TorchMedia | Customer-centric marketing will raise the health of pharmacy-led retailers
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Customer-centric marketing will raise the health of pharmacy-led retailers

01 Nov 2012, Posted by TorchMedia in Blog, Pharmacy, Research

Despite the expanding medicinal and healthcare offerings in supermarkets today, pharmacy remains in a unique position among retail channels due to its personal role in the healthcare of Australians.  According to Nielsen, in a typical month, 10.8 million Australians (58 per cent of the population) will visit a pharmacy at least once, with 76 per cent of them filling a script.  And with an average dwell time in-store of 14 minutes, the opportunities to harness shoppers with relevant, targeted offers, while wallets are in hand – are enormous.

Considered by many as the focal point of community healthcare, the pharmacy plays an important role in addressing the needs of customers no matter what stage of their healthcare management.  It’s no surprise then, that by understanding where your pharmacy sits and what it offers from a shopper viewpoint can enable you to meet the needs of your clientele in a more targeted way, thereby optimising opportunities for growth.

A recent study undertaken by TorchMedia revealed the role of the retail pharmacy in a shopper’s life is centred on the core mission of script fill, healthcare advice and the purchase of over-the-counter medication.

But despite this core mission, the Study also identified and segmented the pharmacy shoppers of today, revealing how their life stages determine their individual shopper missions. Such insights present the evidence and knowledge required to better understand how to harness these individuals and drive sales during their highly planned shopping missions.

In the UK, Boots The Chemist uses business intelligence, employing micro marketing analytical techniques, to deliver key insights from its Advantage Card loyalty program.  With the goal to increase share of wallet by meeting each shopper’s entire (and individual) health and beauty needs, it personalises promotional interaction to provide true one-on-one marketing offers.  There’s no doubt that micro marketing strategies increase customer loyalty and build trust, but the key to Boots’ success lies in its deeper and wider strategy of helping people look and feel their best.  Boots call it pharmacy-led health and beauty retailing and indeed it presents a very different retail proposition.

Pharmacy-led health and beauty retailing is completely customer-centric.  It is also a retail experience.  By understanding its shopper needs, Boots has created an iconic destination for its customer base all centred on its core strategy.  It’s a one-stop-shop for healthcare, beauty, optician services, gifting and more.  So just why is Boots so successful and what can our Australian pharmacy-led retailers learn from it?

  • Boots has a clearly defined mission and purpose to help people look and feel their best and points every aspect of its business to achieve this goal and purpose.
  • It is committed to community healthcare.
  • Its continuous delivery in all aspects of its offer has led to its establishment as a trusted and reputable brand.
  • The customer is at the heart of everything Boots “does”.  What’s more, Boots has built a very personal one-on-one relationship with its customers through its Advantage Card, rewarding loyalty and keeping them returning through engaging strong and relevant offers.
  • The strategy of differentiating its product offering through innovation and its work with brand partners continues to fuel its role as a retail destination.  In 2007, twenty weeks’ worth of Boots Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum sold out in one day after BBC2’s Horizon ignited demand with its research confirming the product makes the skin look younger.
  • First to market keeps offers fresh and innovative.  Last month, Boots was the first in the UK to stock Pure Gold Collagen Drink, a new product said to banish wrinkles, becoming the biggest selling product on the Boots website today.
  • Boots is an employer of choice with a core focus on customer care.  It develops staff knowledge through training and leadership programs to ensure it has the best people to support its customers.
  • Boots is a master at omni-channel retailing, ensuring its brand health is maintained at every touchpoint, wherever it meets the customer.
  • Recognising the trend in ‘Dr Googling’, Boots has created BootsWebMD.com providing its customers with a complete portal to check symptoms, provide advice to customers and direct them to solutions in-store.
  • It recognises the need for value without discounting.  Boots has continually provided a value offer, firmly cementing its reputation as a trusted brand for its continual delivery of not just good value products (after all its sell out beauty serum retails for just £19), but also in the additional value creation of its offer as customers know there is always an answer to their healthcare needs.
  • The in-store layout and offers are directional, cohesive, timely, educational and market-fitting.

In many Australian pharmacies today, we are still seeing a ‘one size fits all’ to marketing tactics, but the TorchMedia research tells us our shoppers are not only acting differently in-store, they are shopping at very different times of the day. Whether it’s a big chain or a smaller community pharmacy, the same research found shoppers:

  • don’t always look for the cheapest
  • are concerned with their health issues
  • want to build a relationship.

Understanding the customer segments and creating offers as micro-relevant as you can is the key to meeting their needs in pharmacy retail.  And once they are in your store, targeting them with relevant messaging that is aimed to assist and drive value beyond price will help connect with customers, build trust and generate long term sales.

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