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AmerisourceBergen Vice President of Consumer Products Tim
Buskey shares his thoughts on what it takes for community
pharmacies to drive profitability in every part of their business.
He weighs in on metrics for success in front-end performance and
provides practical information on product selection and inventory,
and how they're affected by consumer behavior. Buskey also reveals
the impact that quality service can have on non-prescription
KD.COM: FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING
WITH PHARMACIES, HOW SHOULD PHARMACY OWNERS EVALUATE HOW WELL THEIR
FRONT END IS DOING AND WHERE THEY CAN IMPROVE?
Tim Buskey: Stores should start by actually
measuring their sales by per linear foot of shelf space in a
particular category. It's also important to have the appropriate
retail price set by conducting periodic competitive shopping among
neighboring pharmacies and matching their findings to the five
retail price zones available from AmerisourceBergen. These price
zones enable customers to price their items based on store
demographics to stay competitive. Additionally, stores should take
full advantage of AmerisourceBergen's vast array of plan-o-grams
KD.COM: WHAT ARE SOME EASY AND LOGICAL WAYS
TO INCREASE FRONT-END SALES? WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF LONGER TERM
INITIATIVES THAT COULD PROVIDE ADDITIONAL SIGNIFICANT RETURN?
Tim Buskey: For the short
term, it's important that pharmacies have the right products
merchandised on their shelves and those products are priced
competitively. Also, keep in mind some shoppers prefer store
brand items, so having theGood Neighbor Pharmacybrand adjacent to
the national brand equivalent is of critical importance. From
a long-term perspective, I would encourage pharmacies to look for
an opportunity to connect their front-end product offerings with
their particular prescription business, and tailor it to a
particular patient demographic. For example, many chronic
medications cause dry mouth. This can lead to compromised oral
care, which can lead to more significant, systemic problems. If a
pharmacy recommends a saliva substitute to minimize this side
effect, there's the benefit of improving the patient's health and
the benefit of the pharmacy playing a more active role in helping
that patient manage his or her condition.
There's also an opportunity for the pharmacy to look at a
customer's shopping basket. A recent white paper published by the
Hamacher Resource Group, "Growth Drivers: The Factors Behind
Independent Pharmacy OTC Sales," in May 2012 sheds light on the
"growing market basket" and how store layout and where category
items are placed makes the shopping experience easier for
consumers, while potentially maximizing their spend in the
For example, patients with first aid items in their basket
typically also shop for wound care, pain relief and home healthcare
items because they may be experiencing limited mobility after a
possible surgery. In addition, sun care items are usually found
alongside skin care, pain relief and cold and allergy (lip care) to
help with sunburn relief. Studying how consumers shop and what
items they typically purchase-and addressing a pharmacy's layout-is
a clear way to increase profits in the pharmacy front end.
KD.COM: HOW DOES AN ELEMENT LIKE PRODUCT
AVAILABILITY IMPACT FRONT-END SALES?
Tim Buskey: This is very
important. No pharmacy or merchant wants empty space on the
shelves. When products become unavailable, it's important that the
pharmacy responds to that unavailability and replaces product with
something that's appropriate, perhaps theGood Neighbor
Pharmacystore brand. This is where services like
AmerisourceBergen's plan-o-grams can really help. We refresh our
plan-o-grams on a regular basis primarily to address the problems
in the supply chain. Plus, we like to fit in new items on the
shelves as they hit the market.
KD.COM: HOW DOES CUSTOMER SERVICE DELIVERED BY
PHARMACY STAFF AFFECT FRONT-END SALES?
Tim Buskey: It's
imperative that pharmacy staff, whether they're behind the
prescription counter or out in front, be familiar with the product
offerings that the store is actually marketing. Consequently it's
important that the pharmacist or the pharmacy owner trains staff to
respond intelligently to customer questions, or to make suggestions
for companion sales with regards to other items the customer might
have in their shopping basket.
KD.COM: WE'VE TALKED ABOUT HOW TO BOOST
FRONT-END SALES ONCE CUSTOMERS ARE ALREADY IN THE PHARMACY. ARE
THERE ANY BEST PRACTICES FOR GETTING POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS TO THINK
OF THEIR LOCALGOOD NEIGHBOR PHARMACYLOCATIONS AS MORE THAN JUST A
PLACE TO PICK UP PRESCRIPTIONS?
Tim Buskey: It's important
to emphasize that the localGood Neighbor Pharmacyis a healthcare
destination, not just for prescription services, but for products
crucial to a patient's health.
AmerisourceBergen has a vast array of marketing and advertising
materials that Good Neighbor Pharmacy can access through an online
portal, GNPBrandCentralStation.com. On the portal there are a wide
variety of templates, from print advertising to in-store posters
and bag stuffers that pharmacies can utilize to attract new
patients into their store. A great tool to attract new shoppers to
the store is to mail the monthly four-page Good Neighbor Pharmacy
circular to local residents. They should also evaluate their
local market to determine the need and identify opportunities to
cultivate a niche practice.
For example, many Good Neighbor Pharmacy members have taken
advantage of the opportunity to grow their durable medical
equipment (DME) offering and have been extremely successful. Not
only does this attract patients for that particular need, but once
they come into the store to pick up their DME requirements, they
also transfer their prescriptions to that pharmacy. That's a case
where everybody wins; the pharmacy certainly gains more business
and the patient receives all of their care in one location with
tremendous patient care services. This positions the pharmacy as a
healthcare destination, not just merely a place where the
prescriptions are filled.
Tim Buskey currently serves as Vice President of Consumer
Products for AmerisourceBergen Corporation after joining the
company in 2011 as Vice President of Supply Chain for the consumer
With more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, Mr.
Buskey has had numerous roles which spanned the pharmaceutical
industry including commercial operations, marketing, sales
management, account management and business development in both the
over-the-counter (OTC) and Rx space. Previously, he served as Chief
Commercial Officer/Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for
pharmaCline, a startup pharmaceutical company focused on
anti-infective and wound care disease. He has also served in
various roles for Reckitt Benckiser, Inc. (formerly Adams
Respiratory Therapeutics), Muro Pharmaceutical Inc. and Astra USA,
Mr. Buskey received his Bachelor of Science in Business
Administration from Northeastern University in Boston,
Massachusetts, graduating summa cum laude, and has continued his
executive education through leadership courses at Harvard Business
Jun 04, 2012
Mar 01, 2012
P.O. Box 959
Valley Forge, PA 19482
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