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Is your counter ready for cough and cold season?

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Here’s how to make the most of cough sales:

1. Stress the best. Focus on top-selling SKUs with prime placement on the top shelf at the front counter.

2. Leverage the off-season. Always stay in stock on bestsellers, and use POS materials to promote cough SKUs all year long.

3. Meet consumer needs. Take advantage of the latest nutrition trends, and bring in innovative SKUs with new flavours and formats.

4. Employ helpful tools. Look to your sales rep for planograms, POS materials, and other merchandising advice.

Cough and cold season is fast approaching, which means one thing for c-gas retailers: get your cough counter stocked and ready, because as your customers fall into the grips of cough and sore throat symptoms, they’ll be looking for relief in the form of tried-and-true cough SKUs.

As more Canadians are affected by cough and cold symptoms, c-gas cough sales are also on the rise. A long and intense 2012-2013 winter season impacted 7% more Canadians than the year previous[1], leading to the gain of 1.3 market share points YTD in the total confectionery category[2].

Time it right 

October and November are among the top five months for cough purchases, and the majority of cough drops are sold during cough and cold season. During this peak period, retailers should ensure they’re always in stock on top-selling SKUs. HALLS is the top cough brand in the c-channel, making up 77% of sales, so allot plenty of space for these popular SKUs in your cough planogram[2].

Merchandise for sales

Retailers who are up to snuff on merchandising best practices will better engage their customers. Cough SKUs should be found close to the cash, and should always be on the top shelf, where 49% of shoppers expect to find them[3]. HALLS sub-brands like Centres and Vitamin C should be blocked horizontally.

While many shoppers intend to make cough purchases, front-of-store displays can trigger unplanned purchases and build incremental sales, especially during the fall months. Secondary displays are also an asset at this time, so use point-of-sale materials to attract shopper attention.

Feature innovation 

Shoppers of the cough category are concerned with overall well-being, and are looking for products that contain health-boosters like Vitamin D, antioxidants, and Omega-3. Both flavour and format innovation are welcome additions to c-stores, but should never replace the bestselling brands your customers expect to see on your shelves.

Year-round focus 

Lastly, remember that although sales are highest during the cough season, you should properly merchandise your shelves the rest of the year, too, as 40% of HALLS sales happen outside of cough and cold season[2]. Don’t forget to leverage sales reps and their tools, from planograms and new product information to merchandising advice and POS materials.

Insights provided by Marina Barbieri, associate shopper marketing manager, Mondelēz Canada


[1]IMS Health – Flu/Cold/Respiratory Illness Activity Notification (FAN) Report, January 2013.

[2]Nielsen MT, National C&G, L52 wks p/e April 27, 2013.

[3] IPSOS – Cough Drops Purchase Behaviour, May 2011.