A Remedy for In-Store Success

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A Remedy for In-Store Success

By Peter Breen - 11/25/2019

When the Path to Purchase Institute’s editors began working with our partners at MarketingLab/SellCheck to identify the best in-store marketing program in the 25-year history of our Design of the Times Awards competition, we definitely expected to select a campaign that had held up well over the years. We didn’t realize we’d find one that was still in the field.

But that’s exactly what we got with the Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotics Kiosk, which was originally honored in 2007 as our Best of the Times winner, a little over a year after Schering-Plough first rolled the display out to 150 Meijer, Famous Footwear and Walgreens stores.

Since then, this best-in-class example of shopper engagement has practically become a staple near pharmacy counters in thousands of stores. That’s quite a testament for an oversized display – the original was 250 pounds, with dimensions of 70” x 42” x 36” – promoting a product that isn’t quite a core category for any of the chains in which it resides.

The program represented a pretty significant business initiative for the Dr. Scholl’s brand: the launch of an orthotic shoe insert with 14 varieties that would better meet the needs of consumers 35 to 64 years old. By removing their shoes and stepping on the display’s footpad, shoppers would learn which of the 14 available SKUs would best fit their own needs.

The kiosk was designed to meet the specific needs of its target audience: Despite its sophisticated diagnostic technology (2,000 pressure sensors simulating real-world conditions to replicate various foot motions), its on-screen commands made it easy for techno-phobes to use. Design-wise, the side rails helped older shoppers maintain their balance, while the concave “belly hole” accommodated overweight consumers who often are in most need of orthotics.

“We do a lot of consumer research at Schering-Plough,” project lead Glenn Goldberg, then the company’s director of marketing and innovation, told us in 2008. (Merck acquired Schering-Plough in 2009.) “Everything we do is grounded in consumer insights.” Both the design and the functionality have steadily improved with each subsequent kiosk upgrade.

Goldberg continued to guide the program as it became a strategic business unit, building out manufacturing, distribution, installation and maintenance plans as the kiosk rolled out to 4,500 stores and into Canada. He now is commercial lead for the Nexium brand at Pfizer. The display’s original manufacturer, Mechtronics Corp., went out of business in 2017.

The program was a case study in team collaboration (uniting multiple internal functions and external suppliers), as well as an admirable feat in retailer sell-in (requiring approval from operations and logistics in addition to category managers).

It’s also a great example of in-store marketing that does far more than provide secondary placement for incremental product sales. It not only explains the brand proposition, it delivers the brand proposition by helping shoppers identify the exact product they need. What’s more, it gives consumers a legitimate reason to visit a brick-and-mortar store: Dr. Scholl’s website has a ZIP code-driven “Kiosk Finder” that helps consumers identify the nearest location.

We’re also fairly certain that the Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotics Kiosk is the only Design of the Times winner to ever star in TV spots, which it has since rollout. 

With all of these attributes, this kiosk might contend when we host the DOT’s 50th Anniversary Retrospective – assuming we still have brick-and-mortar stores then.

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