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PediFix 'not a me-too foot care company'.

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- With its focus on innovative foot care products, PediFix Footcare Co. is committed to giving chain drug retailers the tools they need to capitalize on a category that is poised for continued growth.

In addition to redesigning its packaging in an effort to create a bold new look, the supplier's ongoing research and development program is focused on breaking new ground in foot care.

"This is not a me-too company," says vice president of marketing Carole McLemore. "We are addressing specific niches in foot care with a line of products that helps retailers build the category."

For example, one of PediFix' newest items is the Barefoot Science foot-strengthening insole system, which is designed to help individuals walk their way to pain relief that goes beyond the feet. Much the way squeezing a tennis ball can help strengthen the hand and arm, Bare foot Science is designed to use the body's natural feedback system to help relieve foot, back, hip and neck pain. Research conducted by the company found that 97% of consumers testing the product indicated a strong desire to purchase it.

Also new is the PediFix arch bandage, which was added to the supplier s consumer line after proving to be successful in the medical market. The product, which is washable and reusable, is designed to relieve sore feet quickly by gently squeezing and supporting fallen arches and flat feet.

The company is also rolling out a line of TheraSocks, which are made with a double-layer design that helps protect against general foot pain as well as discomfort arising from such chronic conditions as diabetes and arthritis. The sock-within-a-sock design features CoolMax, a smooth material that carries moisture to the outer layer, leaving the feet dry and comfortable.

McLemore notes that the items being launched by PediFix this year follow a number of successful introductions in 1998.

Among them is the Visco-GEL toe protector, which is designed to protect toes from corns, ingrown nails, hammertoe and other ailments. Also, the Visco-GEL toe spreader was created to gently align and separate toes to relieve pain caused by bunions. Both ViscoGEL items deliver a time-release mineral oil to help moisturize, soften and soothe painful toe irritations.

Last year PediFix also unveiled WartSTICK, which McLemore describes as the only solid-stick wart remover formulated with maximum-strength salicylic acid. She adds that the product launch was influenced by the earlier success of ComSTICK, which helps dissolve corns with the same solid-stick delivery system.

"Retailers like WartSTICK," explains McLemore. "Its small packaging and premium positioning make it a very productive SKU which can replace duplicate liquid remover SKUs with a superior product that people prefer."

She says that the latest innovations from PediFix come at a time when the category continues to gain momentum. "The foot care business saw a 13.7% increase in dollar volume in all classes of trade last year, and another double-digit increase is expected this year, especially in the devices segment," she notes.

While McLemore acknowledges that the aging of the population is certain to increase demand for products that relieve foot discomfort, she points out that there are also more immediate opportunities for fueling sales. Consumer education and in-store merchandising strategies are two keys, she says.

McLemore gives chain drug retailers high marks for stressing the efficacy of over-the-counter foot care products and addressing the specific needs of consumers shopping the section. She adds that it is a good idea to minimize SKU duplication and focus on the top-selling items in each segment, thus leaving space for a broader assortment of products.

"Overall, chain drug stores are doing a good job of merchandising the category by remedy," she observes. "It's important to make it easy for consumers to shop, because many are driven to the foot care section by the pain they are experiencing. When retailers simplify the shopping experience they provide consumers with a quick way to find the right foot care product for their aliment."

However, she adds, the category could further benefit from efforts to increase awareness of the merchandise that is available.

"Even though 80% of the population suffers foot pain at some point, there is still relatively low household penetration of foot care products," notes McLemore. "The challenge for those involved in the category is to get the word out and let people know that there are remedies available at the drug store."

PediFix Footcare Co.

Four Columbus Ave. Mount Kisco, N.Y. 10549

Key contact: Jon Case National accounts manager

Web site: www.pedifix.com.

Phone: (917) 241-0222

Fax: (914) 241-1650
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Comment:PediFix 'not a me-too foot care company'.
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 7, 1999
Words:762
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