G H Q
A good pharmacist can be an
unmatched asset for a grocery store.
By Craig Levitt
MuCh Like the meat and pro- duCe seCtions, a supermarket’s pharmacy can be a tremendous asset. Unlike these fresh sections,
which generate sales predominantly based on
product quality, the value of a pharmacy is
measured by the people behind the counter.
Pharmacists have come along way from
simply filling prescriptions. To consumers,
the pharmacist is viewed as a trusted source
for healthcare. For retailers, the pharmacist is
a conduit to increased ancillary revenue.
“Just having a pharmacist on staff means
their expertise can guide people to the health
and beauty aisles, cough and cold section, natural and organics products—all of these sections get a sales boost,” says Mike McKinley,
director of pharmacy for Bashas’, a grocery
store chain based in Chandler, Ariz.
Another benefit is customer loyalty.
Oftentimes the pharmacist/customer relationship is quite personal. According to industry
observers, this relationship helps generate not
only loyalty to the pharmacy, but the supermarket as a whole.
“A good pharmacist in a grocery store
requires more than just professional compe-
tency,” says McKinley. “It is easy to be a hero
when everything goes smoothly, but that’s not
where you build loyalty. Where you build loy-
alty is when there is a problem.”
Problems can include insurance issues,
drug that are not covered or prescriptions that
are filled too soon, among others. “When you
go that extra step, spend that extra effort to
overcome an obstacle for the patient so they
don’t have to, that’s where loyalty is really
built,” he says. “A good grocery pharmacist
Each year the National Association of Chain
Drug Stores (NACDS) conducts opinion
research on various aspects of the industry and