The Trouble With Drugs

Selling drugs is hard. The pharmaceutical industry is so regulated that even the slightest word can be grounds for trouble with the FDA. It’s a tough life for these companies, at least when it comes to marketing. They’re still making money somehow.

Pharmaceuticals are a classic example of why marketing works on a case-by-case basis. Consider this- consumers don’t prepare to have colds. They get a cold and need immediate relief. Shipping cold medicine can take days but a trip to the drugstore can take minutes. Adding an e-commerce function on Robitussin’s website would be much more of a hassle than a help.

Legally, non-prescription drugs can be sold online, though the brand drug sites I looked at redirected visitors to an outside retailer, like Drugstore.com. Thus, drug brands like Robitussin look at a different kind of conversion.

Robitussin promotes their relief finder in a nice slideshow. I played around with this for a bit and it basically prescribes you a product based on questions about your age and symptoms. It then gives you the options to get a coupon for the product and find a store. Not only is the coupon a great idea, but they also require the customer to enter information and sign up before they can print. That’s when I realized this site is purely to collect information about their customers. From the email offers to coupons, the company wants to learn its customer’s behavior and bring them into their nearest drugstore.

Information is sometimes better than e-commerce. If offline sales are reliable, it’s a perfect way to make use of your site.

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