Owner Operated vs. Mass Merchandiser Pharmacies
Pharmacies, what do people want the most, Savings or Service?
I have been paying closer attention over the last several years to a growing problem at least in the United States. The "mom and pop" pharmacies that we all grew up with, vs the larger Walmart and Target types of pharmacies is what I am talking about. Many have had to just completely shut down, and I understand it isn't just the pharmacies either. That is my focus here, as we all need to get medicine in our lives and we all make a choice of where to go.
Mass merchandisers have the buying power that can allow for them to go super low on prices of course, and we all benefit from that. Times are tough, and even when they aren't tough we all want to spend the least amount of money on the highest quality product that we can. So now, more than ever we are seeing changes in the way things are done.
I am increasingly discouraged by the store closings that I see from small markets to unique shops of all kinds. Its really heartbreaking to osbserve. The reason I am writing this hub however, is the trend and studies are showing some responses that are bound to be encouraging for the smaller pharmacies everywhere. Don't give up, people are still wanting the service that only a small pharmacy can provide!
US Consumers are paying more attention to the details
Whether medicine, health and beauty aides and other drug store products, including home health care products, US consumers are paying attention. They are closely watching cost of course, with all the uncertainty and growing joblessness. There is an ongoing battle for customer loyalty no matter who is aware of it, and the studies are showing that service is still king. This is great news for the independent, owner operated community pharmacies countrywide! The survey was conducted by J.D. Power and Associates and they conducted a 2010 National Pharmacy Study.
This telling study included the chain drug stores, grocery stores, and mass merchandisers. The researchers polled customers about about 5 key factors that make a customer satisfied. The brick and mortar pharmacies scored very well. The different areas were prescription ordering, the picking up process, the shopping experience, and the competitive costs, and non pharmacist staff and pharmacists. More than 12,300 were polled and the results reflected American's growing concerns that they have with the cost of their pharmaceuticals and other health care products. In general consumers are shouldering more costs for all of these needs, so it makes sense they would especially concerned with the pricing. That said, however, the report showed that personalized and the above and beyond service you can get from the owner operated pharmacies STILL outweighs the price for the majority of consumers.
So customer service still still trumps the low cost that you can sometimes find at the mass merchandisers. This is encouraging news.
This is good news not only for the small scale pharmacies on the corner that man of us grew up with, it is also good news for big 3 wholesale giants that run the 3 major networks of independents (franchised or otherwise). They scored top rankings in the poll also.
Consider supporting your local independent pharmacies
Your local independent pharmacies also take our insurances, and I think that so many of us get in a rut that we are just used to going to the mass merchants for our pharmacy needs. Even if you don't have insurance, why not consider putting the money you are spending, into helping your local community in this way? There is really a great feeling that comes with going to the local pharmacy, at least that is my opinion! I need to get back to doing just that, as I always defaulted to the larger mass merchants when we have moved to a new area. As I get to know the area however, I want to find some little pharmacy where I can get my prescriptions filled.
Finally, those that are highly satisfied with their "brick and mortar" pharmacies, were much more likely to say they will definitely return there, as well as spread the news on to others about the pharmacy. If its a simple choice on our part, why not choose the smaller pharmacy to get our needs met and actually have more interaction with our pharmacists anyway? All that I have ever gone to, genuinely care about their customers and can be very helpful and also help in a small way to keep our communities stronger.
Give this video a minute to start, great insight from owners themselves.
First, Second and Third Places, and more
The highest scores went to Good Neighbor Pharmacy which is a 3700 store group of independents that operate under the giant AmerisourceBergen. AmerisourceBergen does merchandising, buying, and supports the stores by distribution and health services.
Two other independently owned franchises, McKesson Corp.'s Health Mart, and Cardinal Health's Medicine Shoppe come in at second and third places. Walgreen's came in fourth.
Among the mass merchant's, Target scores best, and for Supermarkets, Publix did best.
In the future, I plan to take my business to a really nice little "indie", or owner operated pharmacy in my area. It is small, and based on all I am learning, I am glad I even have the choice to go there still!
Your choice matters. Why not get some individualized service for you and your family by considering looking around for a local smaller pharmacy that can equally if not better, serve your needs? It won't hurt the mass merchants, and can really help the mom and pop businesses that have been around for many decades and generations. You may be pleasantly surprised!