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Patients dig the long ball

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Once the season starts, nobody really remembers the number of stolen bases nabbed by Gregor Blanco (13) or the number of batters who could neither put a Francisco Liriano pitch into play nor tease out a walk (33). But ask the fans how many balls their favorite player knocked out of the park through spring training, chances are they’ll be able to tell you.

What Lilly Diabetes and Walgreens are doing is out-of-the-park stuff, where a Walgreens pharmacist dedicated to fielding questions across all disciplines will help augment a diabetes patient’s experience with a deeper look into hypoglycemia.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens, Lilly Diabetes partner on hypoglycemia education. For the full story, click here.)

These kinds of consultations will play out across only those 43 Indianapolis-area Walgreens at first, but soon enough this program will be implemented across the chain. And it might just have more impact — driving greater cost savings and better health outcomes — over time.

That’s because the program will build upon that patient-pharmacist interaction not out of some need to materially drive compliance and improve outcomes — all of that will come organically — but out of an enhanced experience as defined by the patient. It’s that kind of personal focus on that patient and the incorporation of how that patient chooses to engage with an intervention like this that will augment the program’s success. Going after customer feedback will be a homerun for those patients, and patients dig the long ball.

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Giant Eagle implements location-centric planogram optimization tool across store base

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Giant Eagle on Thursday announced that the Pittsburgh regional grocer has adopted Galleria Retail Technology Solution’s Promotional Display Optimization solution throughout its supermarkets to help create store-specific display plans on a daily basis.

"We were already developing endcap planograms, but Galleria enabled us to complete the process more efficiently," stated Dan Schnorr, senior director of retail space planning for Giant Eagle. "As we implemented the process, and it was further refined working with Galleria, I was initially surprised to the degree that each endcap looked so different from store to store. All of our endcaps now feature more product family items than we displayed in the past."

Galleria designed a system that treats every Giant Eagle supermarket uniquely — with endcap displays now based on the anticipated demand within each store. This resulted in improved in-stock position, fewer out-of-stocks, increased sales and more satisfied customers, the company claimed.

"We rolled the system out by region at first, picking up new stores, both corporately and independently owned, as we went," Schnorr said. "It took a little bit of lead time, but now we’ve implemented the solution chain-wide for most of our Giant Eagle and Market District supermarket locations."

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Tesco says it will focus on profitability before expansion in the U.S.

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON — The break-even forecast for the U.S. division of Tesco has been pushed back to early next year, the U.K. retail giant announced in its fiscal-year results.

The company noted its projected break-even for its U.S. unit Fresh & Easy now will be later than its earlier guidance because "[we] intend to focus on delivering store level profitability first, before pushing on faster with the expansion we need to create sufficient scale to cover our overheads." Fresh & Easy — which operates stores across Arizona, California and Nevada — however, showed "promising results" in the fiscal year ended Feb. 25, with an 18% drop in losses against last year, along with delivering a sustained improvement in same-store sales throughout the year, Tesco said.

U.S. sales for the 2011-2012 financial year totaled about $1.02 billion and ended the financial year with 185 stores and expects to end the current financial year (ending February 2013) with 230 stores.

"The U.S. is moving in the right direction, but I’d like it to move faster," Tesco CEO Philip Clarke was quoted as saying. "I need to demonstrate to shareholders, who have been very patient with us, that we can do it."

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