Pearly whites: Q&A with GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Cameron Poluszek
Drug Store News caught up with Cameron Poluszek, marketing director of oral health at GSK Consumer Healthcare, to discuss current trends in oral care.
DSN: Can you discuss the current trends in oral care? Are consumers looking for whitening, cavity protection or items that do all and more?
Cameron Poluszek: According to the latest Mintel Oral Care Report, Oral Hygiene Global Annual Review 2016, the oral hygiene market continues to focus heavily on whitening products, as this is one of the leading concerns among consumers in both developed and emerging countries. We continue to see the whitening category as an opportunity for the Sensodyne brand. The launch of Sensodyne True White this year, provided consumers with sensitive teeth a solution for both sensitivity relief and a whitening option from a toothpaste.
Daily whitening toothpastes can help remove “extrinsic staining,” which is the technical term for stains on the outside of your teeth caused by coffee, tea and smoking. What you may not know is that most whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles that work to remove extrinsic stains by scrubbing them off the surface of the tooth, revealing the unstained layer below. This scrubbing can actually increase tooth sensitivity, especially noticeable for people who already have sensitive teeth.
DSN: How many consumers have sensitive teeth? What can they do to correct the issue?
Poluszek: Sensitive teeth may affect as many as 1-in-3 people, even young adults. Dentin hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, is a condition that can develop over time as a result of common problems, such as receding gums and enamel wear. Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth, called dentin, becomes exposed.
Once the dentin is exposed, external triggers, such as a cold drink, can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in the characteristic short, sharp pain of tooth sensitivity. People with dentin hypersensitivity can help to minimize further exposure of the dentin, care for their sensitive teeth and relieve the painful symptoms by making some simple changes to their daily oral care routine and dietary habits.
DSN: Is there something retailers can do to improve oral care sales?
Poluszek: Oral care category growth is being driven by specialist products, which are developed to address certain needs. As consumers become more aware and educated about their oral health, they look for products that help them treat or manage a condition while helping provide good overall oral health.
DSN: Is any social media coming into play to promote oral care, Sensodyne?
Poluszek: Digital, in general, is becoming more important. Consumers look to learn about oral health conditions and products not just from TV commercials or product websites. Consumers look to their peers, influencers and other trusted sources for information, and such digital channels as social are becoming increasingly important.
DSN: Any new programs or products on the horizon?
Poluszek: Given the elevated consumer interest with teeth whitening products, we will continue to support our most recent launch in the portfolio, Sensodyne True White toothpaste. This toothpaste combines the sensitivity relief that you need while giving you the whiter teeth that you want.
DSN: How important are recommendations of professionals?
Poluszek: Healthcare professionals play an important role in not only providing recommendations for products, but also behavior changes that lead to improved health.
Millennials redefine in-store experience
As millennials have cemented themselves as the largest generation by population at 75.4 million, outnumbering baby boomers for the first time, the retail industry has been inundated with insights about their shopping habits.
According to Kantar Retail’s Nicole Santosuosso, the uptick in information and insights about millennials has obfuscated the ways millennials are ushering in fundamental changes in how all consumers shop.
“Really what I’m talking about is a new consumer — a new proactive health consumer that’s using technology to facilitate a more seamless health experience,” Santosuosso said at Kantar Retail’s Drug Channels Workshop. “Gen Y is taking a different approach — relying on the store as more of an overall health destination and leveraging digital tools to streamline that experience.”
Millennials exist at the intersection of techsavviness and health needs, as they are 57% more likely than all consumers to have researched an item online while in-store and 68% more likely to have purchased something through a retailer’s app. At the same time, they experience health conditions comparable to other age groups, especially psychiatric conditions. And by using technology to drive personalization, healthcare retailers are looking to meet millennials where they want to be met.
“The drug store no longer has one touch-point to the consumer, … but instead they now have multiple touchpoints from which they can intersect and connect with their shoppers,” Santosuosso said. “We’ve seen each of the drug retailers investing in their digital capabilities and strategies, both on the backend — investing in digital capabilities and data — and on the front-end with new platforms and digital tools.”
These tools are largely taking the shape of new technology. Walgreens’ efforts to reach the millennial consumers begin with its app — which allows users to manage their prescriptions and view Balance Rewards points and digital coupons. Walgreens also has partnerships with MD Live for telehealth, which recently added behavioral health appointments, and Postmates for delivery. It also has its program to reward healthy behavior with Balance Rewards points.
Similarly, CVS has partnered with telehealth providers Teladoc, American Well and Doctor on Demand to provide customer-saving information. The drug retailer also has formed a partnership with IBM’s Watson to use patient data to create predictive services for patients with chronic conditions. The company also has implemented a curbside pickup feature called CVS Express and has worked to turn its web-site into a healthcare resource through Minute-Clinic’s digital properties.
Rite Aid is focusing on growing its Plenti customer base, and has implemented in-store proximity beacons at all locations through a partnership with InMarket. The beacon-level proximity data gives Rite Aid the ability to target customers in a way that’s similar to that used in e-commerce. The beacons also create the infrastructure to allow Rite Aid to link its stores to the Internet of Things, creating an always-on store environment.
Given all of the efforts that retailers are making to reach millennials, Santosuosso outlined ways that suppliers can leverage technology and health to reach millennials both in the store and beyond. Millennials need to believe in the mission behind a product, and because suppliers’ ability to tell stories about their product and get millennials engaged is limited at the shelf, Santosuosso recommended that brands ask themselves how they communicate their missions and how they customize their message.
Suppliers also can sell products at their preferred price, if they communicate the value of the product. And they can promote their products by partnering with outside companies to provide value-added services and technology to drive conversion.
The final thing Santosuosso recommended considering is placement — creating more meaningful connections to the brand, while extending the experience beyond the store through technology.
“The beauty of [technology] is that you always have the endcap,” Santosuosso said. “It’s allowing suppliers to use digital platforms to drive digital engagement with this new proactive consumer.”
HALO’s SwaddleSure now available in the baby aisle
MINNETONKA, Minn. — There's a new product designed to help baby sleep through the night, and it's called SwaddleSure.
HALO says its new SwaddleSure blanket is a safe, easy and secure way to keep baby sleeping longer and more peacefully. Its innovative design with adjustable fasteners makes it easy to swaddle correctly for a perfect fit every time. Plus, its patented three-point fastening system resists “breakouts” for superior, more secure swaddling. The design also features a generously-sized leg pouch to help baby’s hips stay in the correct, frog-like position which ensures healthy hip development and allows easy access to baby’s diaper for diaper change.
The new HALO SwaddleSure Adjustable Swaddling Pouch can be used over regular sleepwear to take the place of loose blankets. Made from 100% cotton with TOG 1.0, SwaddleSure is available in newborn (6-12 lbs) and small ( 13-16 lbs), all featuring the “back is best” embroidery to remind all to put baby to sleep on his back. $12.99 MSRP.