The role of retail in advancing PMI’s tobacco control strategy

Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) has opened the doors to its new Iqos flagship store in Canal Walk, Cape Town, five years after introducing the smoke-free brand to the local market.

Source: Supplied

The company is openly committed to moving away from the cigarette business and continues to expand its Iqos portfolio of e-tobacco devices designed to heat rather than burn tobacco, as well as the brand’s commercial footprint.

Iqos heats specially created tobacco sticks, called Heets, to a controlled temperature, preventing combustion and “producing an aerosol that emits on average 95% lower levels of harmful chemicals than a regular cigarette,” according to the society. While the device delivers nicotine kick and tobacco taste satisfaction to smokers, Iqos does not produce smoke, ash or cigarette smell.

Since 2008, the Marlboro and Chesterfield manufacturer has invested more than $9 billion in scientific research, product and commercial development, and manufacturing capacity to drive continued smokeless product innovation.

“Our continued significant investment in stores like the Canal Walk site reinforces our commitment to achieving a smoke-free South Africa, with a product that is a much better choice for adults than continuing to smoke. It’s a commitment like this one which is in line with PMI’s large-scale global effort to provide adult smokers with better alternatives that can ultimately replace cigarettes,” commented Branislav Bibic, CEO of PMSA.

Iqos accounts for 30% of global revenue

Speaking on a panel at the launch of the Cape Town store, Ulreich Tromp, director of external affairs at PMSA, confirmed that regular cigarettes remained a big part of PMI’s business, but said the company was “working to change that” in accordance with its public policy. declared mission to build a “smoke-free future”.

Iqos is currently available in 71 markets worldwide and is expected to be available in 100 markets by 2025. PMI employs nearly 1,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel to facilitate the delivery of smoke-free solutions, including employees based in its research centers. and a development facility, dubbed The Cube, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Source: Supplied

Source: Supplied

In the first quarter of 2022 alone, smokeless products accounted for more than 30% of PMI’s total net revenue, and the company aims to grow that percentage to more than 50% by 2025. % of PMI’s business spend is on smoke. -the free category, and indeed most of the marketing activity on the popular Marlboro brand is focused on directing users to Iqos as an alternative.

Through products like Iqos, PMI aims to provide people who intend to continue smoking with a “reduced risk alternative” to traditional cigarettes.

“Now everyone knows about the harmful effects of smoking. Despite all the awareness campaigns, only 1 in 10 smokers will succeed in quitting. What about the other nine? Iqos does not target non-smokers, but we target existing smokers who wish to continue smoking,” Tromp said.

Touch, taste, learn, engage

For PMI, Iqos stores play a key role in converting cigarette smokers to the smokeless brand.

The sleek design of Iqos products extends to the layout and interior of the brand’s stores. Visit any of them and you will know what to expect from the Iqos retail experience, wherever you are in the world.

More importantly, the stores are an environment for adult smokers to engage with the brand in a more physical way and learn about the science behind the product – an experience that is hard to replicate in the average supermarket kiosk where many many South Africans buy their nicotine products.

The brand’s stores include a dedicated space where visitors can watch the science behind Iqos demonstrated. These stores also offer “discovery bars”, where Iqos users can explore the different flavors of Heets available and even make a chocolate pairing that enhances the different tobacco flavors.

Source: Supplied

Source: Supplied

“Retail is a key opportunity for us,” said David Kadalie, director of customer experience for PMSA, at the Cape Town event.

He explained, “It’s so important to have a space where smokers can come in and experience the science, understand how the product works and try it out, because it’s very difficult to capture all of those things when you’re in a [supermarket]where time to stay and opportunities to engage and educate are limited.

“Spaces like [the Canal Walk store] allow smokers to truly engage [with the product]and also provides our growing user base with the ability to see what beautiful accessories we have, new flavors in them, and enjoy a taste experience to see which Heets variant they prefer.

Kadalie noted that Iqos has recorded double-digit growth since arriving in South Africa five years ago, and according to PMI, 70% of cigarette smokers who switch to Iqos will do so successfully and engage fully.

But this change relies on education on how to use the product and getting a good grip during the transition phase, with Iqos representatives regularly checking in on users along the way.

From product brand to platform brand

With 1 billion cigarette smokers globally and 11 million in South Africa alone, Kadalie said it was encouraging for the company to see a growing appetite among smokers looking for less harmful alternatives. However, he mentioned that PMI is aware that “one solution will not necessarily meet the preference of every nicotine user today” and shared that the company has a product platform currently in development.

“Iqos itself is moving from a product brand to a platform brand, so there will be some exciting things to come in the future,” Kadalie said.

Over the past year, PMI has announced a series of acquisitions in the pharmaceutical sector and recently agreed to acquire Swedish Match, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of oral nicotine products, as part of its multi-billion dollar deal.

The role of retail in advancing PMI’s tobacco control strategy

Source link The role of retail in advancing PMI’s tobacco control strategy

Back to top button