How to increase medicine sales through packaging?

Understanding Marketing Research
The importance of packaging Smart solutions Consequences of poorly designed packaging What is the solution? Discovering individual consumer insights Benefits you will gain

Do you have several different concepts for over-the-counter (OTC) or supplement product packaging and are struggling to choose the best one before starting your advertising campaign? If you're wondering how to increase medicine sales, we've prepared the following guide for you. Reading it carefully will help you find the answer to this important question. Through packaging, you will be able to increase the value of your brand and, consequently, the competitiveness of your business.


The importance of packaging

The key role in the customer's choice of a particular product among many others is played by the first impression. Consumers usually reach for over-the-counter medicines spontaneously, and sometimes in a hurry. They don't have time to analyze the composition or read information about usage rules or side effects. Purchases are increasingly made not only in pharmacies but also at gas stations or newsstands.

You must do everything in your power to make the packaging stand out from the competitive brands. Its features should perfectly match the preferences and needs of customers. Both an attractive visual design - consistent with the brand's personality, the convenience of the packaging, its shape, and size matter. Packaging will also gain attractiveness if it appeals to the potential buyer's senses, especially touch and smell.

In doing so, it is worth placing emphasis on many elements of the packaging at the same time. Even an extremely interesting and eye-catching design will not encourage people to take a medicine if its packaging leaves a lot to be desired in terms of functionality, readability or the way it is opened at first glance. Consumers are also looking for (usually taking a few seconds) indications on dosage, efficacy and product safety. There is also a trend for consumers to look for innovative solutions in the packaging of medicines, while at the same time expecting the materials used to be environmentally friendly.


- The packaging of medicinal products is very often viewed closely by consumers. For example, according to our research, as many as 76% of them look for information on the expiry date, more than half look for use or dosage. This is why the legibility of packaging, for example, is so important. We buy with our eyes and in the case of medicinal products, this slogan is also important- notes Dr Monika Jaremków - R&D Director at the Biostat Research and Development Centre.


Smart solutions

The importance of packaging for customers is growing due to innovative patents that pharmaceutical companies boldly introduce into their products. Their role is primarily to increase patient safety, facilitate the administration of medicines, and extend their shelf life. They are especially useful for patients with chronic diseases such as allergies, diabetes, or hypertension. Innovative technology used in packaging includes:

  • A sensor signaling the patient's next dose and sending sound or SMS notifications.
  • A system analyzing the exposure of the medicine to adverse conditions and notifying about exceeding allowable values - for example, by changing the color of the packaging.
  • An electronic recorder, allowing the recording of the times of the last dose.

Innovative packaging solutions also aim to increase the visual appeal of the medicine in the eyes of the customer. Their attention may be attracted, for example, by the implementation of a glowing packaging effect.

But let us be honest. Most marketers are not able to find the time to follow the rapidly changing trends in the area of medical packaging in the midst of their day-to-day duties. Therefore, the optimum solution may turn out to be the use of research companies specialising in medical market analysis.

At the same time, it is worth realising that the application of even the most spectacular solutions does not necessarily translate into increased sales - especially if this goes hand in hand with a significant increase in the price of the medicine. Therefore, before a product with new packaging appears on the market, it is worthwhile to verify the needs of the target customers. Research findings are extremely useful for this purpose.


Consequences of poorly designed packaging

If you design your packaging in a way that takes into account the needs of consumers, you will gain a number of advantages. First and foremost, you will be able to positively differentiate your own brand's products on the pharmacy or shop shelf in the face of strong competition. Keep in mind that the final success usually depends on small details. If the new packaging is negatively received by customers, the consequence is likely to be a loss of revenue and, in some cases, even permanent damage to the brand image.


What is the solution?

You will only be able to design packaging that translates into high sales if you take into account the habits and needs of customers in specific segments. Remember that the packaging preferences of a young and well-educated person will be completely different from those of an older customer, for whom values such as stability and a sense of security are important. You are therefore faced with the need to verify who your potential customer actually is.

In order to get to know your consumers and segment them demographically and socially, you need to conduct marketing research. To this end, it makes sense to simultaneously carry out qualitative (e.g. FGI and IDI interviews) and quantitative (e.g. CAWI, CATI, CAPI) measurements.

If you decide to commission research to an external company, you gain the chance to recognise the expectations and needs of your target group customers with regard to the design of drug packaging in particular, having regard to such features as:

  • advertising slogans that translate into increased sales;
  • the size, colour scheme and type of font on the packaging;
  • design;
  • the shape of the logos
  • the colours of the packaging;
  • the form and size of the packaging;
  • protection against soiling and exposure of the packaging;
  • number of capsules in a single pack;
  • method of opening and handiness;
  • environmental friendliness of the materials;
  • instructions on the dosage of the medicine, as well as data on its properties/active substances, speed of action, safety, shelf life and possible side effects;
  • consistency with the brand personality;
  • price flexibility depending on the packaging design chosen;
  • evaluation in comparison to competitors' packaging;
  • use of innovative packaging solutions.


Check: Understanding marketing research


Discovering individual consumer insights

In order to gain information about the hidden needs of target group customers, the survey should be designed in such a way that participants can share their thoughts, opinions and proposals for change without feeling embarrassed. It will also be possible to obtain valuable data if the survey proves interesting and engaging for its participants. Individual consumer insights are much easier to obtain if they go outside the box. An optimal solution may be to use projection techniques - even the most creative ones (e.g. personification methods).


Benefits you will gain

The result of a properly executed packaging concept study is a list of conclusions and recommendations. Through their implementation, you have the opportunity to achieve benefits such as

  • optimisation of the budget spent on advertising and other promotional methods;
  • increased revenues from drug/supplement sales;
  • more effective planning of the marketing campaign;
  • proper selection of promotion and distribution channels;
  • identification of unconscious needs in target customer groups, as well as their preferences and purchasing behaviour;
  • increasing consumers' willingness to reach for drugs of a given brand in relation to competitors' products.


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Frequently asked questions

Do packaging concept studies only cover new products or also those existing in the company's offer?

Packaging concept studies can cover both new products being introduced to the market and existing products in the company's offer. In the case of the latter, studies help adjust the packaging to changing consumer preferences.


Do packaging concept studies also include an assessment of the practicality and functionality of the packaging?

Yes, packaging concept studies can include an assessment of practicality and functionality, such as ease of opening, storage, and compliance with consumer expectations regarding usability.


What is the best way to conduct packaging concept studies?

Most often, online surveys with graphics or videos showing the product are used for packaging concept studies. Some entrepreneurs also opt for focus groups where packaging concepts are presented live to respondents.


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