General Merchandise/HBC

Knowledge Is Power (And Sales)

How to market to the different HBC consumer segments and maximize profits

Success in retail is more than price, value and assortment. It involves the psychology behind a shopper’s motives and purchases. This is especially true for convenience-store retailers looking to sell more health and beauty care (HBC) products, but it’s equally challenging due to the mix of personalities shopping this channel. Turns out four different types of consumers are most likely to purchase HBC items in c-stores. Some wonder if it’s possible—or logical—to appeal to the all of them.

shopping for health care products

According to research by an independent consulting firm, the four key consumer segments that purchase HBC in convenience stores are: 1) Emergency (34%); 2) Routine Regulars (33%); 3) Convenient Replenishment (17%); and 4) Medicine Cabinet (16%). The research by Frank N. Magid Associates is based on the study of attitudes and usage of 1,200 c-store HBC shoppers.

The findings provide insight into the mindset of those who purchase HBC in c-stores. First and foremost, these consumers primarily purchase for immediacy (fast relief) or convenience (closest or easiest). They are split on the importance of price vs. value. They tend to be younger, male shoppers, but not the traditional “Bubba” segment. Median age is 34 and 72% male vs. 28% female. Wanting the best value is important to 37%, 34% want the lowest price and 29% don’t pay attention to either.

The Fantastic Four

Although HBC shoppers in convenience stores are broken into four segments, the Routine Regular and Emergency groups comprise nearly 70% of all shoppers. The Routine Regulars tend to be young and skew male, and they prefer to stock up on HBC and seek value over price. Emergency shoppers want the lowest price while others are looking for the best value. The answer?

“Offer the right variety of products, sizes and prices to meet the most frequent needs of convenience-store shoppers” said Doug Marquardt, director of marketing for Lil' Drug Store Products Inc.  “It is also important that convenience retailers make the HBC section easy to find and easy to shop.”

Here is a retail strategy overview for all four shopper segments:

Routine Regulars – Offer a variety of larger sizes to encourage trade-up purchases, run promotions within HBC or cross-promotions between HBC and other categories and connect with this segment through your app or loyalty programs.

Emergency – Offer a variety of trial-size items, make the HBC section easy to find and allow the checkout process to be quick and efficient.

Convenient Replenishment – Keep high-volume HBC products in multiple locations or high-visibility areas (counters or displays) and use gas pump signs or other outdoor media to drive this consumer inside the store.

Medicine Cabinet – Carry a wide assortment within HBC (brands/private label, sizes, flavors, etc.) and offer cross-promotions between HBC and other c-store categories.

Of course, store size and demographics will vary among locations and the assortment of HBC products offered must match shopper preferences. How can retailers make the right choices when planning their sets?

“The most important considerations are providing choice in the categories that matter most to the convenience shopper—pain relievers, upper respiratory, stomach/gastrointestinal, cough drops and family planning,” Marquardt said. “Those categories typically account for 80% of HBC sales, so within those categories it is recommended to offer national brands and private label choices to appeal to both groups of shoppers.”

Find out more about these consumer groups and how to boost your HBC sales by visiting Lil’ Drug Store Products here.

This post is sponsored by Associated Distributors


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