Collaboration is the key to success with independents — part one

November 22, 2013By Behind the Shelf Blog, Industry Intuition

posted by Megan Moyer

A couple of years ago we authored a white paper that was sponsored by HDMA and CHPA about supply chain collaboration and how it could help all involved improve their success in independent pharmacy. As it relates to wholesalers, there were some recommended action items that I wanted to revisit.

First was developing programs that provide results for manufacturers. Knowing how busy pharmacists are, and that their supply chain collaborationfocus is primarily on the prescription side of the business, the more help you can provide them in promoting and selling manufacturers’ HBW products, the better. The tricky part is that there is no cookie-cutter solution.  Each independent is uniquely different because of their size, location, niche in the community, and competition.

Understanding the profiles of all of the stores you serve so you can develop successful programs can be a weighty task. If you have merchandisers that visit and set your stores, they can be a tremendous source of information. They have first-hand experience with the stores and probably have a pretty good idea of the competition in the area and the niche the independent serves in the community. Using this information in conjunction with purchase history should provide valuable insights and maybe even direction toward programs you can create to build their business.

Our study of independent pharmacy shoppers revealed companion products often found in the same market basket. For instance, if an indie shopper purchased a product from the cold & allergy department, they were likely to also have items from the pain relief, digestive, and vitamin categories too. Likewise if an indie shopper purchased a skin care product, they were likely to have oral care, cold & allergy, and first aid items in their market basket as well.

There’s some digging to be done and data to comb through, but the efforts can pay off in sales and the strengthening of relationships up and down the chain.

In my next post I’ll discuss the next action step: SKU rationalization.

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