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The Importance Of Connecting Healthy Living With Pharmacy Business


At the JW Marriott in the Hill Country of San Antonio, this year’s site of the 2013 GMDC Health & Wellness @ Retail Conference, Jeff Rehling, principal at Edgewood Consulting Group, told a group of member retailers, suppliers and service companies to pay attention to health and wellness strategies that connect healthy living with pharmacy business.

“What drives where consumers shop? For most people we think it’s about convenience and how to get in and out quickly,” said Rehling. “While that is important to many retailers today, it really is a cost of entry. We also need to realize that every four out of 10 consumers will easily switch stores, thus you need to give them a reason to stay beyond convenience. So what are you doing about the key components of pharmacy loyalty, and engaging the pharmacy shopper through true retailer differentiation?

“Pharmacy shoppers have a 25 percent higher non-pharmacy basket of product than the average shopper. If every shopper bought one or more items when picking up their prescription, it would mean $4.8 billion more in sales across the country. Today we find that there is a missing link between the pharmacy and the rest of the store, that needs to change to win in health and wellness in the future.”

Rehling presented a strategy called L.I.N.C. (Loyalty, Information and Incentives, Nutrition and Connections), which helped attendees gain a greater understanding about the drivers of pharmacy shopping, which are different than the factors shoppers use to choose an outlet for OTC or food products. The most formidable factors that a shopper is looking for at a pharmacy, Rehling said, are safety, trust, ease of use, convenience and helpful staff.

“If we look at what Starbuck’s experienced back in 2002, we find that there are parallels in their strategies that pharmacies could embrace today. One of the most successful coffee retailers of all time figured out that they needed to please two different audiences, one looking for service and experience and the other looking for speed. They realized that the experience and expectations between the two are very different but instead of picking one target they embraced the opportunity to meet multiple needs in their total store experience.”

Continuing to address how consumers think about their own personal health and wellness is another factor that Rehling reviewed, reporting that 73 percent of consumers say they are concerned about their health, but only 35 percent rate themselves as doing a good enough job about it.

“Who are consumers trusting to help them manage their health better? That is where the gap is, and pharmacy can help influence that positive change, thus creating trust and loyalty to that destination pharmacist which can help set goals, and help the consumer meet them in a personal way,” he said.

Rehling shared a quote from NACDS: “The role of a pharmacist is to not put pills in a bottle, but to help the consumer live healthier”.

After the GMDC business session, a panel of GMDC member retailers and suppliers were available to answer questions and discuss Rehling’s presentation with attendees. That panel included Steve Davis, director of center store, GM/HBC and grocery nonfoods for Weis Markets and GMDC secretary of the board of directors; Louis Donadio, director of club and special markets for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and GMDC HBW advisory board member; and David DiBernardino, VP of sales for food/alternate channel at Novartis Consumer Health Inc. and GMDC HBW advisory board member.

GMDC (Global Market Development Center) is a global trade association dedicated to serving general merchandise and health beauty wellness retailers, wholesalers and suppliers.



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