Position your store as a wellness destination

July 29, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Megan Moyer

What does wellness mean to you?

I like this definition from the McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois:

Wellness is a state of optimal well-being that is oriented toward maximizing an individual’s potential.

I think we can all identify with that. Some within our industry have already moved from describing over-the-counter (OTC) medications and personal care products as “health and beauty care” to the more appropriate “health, beauty, and wellness” (HBW) moniker. And wellness is where it’s at. Retailers who reposition themselves as providers of “well care” rather than “sick care” can build a loyal customer base that will stick with them for the duration.Retailers who reposition themselves as providers of “well care” can build a loyal customer base

Pharmacies are a logical retailer to position themselves as wellness centers. Witness Rite Aid’s Wellness Ambassadors, out front, helping customers find HBW products to satisfy a need. Pharmacists are often too busy filling prescriptions to spend much time in the front-end counseling patients on OTC and personal care products. Rite Aid, in their “wellness stores” (introduced in 2011), addresses this gap with their Wellness Ambassadors, giving their customers a personalized shopping experience.

Meanwhile Walgreens has been developing store concepts that include store layout redesigns and bringing pharmacists out from behind the counter. Their intent is to deliver a complete “well experience.”

Independent pharmacies have the advantage in positioning themselves as wellness centers. Already known for their exemplary service, these community pharmacies can differentiate themselves from chain drug stores because they have a personal relationship already established with their patients. Independents also have more flexibility in developing destinations within their store that can include a cross-merchandised section of a variety of categories that offer a total health, beauty, and wellness solution for any given condition.

Wegmans, a regional supermarket chain with 81 stores, and Giant Eagle, a supermarket chain with nearly 400 locations, have both created innovative programs centered around health and wellness. Wegmans’ Eat Well Live Well program and Giant Eagle’s health and wellness offerings can provide ideas for pharmacies. At certain locations, Giant Eagle offers dietician services that can include nutrition and weight loss classes as well as guided shopping tours. Wegmans’ Eat Well Live Well program centers on four pillars that include nutrition guidance as well as active lifestyle suggestions. How could these wellness services be adapted for your store?

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