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GMDC Study Examines Link Between Pharmacy and Whole-store Sales

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. ­ Supermarkets have a tremendous opportunity to increase total store sales by leveraging pharmacy operations, according to a new study released by the General Merchandise Distributors Council (GMDC) Education Foundation during the association's HBC Marketing conference this past weekend.

The study, called "Leveraging the Connection of Pharmacy and the Whole Store," was researched and authored by Information Resources, Inc. and WSL Strategic Retail.

The study contends that a new consumer-centric approach, combined with a holistic view of the "whole store" rather than one segregated by merchandise categories, brands, or retailer disciplines, is essential to generating notable growth.

The key message to retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers is to move beyond internal tactical concerns and focus on consumers and how they manage their conditions, not only with prescriptions, but also with products from the entire store. "Consumers must be at the center of the programming, not retailers or manufacturers," said Roy White, v.p. of education at the GMDC Educational Foundation. "This study provides compelling new insights, delivering a solid plan that is fundamentally different from most other approaches that have tended to focus on the condition."

The step-by-step methodology addressed internal barriers, such as organizational silos, the identification of high-value medical conditions, determining "connector" products between the prescription counter and the whole store, and building effective merchandising and promotional programs based on those connectors.

"The connection between cold medicine and children's video is not intuitive," said Wendy Liebman, president of WSL Strategic Retail. "But if I'm not feeling well, it would be helpful to have something that will keep my kids entertained so I don't have to do it."

The study encompasses extensive consumer and retail research including insights from national and regional food and drug chains. It leveraged IRI's RxPulse and Consumer Network Panels, with InfoScan point-of-sale data, focus groups, shopper intercepts, and an in-store retail test to provide a data-driven methodology for conceiving, executing, and evaluating programming that will prompt prescription customers to shop the whole store.
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