Max-Wellness has the answers to health
Max-Wellness, the unique health-and-wellness destination that made its debut in the Cleveland area in 2010, features “Max-Answers” information stations throughout the store. However, what really distinguishes these stations from typical mass-oriented information kiosks is their portability — the Web-based tablets can be picked up by a customer or Max-Wellness associate for use right at the shelf of interest.
The health tablet programming is driven by Aisle7, a company that specializes in providing consumer-friendly health resources at the point of sale. There also are some sections that have been customized by Max-Wellness. “We took 275 of the most common medical maladies, and we had a professional write the program,” Michael Feuer, Max-Wellness founder and CEO, told Drug Store News during a walk-through of the store last year. “So if you say ‘I played tennis last night and my knee hurts,’” a customer can identify solutions on the health tablet easily.
That Max-Answers knowledge base soon will be incorporated into the chain’s e-commerce site, Max-Wellness.com, which launched earlier this year.
USA Drug gets back in growth mode
There’s nothing like a recession for focusing merchants on what matters most. For USA Drug, that meant concentrating on core markets, cutting costs and recharging its image for down-home value, neighborly service and a broadly merchandised front end focused on local consumer preferences.
The company’s departure in March 2010 from Memphis, where it sold its Super D and Ike’s stores to Walgreens, may have been the tonic the company needed. USA Drug hit record profits in 2010, said president and CEO Joe Courtright, and quickly returned to growth mode. “This year, we have a goal of 20 pharmacy acquisitions,” Courtright noted. Another goal for 2011: the conversion of all 140 stores to ComputerRx, a new pharmacy automation system.
Like other pharmacies, USA Drug was snagged last year by what Courtright called the “deterioration in average prescription price, especially as a result of new-to-market generics.” But diabetic and Alzheimer’s medicines are continuing to drive sales, he added, and “we expect great prescription comps,” as well as “an increase in comp OTC sales of 4% to 5% for the upcoming year,” he said.
Harris Teeter blends wellness, pharmacy
One way for a supermarket to convey its health-and-wellness commitment to customers is to build a marketing campaign around it.
In Harris Teeter’s case, the campaign is “Yourwellness.” Now in its sixth year, the initiative offers “evidence-based guidance on important health issues” and help with nutritional choices throughout the store, according to the company.
Offerings include a Yourwellness e-newsletter, interactive online applications and nutritional tags on products throughout the stores, along with advice from nutritional experts via online videos, blogs and e-newsletters. A membership card offers discounts on such healthcare services as eyeglasses, contact lenses, dental cleanings, X-rays, fillings, vitamins, hearing aids and diabetic supplies, along with prescriptions.
At the company’s more than 125 pharmacies, customers can qualify for discounted flu shots, $4 generics, an automatic refill program and a follow-up phone program by pharmacists, along with a new MedFlash program that provides up-to-date, password-protected access to their prescription records.
Harris Teeter also appeals to health-conscious consumers with big selections of organic foods, an in-store Fishermans Market that promotes sustainable fishing practices and partnerships with local fishermen, a Fresh Foods Market, its own brand of Earth Wise wines and a range of environmental initiatives under a program it dubs My Earth that encompass everything from packaging reduction and recycling to cultivating locally grown and organic produce.
Based near Charlotte, N.C., Harris Teeter is steadily expanding its upscale store format. The chain passed a milestone in September with the opening of its 200th supermarket in Manassas, Va. Since then, new units have sprouted in Washington, D.C.; Norfolk, Va.; and in Wake Forest and Hampstead, N.C., bringing store count to 204 units in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.