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IBM Global Business Services
IBM Institute for Business Value

Why advocacy matters to drugstores and pharmacies
Customer focus for the health and wellness of your brand

Retail

IBM Institute for Business Value
IBM Global Business Services, through the IBM Institute for Business Value, develops fact-based strategic insights for senior executives around critical public and privatesector issues. This executive brief is based on an in-depth study by the Institute’s research team. It is part of an ongoing commitment by IBM Global Business Services to provide analysis and viewpoints that help companies realize business value. You may contact the authors or send an e-mail to iibv@us.ibm.com for more information.

Why advocacy matters to drugstores and pharmacies
Customer focusfor the health and wellness of your brand
By Maureen Stancik Boyce and Laura VanTine

Price, convenience and scale are traditional drivers of drugstore sales. But, as pharmaceutical sales expand into a broader retail arena, such as mass merchants, supercenters and online/mail-order outlets, knowing how to develop customer Advocates can help make the difference between winning and losing in thisintensely competitive retail market.
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Changing landscape for drugstores
The number of independent drugstores has been on the decline for the past decade, heralding a change in the way consumers shop for prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medications and health and beauty aids. Driven primarily by convenience, consumers have increasingly turned to national drugstore chains, pharmacycounters in supermarkets and supercenters, and online or mail-order outlets (see Figure 1). Still, the drugstore segment as a whole is growing, despite the gradual decline of the independents. Led by the national chains, the drugstore segment is expected to outpace almost all other food/drug/mass channels, except supercenters and warehouse clubs, 2 during the next five years. It is estimated thatthe top three national chain drugstores,

FIGURE 1. Retail pharmacy outlets by type of store.
(Number of stores) 1996-2006 growth
17482 7438 5910 4693 6155 18532 8531 10163

20647 22006

-25% Independent drugstores 37% Mass merchants 39% Supermarkets 15% Chain drugstores

20493

21865

1996

2001

2006

The number of independent drugstores has decreased by 25% from 1996 to 2006Source: “The Chain Pharmacy Industry Profile,” NACDS Foundation, 2007.

1

Why advocacy matters to drugstores and pharmacies

Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, moved from a 44 percent share of drugstore sales in 2001 to 3 63 percent in 2006. Industry growth has been fueled, in part, by an increase in prescription demand, aggressive store expansions, a broadening product assortment, technologyenhancements within stores and improved 4 performance at the front end. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for drugstore industry sales as a whole is expected to be 5 about 5. percent from 2007-2011. 1 While drugstore sales are growing, they are facing threats as the number of pharmacy counters in other retail formats, such as mass merchant stores and supermarkets, is 6 growing even faster.Mail-order prescription drug sales have grown at an average annual rate of 15 percent during the past 5 years and now represent 20 percent of overall retail 7 prescription drug sales. Continued growth in prescription sales is expected, with a forecast 8 CAGR between 2006-2011 of 7 percent. .7 Further complicating this intensely competitive environment is the general negative attitude customers havetoward their primary pharmacies. Research by the IBM Institute for Business Value reveals that only one out of five customers is an Advocate of his/her primary pharmacy.

Those loyal consumers, defined as “Advocates,” recommend their primary pharmacy to others, buy more from that pharmacy as new products become available and stay with that pharmacy even when new competitors appear. Beyond mere...
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