The Discount Pharmacy is a brick and mortar and mail order pharmacy that sells prescription medication at lower prices than other pharmacies. The Discount Pharmacy is able to sell at reduced prices through the use of operating efficiencies and the elimination of unnecessary services for customers that self pay their drugs. The Discount Pharmacy does not accept insurance payments which disrupt the cash flow. By having a larger percentage of their business serviced by their mail order arm, The Discount Pharmacy is able to gain economies of scale by selling larger quantities of drugs with less labor required per order.
As more and more Americans are on a continuous prescription to medicine, this trend will lend itself to rapid growth as customers can mail order larger quantities of drugs that they will need over time. Additionally, many insurance companies offer an economic incentive for medicine to be purchased mail order in quantity, saving the insurance company money. This factor will also help boost The Discount Pharmacy to profitability. The Pharmacy will increase its market share through targeted advertising to increase the number customers who are looking to save money on a pricey, necessary expense.
Pharmacy Marketing Plan The Discount Pharmacy
Situation Analysis The Discount Pharmacy is in the first year of business as a start-up operation. The Pharmacy believes that the market demand for their services will be great and are convinced that a cohesive marketing strategy is required for The Pharmacy. The Pharmacy offers a wide range of prescription medicine for pick up at their store front or it can be distributed by mail order. The Pharmacy’s prices are far better than most pharmacies so their services will be attractive for people that just need to buy their medicine at good prices and do not need their hands held during the process. Market Summary
The Discount Pharmacy posesses good information regarding their market and the target segments that they wish to serve. The Pharmacy will leverage this information to better understand who is served, their specific needs, and how The Pharmacy can better serve them.
Market Needs The Discount Pharmacy is providing the market with a source of discounted drugs. This market need is important as many Americans are faced with the dilemma of using their limited income on food or meds. The Discount Pharmacy seeks to fulfill the following benefits that are important to their customers. * Selection: The Pharmacy offers a wide range of medication, both originals as well as generic alternatives. * Accessibility: Products are distributed through their conveniently-located store front, or can be shipped within the U.S. * Customer service: The Pharmacy recognizes the value of having outstanding customer service. By exceeding all of the customer’s expectations, they are ensuring repeat customers and many referrals. * Pricing: The Discount Pharmacy’s prices will be noticeably better than local pharmacies.
The market trend for pharmacies reinforces consolidation. The whole medical industry (including doctors, pharmaceutical companies) has pressure being applied to them from different sides to achieve cost efficiencies and to decrease the cost of the various products/services. Looking specifically at pharmacies, over the last eight years, there has been widespread consolidation, done to a large degree to achieve costs efficiencies. Now insurance companies are adding pressure to decrease costs since they are a main party in the payment for meds. The Discount Pharmacy is able to coexist in this consolidation environment by achieving cost efficiencies through their unique business model of mail order service and a decrease in the normal pharmacist offered services.
Market Growth In 2000, the global pharmaceutical industry as a whole was a $897 billion dollar industry. The industry is forecasted to continue its record growth. This growth can be attributed to several factors, the underling driver is scientific progress. As our scientific community continues to make breakthroughs in medical applications, people become more and more reliant on medication to lengthen and improve their quality of life. American society in particular has become increasingly reliant on medication. This conclusion seems to be fairly intuitive as many individuals have a vested interest in living longer and more comfortably.
This demand applies pressure to the scientists and pharmaceutical companies who are always on the lookout for the next big blockbuster drug which will ensure profitable returns. While America remains as the largest consumer of medication in the world, to a large degree based on the simple quantitative measurement of GNP, it is reasonable to expect that the retail distribution of these drugs will achieve extraordinary growth rates if they are employing creative business models or if they are one of the “giants.”
SWOT Analysis The following SWOT analysis captures the key strength and weaknesses within the company, and describes the opportunities and threats facing The Discount Pharmacy. Strengths * A unique, current business-environment-appropriate business model. * Excellent staff who are highly trained and very customer attentive. * Great prices. * The ability to scale rapidly for the mail order side of the business. Weaknesses * The lack of visibility and brand equity of a start-up business. * Lack of true experience running a mail order outfit. * Government intervention/regulation into medicine is possible. Opportunities * Outside pressure on consumers to purchase meds mail order. * The constant growth of the number of people taking medication. * Newly formed alliances of insurance companies and mail order pharmacies.
* The entry into the mail order market by an established company. * Regulatory legislation that curtails the mail order medicine industry. * Some event that cripples interstate commerce in regards to shipping. Competition
Competition takes many different forms in the pharmacy industry. * Chain pharmacies: These are state or national chains such as Rite-Aid. The advantage to these chains are better prices through economies of scale as well as personalized service. The personalized service takes the form of the chain having a record of your medication purchases as well as any allergies that you have disclosed to them. * Local pharmacies: These are the pharmacies where you typically know the pharmacists and they know your medical history. This option is high in personalized service and convenience, and high in price. * Mail order and Internet pharmacies: These are similar to The Discount Pharmacy. * Canadian pharmacies: These pharmacies are located in Canada where the cost of drugs is lower than in the U.S. These pharmacies can be accessed through mail order, the Internet, or via travel. Recently there has been the trend for trips arranged for senior citizens in northern states to travel up to Canada for the day to pick up their meds.
The Discount Pharmacy offers a wide range of prescription drugs to patients based in Oregon and nationally. Both generics and name brands are offered. The customer needs to either mail in the prescription, fax it, or email it. Once it is received and payment arrangements are complete, the meds will be sent out to the customer via U.S.P.S. or U.P.S. Local customers may stop by the store front to pick up the medications contemporaneously. The Discount Pharmacy will only service customers who self pay. The self pay customers will be attracted to The Discount Pharmacy because of their superior prices. For many Americans that do not have drug plans, including the vast majority of Americans over 65, a discount on drugs is very welcome on today’s increasingly tight monthly budgets. The Discount Pharmacy will be able to survive on lower margins due to operating efficiencies gained through mail order and not accepting insurance policy drug plans.
With each order a printout will accompany the medications that will provide directions on how to take the medications, other drug that should be avoided concurrently, and other useful information. Often times this information is communicated personally by the pharmaceutical technician. The Discount Pharmacy will be using computer printouts from industry software to reduce the cost of providing this information. Note: While the term “self pay” is typically associated with the notion that the customer is paying for the medication out of pocket without insurance, it is used in this context as the customer paying for the medications upfront by themselves regardless if they have insurance. They may be paying for the drugs out of pocket, or they may be paying for the medications upfront and then requesting their insurance companies drug plan to reimburse them later.
Keys to Success
The keys to success are: * Repeat customers. * Low overhead and operating costs. * Superior prices and service. Critical Issues The Discount Pharmacy is still in the speculative stages as a start-up business. Its critical issues are to continue to take a modest fiscal approach, expanding at a reasonable rate, not for the sake of expansion in itself, but because prudent economic analysis dictates to Pharmacy Marketing Plan The Discount Pharmacy Marketing Strategy The Discount Pharmacy will have different marketing strategies for the two different segmented groups that they wish to reach. The walk-in customers will be targeted through advertisements in the local paper, “The Oregonian.”
The advertisements will raise visibility for The Discount Pharmacy and their discounted prices. As the price of medication continues to skyrocket, The Discount Pharmacy will appeal to local people as a way to try to contain these rising costs. The mail order customers will be targeted through an advertising campaign in magazines and newsletters that have an older (over 55) crowd that regularly needs medication and knows in advance what their needs are. One of the main newsletters that The Discount Pharmacy will be visible in is the American Association of Retired Persons (A.A.R.P) monthly newsletter.