Effective, legal marketing of alternative health products

A generic image of capsules and pills of complementary and alternative medicinesThe Health Products Association of South Africa (HPASA) is keeping its members abreast of legal issues with insight into how to legally market alternative medicines and health products etc. HPASA is a leading industry body in the natural health products, nutritional dietary supplements, and complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) industries in South Africa. The association’s president, Bruce Dennison, comments: ‘We ensure that all our members are fully informed to guarantee that their products comply with regulations.’

Many of these requirements are set out in the Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965. But it’s not only meeting legal standards that is important for retailers in this fast-growing sector. ‘The local health industry is growing annually by 13.5 percent and is estimated to be worth over R8 billion,’ he adds. In this high-stakes environment, getting an advantage over the competition is vital for a foothold in this substantial market.

Attention-grabbing packaging

‘For over-the-counter and on-shelf health products and supplements, impactful packaging with a clear benefit-driven message is a massive driver for shoppers in making their purchasing decision. There are many factors influencing this decision, so getting it right is imperative,’ says Gee van Veijeren, brand strategist at Fountainhead Design. ‘Research has proven that more than 90 percent of purchase decisions are made in the “magic moment”, which is the few seconds when a shopper stands at a shelf and decides to choose one product over its competitor.’ 

Fountainhead Design is a boutique design and branding agency specialising in packaging for many blue-chip clients.

Be clear, keep it concise

In a world of information overload, too much or complex information confuses and intimidates shoppers, says Gee, who advocates clean and relevant packaging designed with information economy. ‘Clear, easy to understand labelling of all ingredients, which is also a legal requirement, and a relevant tone of voice for claims gives shoppers all the necessary information and in the right order. This helps them make a quick and informed decision,’ he explains. ‘This is a big plus for retailers too, which want products to move fast and to generate sales.’

For retailers, additionally, neat and logically arranged shelves, plus visuals with engaging and exciting messages, are great ways to attract consumers and get them interested in the merchandise on offer. ‘Sight is your first step towards selling your product, and enticing consumers with effective displays will get your product noticed,’ says Roben Ridley, marketing and merchandising specialist at Roben Ridley Marketing.


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