The success of Rite Aid’s Wellness store is in the experience. It’s welcoming. It’s engaging. And across various touchpoints throughout the store, it helps guide Rite Aid customers toward however it is they define “well.” That’s as much a function of design of the stores as it is the people and the products in those stores.
Ultimately, there’s no “retail pharmacy” without the “pharmacy,” and that’s true of any store that dispenses prescription drugs — whether it’s a small independent drug store, a nationwide chain, a supermarket or a mass merchandiser. But in many respects, Rite Aid is trying to make the “pharmacy” component of that phrase just a little bit bigger.
An often-heard remark in arguments between people is, “You’re not looking at the big picture.” But it’s often just as important to look not just at the big picture, but all the little parts that constitute it, especially if you’re the head of store operations for a major retail chain.
Drug stores, especially chain drug stores, brand themselves differently. But once customers step through the doors, they tend to only see slight variations of the same thing: the same shelves, too tall for mere humans to reach the top without a ladder; the same product categories every other drug store carries; the same pharmacy counter in the back of the store; and the same cash registers in the front. Some stores have carpets, others have tile floors.
Perhaps the iconic scene at the end of Ridley Scott’s 1991 movie “Thelma & Louise” — with Gina Davis’ and Susan Sarandon’s characters hurdling into the Grand Canyon in a green convertible — is a good metaphor for what’s happening in the generic drug industry these days.
In the classic Arabian Nights tale “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp,” the sorcerer who sold Aladdin the lamp containing the genie attempts to get it back by walking through the town where Aladdin and his wife live disguised as a merchant, trading “new lamps for old.”
Increased attention was given to Walmart’s multichannel efforts in this year’s supplier survey — and for good reason. Amazon.com is now in a virtual dead heat with the dollar store channel in terms of the retailer/channel that suppliers view as the most significant competitive threat.