 34 years, the proportion of dads over 40 years is growing. Some over-40 dads are new to the role. Having waited to have children until they are older, they are diving into an active parenting role, including household shopping. Others are divorced and setting up households for themselves and their children, who live with dad part-time. Still others are “do-over dads.”

Do-over dads are older, divorced men who already have children but have remarried and are having second families. These dads already have built their careers and are more interested in family life, creating strong dad relationships and taking on more dad responsibilities then they did when with their first families.

In all of these situations, dads are taking on more family-and household-related duties, and that includes shopping.

As a result of the recession, millions in the United States have lost their jobs—approximately 80% are men, and a disproportionate number of those are over 45 years old. Time to re-employment is often half a year, if not more. For dads—and moms—the tough economy and extended unemployment are bringing a change in traditional family roles and responsibilities. More moms are out working, and more men are at home taking care of the children. It has taken some adjustment, but dads are growing to appreciate their stay-at-home roles. Once re-employed, these dads will maintain a high level of family and parenting involvement.

These trends have lead to an increasingly important role of dad as the family shopper. A 2009 Nielsen study indicated that about one-third of men are now the principal household shoppers, and about one-quarter do at least half of the weekly shopping. The share of retail shopping trips by men increased across all outlets from 2008-2009, while women’s declined. Men also are increasingly buying kids’ clothing, school supplies and educational/entertainment products.

Dads, however, aren’t crazy about shopping. They avoid spending time in stores by shopping online. This means a lot of opportunities in the future for drug stores to attract dad shoppers by building their online presence and dad e-relationships.

Remember, the equation for the future is Mom + Baby + Dad = Success.

Amy Oberg is managing partner of Future-In-Sight, a strategic advisory firm, and a futurist, holding a master of science degree in Studies of the Future. You can contact Oberg at [email protected] and see her Web site at Future-In-Sight.com.

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NACDS puts a new spin on Meet the Market

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO This year the National Association of Chain Drug Stores introduced two new features to its Meet the Market format. First, NACDS hosted a Meet the Market Presentation Template webinar twice prior to Meet the Market, in which NACDS introduced a meeting template that succinctly captured all of the information retailers typically use to evaluate a new product or company.

Also new to Meet the Market were the booths of 10 service companies — trade media and professional education, merchandising consultants and marketing/media information companies — which afforded an opportunity for new and smaller suppliers to meet with these organizations.

“New companies have a need not only to meet with retailers, obviously, they have a need for their business,” noted Jim Whitman, NACDS SVP meetings and conferences. Another ongoing improvement is the productivity within each meeting, Whitman added. “We keep refining the match, the appointments,” he said.

This year, the Meet the Market format — in which smaller and new suppliers have 10-minute meetings with their category buyers — represented more than 8,000 face-to-face pre-arranged appointments.

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Retail clinic growth slowing down? Not a chance

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The news that Target is looking to expand its retail-based clinic business this year is yet one more indicator that reports of the demise of retail clinic growth have been greatly exaggerated.

(THE NEWS: Target to expand its retail clinic presence. For the full story, click here)

As the article states, Target, which opened its first clinic in 2006, is looking to open up eight new locations this September. It already operates 28 locations in Minnesota and Maryland.

It wasn’t so long ago — April to be exact — that CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic indicated that it could double its current number of clinics in five years.

Why the growth? Well, aside from the aging population and a shortage of primary care physicians, a major catalyst is healthcare reform, which will mean that 32 million people who currently are uninsured will have healthcare coverage. With emergency rooms already overflowing, and primary care physicians already over-extended, having a retail clinic nearby where patients can receive convenient, quality and affordable health care will only become increasingly important.

Meanwhile, RediClinic, which has 22 clinics in H-E-B stores in Houston and Austin, Texas, is cranking up its marketing efforts and has tapped former Duane Reade executive Jeff Thompson as VP marketing. Thompson will be responsible for RediClinic’s consumer and partner marketing activities, including developing and implementing strategic customer acquisition/retention programs, new product delivery and brand strategy.

Thompson most recently served as VP marketing for Duane Reade.

Clearly, there continues to be significant growth opportunities for clinics — both in terms of the number of clinic locations and the scope of services offered within the clinics. As mentioned earlier, there are 32 million reasons why the growth will be quite dramatic.

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