Fighting the Flu

Fighting the Flu

Naomi Sleeper
Vice President Continuous Improvement and Strategic Initiatives
Imperial Distributors


Last month, we discussed supermarket’s role in supporting consumers’ focus on “selfcare.” As we make our way through a rough flu season this winter, this theme could not be more relevant. For those of us who have fallen victim to this season’s persistent viruses (or have been surrounded by those who have), our focus on selfcare has transitioned from resolution-inspired mind, body and soul wellness activities (like meditation, exercise, diets, beauty regimens and at-home spa treatments), to sickness prevention and recovery. Supermarkets can best meet customers’ needs these next couple of months by being fully stocked with a variety of cold and flu remedies, including both HBW products and general merchandise. Here are six must-have in-and-out selfcare programs to address your shoppers’ most critical prevention, symptom relief and recovery needs this flu season.

1. Soap and Sanitation: Help shoppers take the first step — preventing virus spread (to oneself and others) – with soap and sanitation. Stores should merchandise extra inventory of hand soaps, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and even travel masks together at the front of the store for easy access.

2. Over the Counter (OTC) Meds: Help shoppers easily access analgesic, decongestant and cough medicines by dedicating extra rack space for these items at the front of the stores. Be sure to include natural remedies like honey and herb-based syrups in addition to conventional OTC brands and private-label options.

3. Throat and Nose Soothers: In addition to analgesics and decongestants, cold and flu relief racks should include throat and cough lozenges, pocket packs of tissues, and nose balms to soothe raw noses. These items can be easily clip-stripped onto OTC med racks to keep symptom solutions in one place.

4. Hot & Cold Masks & Wraps: For fever relief, cooling masks and cold compresses can help soothe and aid sleep. Warming wraps can also provide comfort to combat fever-induced chills and achiness. Be sure to merchandise thermometers for fever detection and monitoring with these items, as well.

5. Tea Mugs and Strainers: Second to rest, drinking fluids is a top self-care approach for getting over cold and flu. Hot drinks, like herbal teas, can be particularly soothing, and some may even provide therapeutic benefits. Merchandise tea mugs and strainers for loose tea, along with a variety of soothing herbal teas.

6. Soup Mugs: Soup helps cold and flu patients with reduced appetites get additional fluids along with needed nutrients. Soup mugs are not just a fun alternative food vessel; for those laid up in bed or on the couch, they are much easier to handle and less likely to cause spills than a conventional bowl and spoon. Merchandise chicken soup and broths with these mugs for greatest impact.

Merchandising these key flu relief and prevention items together as a complete cold & flu solution at the front of your store will add convenience to the shopper seeking fast flu relief. A comprehensive in-and-out cough, cold & flu program is an ideal way to ensure needed stock of these essentials during their peak demand. Imperial’s 22nd Fall-Winter Seasonal Show, taking place at the Worcester DCU Center this month, provides the perfect opportunity to ensure stores take advantage of seasonal merchandising needs and purchase these robust in-and-out programs, not only for the fall-winter holidays, but also for these post-holiday winter months.