PHARMACY

Health in a high-gloss setting

BY Jim Frederick

Building on its strong service reputation and a solid foundation of loyal shoppers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, Wegmans will continue its slow but steady expansion as it extends its menu of health-and-wellness offerings.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Even though Wegmans reports that it opens “just two or three new stores each year,” at least another 10 new openings are planned, including stores in Alexandria, Va.; Concordville, Pa.; and Westwood, Mass. Longer term, another four new supermarkets with pharmacies are in the development pipeline for Virginia, along with two more in New Jersey and another new store in Maryland, according to the company.

Driving the company’s success: a solid reputation for delivering what it calls “a nearly telepathic level of customer service,” provided by motivated employees. Wegmans scored No. 7 on Fortune Magazine’s list of the 100 best companies to work for in 2015. In February, the company also scored No. 1 for corporate reputation among the 100 most visible companies in the 16th annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient study.

Wegmans’ 85 in-store pharmacies extend its service reputation with a battery of new and ongoing preventive care programs, including adult immunizations; nearly 60 generic drugs offered at $4 for a 30-day supply; free home shipping of prescriptions; an auto-refill program; and a Wegmans Pharmacy Online service that gives customers “quick and easy access to prescription information,” according to the company.

Also available: a disease management program for Type 2 diabetics launched in 2014, and an individualized pharmacist consultation and screening program for patients with hypertension. Under its ongoing “Eat Well Live Well” program, Wegmans also offers healthy-eating store tours, special dietary advice and nutritional choices for customers dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, food allergies, gluten intolerance and other conditions.

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PHARMACY

Implementing MTM, med sync services

BY Richard Monks

Privately held since 2005, Shopko operates a wide range of store formats with healthcare offerings, ranging from full-service pharmacies to optical centers. Nearly 30% of Shopko’s sales come from these health-related services.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Since its inception in 1962, the company has continued to grow and expand its reach, tailoring its various formats to meet the needs of different markets. The 133 stores it operates under the Shopko banner offer shoppers in small and mid-size cities and their suburbs a mixture of general merchandise and pharmacy and optical services across an 80,000-sq.-ft. footprint. Meanwhile, the company’s 178 Shopko Hometown stores average between 15,000 sq. ft. and 35,000 sq. ft., and operate in more rural locations. Most of these stores also offer pharmacy services.

Shopko fills more than 14 million pharmacy prescriptions and in excess of 525,000 optical prescriptions every year, spokeswoman Michelle Hansen said.

Founded by a pharmacist, Shopko has continued to evolve its pharmacy business over the past half century, most recently focusing on professional and personalized services, targeting both acute and chronic patients.

For example, Shopko is committed to medication therapy management at both state and national levels, and was the first chain pharmacy to join the Wisconsin Pharmacy Quality Collaborative, a group of pharmacists and healthcare plans working to create a reimbursement system based on pharmacists’ ability to drive outcomes.

In addition, Shopko’s pharmacies are moving to an appointment-based model by implementing a medication synchronization system.

In March, the company debuted 20 new Shopko Hometown outlets, converting outlets in nine states that it acquired from Alco Stores Inc.

That expansion is only the beginning. “We plan to accelerate new store growth in the second half of 2015 and 2016,” Hansen said.

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Customizing services for each locale

BY Richard Monks

With more than 520 independently owned stores in nine provinces, Pharmasave has a solid reputation as one of Canada’s most-trusted community drug stores.

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“At the core of our strategy is a personalized, customer-centric approach to healthcare services delivery,” national CEO Carmen Churcott said. “We differentiate ourselves by embracing growing patient expectations for convenient, expanded healthcare services, knowledge and technology and through world-class customer service.”

Pharmasave offers independent pharmacy owners a full suite of operations, merchandising, private label, marketing, human resources and business technology support, as well as professional services, programs and products.

Being a group of independent stores that range in size from small apothecaries to large stores with a broad front-end mix and a brisk dispensary business means that each store owner can tailor its store to the community.

In recent months, Pharmasave has embraced the opportunities presented by the ongoing broadening of pharmacists’ role in patient care and the changes in the way patients interact with healthcare providers.

“This represents a significant opportunity for us to diversify marketing to further drive brand differentiation with consumers,” Churcott said. “Specifically, we have a strong focus on enhancing our digital engagement strategy, with new and more immediate ways of connecting with customers online.”

As part of that effort, Pharmasave last year launched Pharmasave eCare, providing patients with online access to medication records, e-refills, email reminders, personalized health recommendations and a comprehensive library of health information.

Services like this, Churcott said, are helping position Pharmasave to play a more integral role in Canadians’ lives.

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