INSIGHTS AND PERSPECTIVES

WestRock’s Nicholas discusses aisle reinvention on DSNTV

BY DSN STAFF

At the recent National Association of Chain Drug Stores Annual Meeting, Drug Store News caught up with Leon Nicholas, vice president of retail insights and solutions at WestRock, a supplier of paper and packaging designs.

Nicholas discussed some of the ways that companies can better reach consumers — including rethinking in-store displays, reaching a deeper understanding of consumers to personalize their experience and reinventing the aisle and the shelf to better merchandise products. He also discussed how packaging has evolved alongside the retail environment.

“The next big thing is really around measurement,” he said. “Say someone bought some milk. Did they buy it off a display? Where was the display? What time of day did they buy it? What were the conditions outside when they bought it? We’ve got to get much closer to understand the return on our merchandising investment. This is a big area for WestRock’s customers and WestRock itself — to be able to better measure precisely the conditions under which your product is sold.”

Watch the full video above for all the insights.

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A multilayered approach to pharmacy portal security

Pharmacies are keepers of protected health information, and one of their greatest responsibilities is to defend it against security breaches and fraud. Unfortunately, threats are rampant, and fraudsters’ means of achieving their objectives are ever-growing. The Identity Theft Resource Center Breach List identified that 23.7 % of all breaches in 2017 were in the medical/healthcare industry. Furthermore, medical identity theft is growing at a rate of 22% year, according to Consumer Reports. Pharmacies need to consider how to stave off this threat via increased security without compromising the patient’s and staff’s experience. Nothing short of a multi-layered, proactive approach to user authentication and authorization will do.

What patients want
Just a few years ago, pharmacy patient portals served the primary purpose of a refill method — a new and revolutionary one at that. Today’s patients want to access lists of medication history, check on outstanding invoices or bills, ask pharmacists a question, or download data to complete tax or other forms. Pharmacy portal functionality has expanded substantially to become part of a set of tools for proactive management of health.

As patients come to expect immediate, user-friendly access to their protected health information, they also (rightfully) expect that outside sources could never gain access to it. Patients are understandably worried about medical identity theft: surveys show that 65% of the medical identity theft victims spent an average of $13,500 to pay the healthcare bills run up in their name, to recover their health insurance, and to pay lawyer’s fees, and more than 200 hours to undo the mess, according to Consumer Reports. Claims data, prescription history, demographic information, medical history, test results and insurance information are all extremely valuable. As pharmacists serve customers who now demand quick, convenient access to their health data, they must instill a sense of trust in the measures they are taking to protect this very sensitive information.

At the same time, as pharmacies exercise vigilance in vetting the identities of patients accessing the system, it often comes at the price of user experience. Amid the battle for patient loyalty, pharmacies need their portal applications to be not only secure but seamless, simple, understandable, and productive.

Portal possibilities
To meet the challenges of fraud identification in this complex application, the pharmacy needs to first consider the connection point, or hub, that spans all patient data in all available solutions. What are the customer contact channels someone can tap into to access this data: In the store, on a kiosk, on an iPhone, via a customer service representative on the phone, from a computer at home or via a shared workstation? A one-size-fits-all security strategy certainly isn’t going to address all of these access scenarios.

A pharmacy’s security plan needs to take the form of a multilayered defense platform. Take the example of a brand-new patient who’s filling a prescription—the pharmacy has no personal or medical history here. The platform must capture the instance of this person on his mobile device, and interrogate it for risks such as malware, bots or scripted attacks. The system might also solicit the user to take a non-intrusive identification quiz covering top-of-mind questions that would be very difficult for an outside party to know. After the pharmacy staff scans the patient’s driver’s license, the portal could automatically incorporate that data into the patient system.

Let’s say the patient comes back to the store next week: the identity vetting needs to be less involved but still thorough. The system confirms the device’s credibility in relation to its location—another layer of safety—and subsequently prompts the patient for a user ID and password. If a patient forgets his password and wants to reset it, the system sends a one-time password only to that device. Then, the tool will help the patient authenticate himself and access data through the portal.

By extracting the identification data and using it in the future to confirm the identity, the approach creates a seamless user experience for the patient and the pharmacist while delivering rigorous protection.

Value considerations
The biggest risk of a pharmacy portal data breach is, of course, exposing patient information to an outside entity. Such a lapse could present legal challenges, and if exposed by the media, would certainly rock patient confidence. To keep up with today’s threats, pharmacies need to be proactive about security: identify the security gaps in their current portals and consider ways to improve or augment protection and services. Today, healthcare data is much more valuable than credit card data. It’s incumbent upon the industry to take appropriate measures to protect patients’ most valuable asset.


Rene Lopez is vertical solutions consultant, identity, for LexisNexis Risk Solutions

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From bricks to clicks: How brands must adapt in the age of Amazon

BY Gary Liu

If you ran out of toothpaste or deodorant in 2008, you likely stopped by the local drug store or supermarket aisle — to a CVS or a Safeway. Today, shoppers eschew the store and, instead, tap the “buy” button on Amazon. Indeed, almost all sales growth of drug store-centric categories is happening on the digital shelf. Amazon rapidly has expanded sales efforts in vitamins, health and personal care items, cosmetics, packaged foods and OTC medicines. And it appears Amazon is gunning for prescription drugs, scooping up the last remaining magnet of physical drug stores.

For brands, this new reality requires a new digital shelf strategy that is geared towards marketing and selling their products online as e-commerce continues to grow. Here are the key mindset changes and investments they must make this year to survive and thrive on the digital shelf.

Get on page one or die
On Amazon, there is no limit to the number of shelves or items on sale. The only thing close to a physical shelf is a category page on Amazon, and those can have hundreds of products. But most Amazon shoppers find products through search, and they overwhelmingly purchase products on the first page of search results. That page is reserved for two kinds of products: those that pay a ton of money for top placement, and those that design and optimize their product detail pages for Amazon’s search engine. This means your team needs to learn how to think through all the search permutations that might lead a shopper to your category and your products. For example, if you are selling omega-3 capsules, buying the search term “fish oil” or optimizing your content for fish oil may leave out other such closely related terms as “krill oil” and “omega-3.”

From monthly store walks to hourly SKU checks
In stores, the lights go out, and things move at a sleepy pace. Not so at Amazon, where your customers never leave, and the register rings 24/7. This requires a radically different level of vigilance due to three potential scenarios. In the first case, you can get “CRaP-ped out,” an Amazon acronym for “can’t realize a profit” that results in the retailer unilaterally dropping a vendor’s products because it deems them no longer profitable. In the second, your competitors can suddenly mount a sneak attack on your category by buying up a host of keyword search terms. And in the third, your leading product can simply be out of stock over a long weekend, and no one got the email because Amazon never, ever calls you on the phone. This is real, real, real-time retail.

From coupons to subscriptions
Physical stores let you slap coupons on products and offer them in the Sunday circulars of the big chains. But Amazon has a far stickier set of strategies to lock in buyers — its Amazon Prime membership for two-day-or-less home delivery and its “Subscribe and Save” offers for popular CPG products that frequently need to be replenished. With “Subscribe and Save,” Amazon offers discounts to customers who agree to set up auto-purchase agreements of products, converting them from monthly maybes into steady reorders. This is money in the bank for smart brands and their teams that are finding compelling ways to pitch this program in their page copy. Another area to watch is Amazon’s nascent “Dash” program, which mails customers free-standing buy buttons they can push to call for a product refill whenever it runs out — like a panic button for a shopper. Talk about a direct connection.

These are just a handful of ways that Amazon is transforming what had been a relatively predictable and comparatively simple retail game. The days of driving traffic into stores and running smart trade promotions have evolved into an always-on, laser-focused fight for the rarest of all commodities, even on Amazon — the attention of shoppers.


Boomerang Commerce Gary LiuGary Liu is vice president of marketing at Boomerang Commerce.

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