Pharmacy to offer smart pricing’ discounts
A smart pricing system at Par-la-Ville Pharmacy is making it easier to offer bargain deals and reward customer loyalty.
The price of each item in the store appears on a digital display, and these can be instantly updated to reflect discounts offered at particular times of the day, or items that are permanently discounted.
And technology powers the store’s “Rewards +” loyalty card programme that earns customers five cents on every dollar they spend.
As part of its second anniversary celebrations, the pharmacy is running a 20 per cent off discount for loyalty programme customers who shop during the quieter hours of the day, that is 9am to 10am and 7pm to 8pm, Monday to Friday, until the end of February. All customers can join the loyalty card programme.
In addition, the store is using its digital price labelling system to make it easier for all customers to instantly see items that have been marked down in price.
The pharmacy, which has a dedicated prescriptions counter, is on the corner of Church Street and Par-la-Ville Road. Two years after it opened its doors, owner Kiran Shah has described five key lessons he has learnt about opening and running a small business in Bermuda.
“You have to love what you do. The time has gone by so quickly,” he said.
With the need at times to put in 16-hour working days, it has meant less time to be with family and friends, hence the need to enjoy what you are doing.
Mr Shah said it was also important to build a great team and value them and not try to do everything yourself. The pharmacy has built itself up to a team of six full-time staff.
Another lesson Mr Shah has learnt is the importance of listening to customers.
“That has been massive,” he said. “You have to listen to the feedback and identify patterns. As an example, we extended our opening hours after customers let us know they wanted to come ‘after hours’ when other places were closed and it is easier to get parking.”
The pharmacy used to close at 6pm, but now stays open until 8pm from Monday to Friday. Those extra two hours in the evening have proven popular with customers. The pharmacy has kept its 6pm closing time on Saturdays.
Mr Shah said the third lesson was keeping pricing “realistic”. He said people have a tendency to compare prices at shops with those offered by online retailers. However, what should also be taken into account, particularly as it relates to Bermuda, are the costs of shipping, wharfage, customs duty, electricity and other variables.
After all that has been considered, the pharmacy arrives at what it considers a realistic price for each item — something that customers are willing to pay.
Of course, that system is not infallible. And there are times when the store finds itself with items that customers just aren’t buying at the advertised price.
“If we find something that is not moving we will put it on a fire sale. There is no point having it in the store of it is not selling.
“We encourage people to look for the electronic price label with the sale on it [the price is displayed with a darker background], if they are looking for a fantastic price.”
This leads to the fourth lesson, which is managing inventory. As an island, Bermuda’s supply chains — from manufacturer to shop shelf — are longer. This means there is a greater chance of items running out before they can be replenished, or of items being overstocked and not selling.
However, Mr Shah said the island’s wholesale distributors do a “great job” and their ability to hold large quantities of inventory helps ensure that many items can be speedily restocked when they run low on the shelves.
And Mr Shah said the fifth lesson is to reinvest in the business.
“What Par-la-Ville Pharmacy does is good customer service with technology to enhance the shopping experience,” he said.
Mr Shah said if there was a sixth lesson, it would be to take baby steps “to find out what will work”.