The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, October 18, 2018

An Upsell too far? Do you want vitamins with that?


by Dr Greg Chapman


A joint venture between Blackmores and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to recommend ‘companion range’ dietary supplements to patients who were purchasing common prescription medicines has been axed. The idea was the pharmacist should recommend relevant supplements that might be useful for patients with particular conditions suggested by the prescribed medicine.

Clearly if a pharmacist suggests a particular supplement with the medication, this would be considered compelling to many purchasers due to the trust people place in the professionalism of the pharmacist. Is it an abuse of their position of trust?


On your website, you might have a free report which provides website visitors important information that they need before they can make a decision. This might include some education about the issues they are seeking someone’s help to address.

You could argue that your accountant recommending a financial planner with whom they have a cross referral arrangement is in a similar category, but I think patients are particularly vulnerable, and may feel compelled to take that advice for the sake of their health. If the purchase was being made on behalf of an unwell loved one, the need to take the advice could be even stronger.

However, the argument that pharmacists don’t trade on their good name already for commercial gain, is somewhat rich. They insist on rules being enforced that prevent competing pharmacies being opened within a certain distance from existing pharmacies, which, of course, allows them to charge more.

While I am all in favour of businesses having an upsell for their products and services, I think this is an upsell too far.



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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.



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