Launched last month, Pharmed’insight works through a network of more than 15,000 pharmacies to pool qualitative data from pharmacy owners, pharmacy teams and patients on various insights, including product usage, branding effectiveness and shopper trends, among other things. This was then analysed and could be shared to influence market entry decisions or provide a deeper understanding on current product acceptance, for example.
‘Powerful’ way of studying
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, CEO of Pharmedicom Antoine Laurent said it was a highly valuable tool that gave industry a deeper understanding of a less-known but important area for cosmetic brands.
“What is really powerful with our way of studying, compared to other classical studies done by cosmetic brands with a phone platform, is that the people asking the questions and collecting the data are health professionals – either pharmacists or part of the team,” Laurent said.
“…This took us a really long time. We started Pharmedicom ten years ago and now we can count 15,500 pharmacies in our database. And it’s not only a database or an excel sheet, all these pharmacists sign a contract with us saying they will be part of the network and that they’re ready to investigate and collect data whenever asked.”
Pharmacies received payment (€25-50) for each survey completed, he said, and members of the team earned ‘points’ that could be then used against a gifting scheme.
Laurent said insight gathered through the surveys complemented quantitative data on things like where a pharmacy was based, whether it was close to a school or retirement home, the store size and turnover, and patient or consumer footfall.
For a cosmetics brand, he said this survey data could be used to anticipate market entry, working out potential acceptance on a new product or how best to position it, or perhaps how a current product was received and what its biggest selling points were.
Pharmacies ‘really important’ for cosmetics
Laurent said it was important cosmetic brands understood more about pharmacies, given France alone had more than 20,000 and a large percentage of cosmetics products were sold in these outlets.
While the cosmetics industry knew lots about its consumer demographic and retail footprint elsewhere – how and where consumers shopped and what they thought of products – pharmacies were very different, he said, in terms of merchandising, organisation and shopper trends.
“Pharmacies are independent, so they’re all unique. It’s a very different market to address, for sure, but very interesting because there are 22,000 in France. It’s huge; it’s really huge.”
“…I think pharmacies are a strategic outlet to address for every cosmetic company because it allows them to be visible in every small village.”
Laurent said Pharmed’insight was primarily available in France, and parts of Belgium and Switzerland, but the goal was to expand into other European countries in the coming months and eventually overseas.
By the end of this year, he said Pharmedicom hoped to have at least five more patient insight studies running and have kickstarted European expansion.
“What I need to do is to transform a promise with proof,” he said. “…I have to show our studies are simply better than the others, because we are collecting data in the right place – the pharmacy – at the right moment; just at the right moment.”