Six for 2013

Rather than take off for the holidays, the editors of Drug Store News took a look at the year ahead and the trends, issues and headlines that will makes the news in 2013.

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2013 is about integrating Web, mobile and bricks into a seamless experience for consumers who no longer see the difference. It isn’t three shoppers — it’s the same shopper, shopping differently at different times. The winners sell on her terms. As traditional brick retailers better align e- and m-commerce strategies with their stores, traditional online retailers like Bonobos, Piperlime, Etsy and Ebay are opening stores. Omnichannel retailing redefines threats and opportunities. Like new Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly told analysts, “showrooming” brings people into the stores, and then, they’re Best Buy’s customers to lose.

Loyalty programs become more digitized and personalized to create rewards that resonate with customers on a one-to-one basis. In the age of big data and predictive analytics, retailers — and vendors who support these programs — will use this new granular level of consumer insight to inform every aspect of the business from where to put stores to what products you put in them. It will create new opportunities for brands that can use the data to tell their story.

Meanwhile, new wellness-based loyalty programs that measure and reward healthy lifestyles help forge new relationships with payers (see also #HealthcareRetailization, #ACOs).

First there was Walgreens-Alliance Boots, then reports began to surface in early December that CVS Caremark was looking to acquire a majority stake in the 44-store Brazilian chain Onofre. Are you ready for the globalization of drug store retailing? DSN is.

Expect it to continue. Why? That’s where the pharmacy growth is. Where? Think emerging markets where pharmacy growth is still in the high single- to low double-digits.

Walgreens expects to continue to expand throughout Europe, Asia and eventually will enter South America.

The forces driving health care to a retail model are changing the way health care is purchased, consumed and delivered. Those forces will intensify. And as noted in a Dec. 15 New York Times op-ed, “When the doctor is not needed,” community pharmacy and retail clinics will answer the call. When allowed to practice at the top of the professions, about 80% of primary care can be provided in a pharmacy/retail clinic setting at about one-third the cost. With 32 million newly insured Americans in 2014, this will be hard for payers to ignore.

From health to beauty and more, people and technology will elevate the shopping experience in 2013. Service and services will be key differentiators. Expect a growing emphasis on beauty advisers to help trade up the drug store beauty experience, health guides to bridge pharmacy and front-end, and more in-store services, like mani-pedis, brow shaping and blowout bars.

Meanwhile, kiosks, monitors and touchscreens enhance navigation, improve self-selection and bring some retail theater to the front-end of the store; digitally enabled wellness kiosks help community pharmacy meet challenges of the evolving healthcare system (see also #HealthcareRetailization, #ACOs).

As fast as you can say “accountable care organization,” pharmacy and retail clinic operators are forging new alliances with hospital-based health systems and building continuity-of-care networks that will be a template for the new age of health care. 
In the future, when compensation is based on quality and improved outcomes, the retail component will be critical to the ACO model.

“The only way to have solid quality is to protect the continuum of care,” urged Ken Berndt, CEO of Careworks Convenient Healthcare, the clinic division of Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System. “If we’re going to get paid that way, you’ve got to have an ACO, and you have to have some retail for patient access.”

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