GSK looking to build gamification into pharmacy digital experience

The coming together of healthcare giants Glaxo Smith Kline and Novartis to create a consumer health care division will see the company trying new digital ideas in stores, including gamifying the retail experience.


The creation of the joint division by the companies earlier this year is being used as an opportunity for GSK and Novartis to take a fresh look at in-store engagement by customers, GSK’s head of respiratory, skin and GI marketing told Mumbrella.

“At GSK we are now putting a huge amount of focus on digital,” Charissa King said.

“Obviously healthcare is something that’s incredibly important for consumers and it shows in the way they engage online. One-in-20 Google searches is about healthcare.

chemist at desk_consumer_healthcare - GSK website“What it means for us is we are increasing our investment in digital marketing, we are up-skilling our people. We have taken the best of legacy Novartis and the best of legacy GSK. We are now looking at new ways, now with the strength and size of the business, to partner with our retailers.”

GSK’s brands include the likes of Panadol, Eno, Horlicks, Sensodyne and Nicabate as well as a suite of prescription products.

King said that retailers had initially been nervous about allowing platforms for digital content into their stores, but were now warming to the idea.

“It’s absolutely an area that they see as critical and I think when this trend first emerged there was probably a little bit of nervousness around for health care, how big could this be and how lasting is the trend going to be,” King said.

“It’s been around a few years now and there is no sign of it going away.”

She said that in order to drive the digital engagement of its brands in stores, GSK would be bringing new partners on board to help deliver on the strategy.

“We are actually looking at partnering with smaller start-up business and leveraging their technology. There are a couple of things that we are pitching to retailers for the rest of the year that is really exciting.

“In terms of the consumer experience and how we bring digital innovation and technology it’s not just the ecommerce area it’s also the in-store experience, and I think that is something that isn under-utilised at the moment.”

Among the technologies being considered by GSK are beacon technology that would let brands communicate with customers at the right time and in the right place to enhance the in-store purchase.

One big area the company is now investigating is gamifying the shopping experience.

King said it could prove a crucial step in a space where people were often seeking advice and information about the products they were purchasing while in the store.

“We are looking at how we bring things like gamification technology to the actual shopping moment to help with things like product selection and drive the overall engagement of consumer healthcare,” she said.

“It’s trying to take the best from FMCG, which is all about being fast-paced and being able to connect with those consumers immediately but also the consumer healthcare side of things, which is very much about the regulations and the science that we bring to our brands.

“We are not selling shampoo or confectionary, we are selling medication to people.”

King also said that social, which she introduced to GSK in Australia, was important, but it only worked with specific brands and needed to be treated with care.

“I think social media for us is really important on certain brands where people are looking to have a connection with our brands,” she said.

“We’ve identified those communities which are most important to us. It always can be a double-edged sword but at the same time if you manage those sorts of things properly, then actually with the consumer, it almost restores their faith and trust in the brand.”


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