LONDON: GlaxoSmithKline, the UK pharmaceutical giant, has opened a consumer insights facility to help retailers improve their in-store marketing capabilities in a bid to boost its leading healthcare brands.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Jon Workman, GSK vice-president of sales, said the company wanted to work with major retailers "to collaborate and research how shoppers think".

He hoped the high-tech insights lab, which includes touchscreen technology enabling retailers to view 3D virtual images of stores, would give them "a place to play so we can learn and grow the category".

Eye-tracking technology and other sophisticated designs will also allow retailers to monitor how consumers behave when they're in a store while also registering the effectiveness of packaging, layouts and displays.

The initiative forms part of a wider campaign to boost sales of its healthcare brands, such as the Niquitin range of nicotine replacement products, and to benefit from a healthcare market that is growing at 4.6% and currently worth £2.2bn a year.

GSK's strategy is to promote its products as being about enabling wellness, rather than simply treating illness, and its marketing campaign will work around the strapline "Treat yourself better".

"People are willing to pay for premium," explained Workman. "We need to boost our brand equity and make sure that our brands differentiate themselves."

"We must always make sure there is a reason for the brand to be on the shelf and make sure we communicate the science behind it so consumers trade up from generic pain killers to specialised healthcare products," he concluded.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff