retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There was an interesting story in the New York Times the other day about Barney’s Pharmacy in Augusta, Georgia, an independent drug store that, in addition to selling prescriptions and HBC items, offers its customers access to a “personal health coach.”

Shoppers are offered classes at a new Barney’s wellness center that teach them how to manage disease - and health - with drugs, diet and exercise.

And here’s the kicker. Prescription sales at Barney’s have tripled over the past seven years ... and the owners there have diversified into a new business that teaches other pharmacies how to expand their product and service offerings.

Now, the Times story more broadly is about how drug stores in general and working with insurance companies to reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of health care options. But the real lesson here is that you don’t have to be a big company like Walgreen or CVS to think differently about how to do business.

The folks at Barney’s realized that they were not in the prescription business. They were in the health business...and to succeed in that arena, they needed to define their business both in broader and more specific terms, creating for themselves a series of differential advantages that would make Barney’s the pharmacy of choice.

Which sounds like a good prescription for any business.

And that’s my Tuesday morning Eye-Opener.

- Kevin Coupe
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