Kerr Drug will be spending much of 2013 in search of more ways to enhance customers' online and digital experiences as well as the in-store experience, according to vice president of merchandising and marketing Bill Baxley.

Kerr Drug, Bill Baxley, marketing, merchandising, digital experience, in-store experience, digital solutions, 2-D barcodes, smartphone, front end, pharmacy, Mark Gregory, regional drug chain, North Carolina, Premier Value, private label, Kerr Drug pharmacists, medication therapy management, MTM, OutcomesMTM, store operations, EPS/PDX pharmacy system

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Kerr Drug eyes new ways to connect with customers

April 19th, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. – Kerr Drug will be spending much of 2013 in search of more ways to enhance customers' online and digital experiences as well as the in-store experience, according to vice president of merchandising and marketing Bill Baxley.

"We are looking at how to provide our consumers with new ways to engage in purchases with digital solutions in-store," Baxley said. "We are particularly pursuing the increased use of smartphone technology and 2-D barcodes, for both front-end and pharmacy transactions."

The regional drug chain, with 80 stores in North Carolina, also is continuing to look at ways to enhance the return on inventory investment.

"Kerr has greatly enhanced its use of specially designed promotional end-caps and its shelf displays, with 'ready for retail' packaged products ready for the shelf," Baxley said.

A range of product categories have performed particularly well at the retailer, such as cough and cold, both in the pharmacy and in the over-the-counter aisles. "North Carolina had an intense flu impact this year," noted Baxley.

Among other areas that are doing well are the prepaid category, and Baxley attributes this success to the chain's "dynamic growth" in retail cards, financial cards and telecommunications cards; the dollar values category, which he said continues to flourish in part because Kerr has always invested heavily in having a dynamic presence there; wine, for which several stores are carrying broader selections and upscale point-of-purchase displays; and smokeless ­tobacco.

Baxley said that besides its success in attracting new customers, Kerr has developed programs to retain those ­consumers.

"Our primary loyalty vehicle is our Premier Value [private label] card, which gives members 10% off PV product every day," he explained. "That has grown exponentially, and we couple it with an e-newsletter with additional value."

He added, "We are expanding our efforts to grow that database, since PV is our most profitable area for growth."

Kerr also recognizes that some time-constrained consumers feel inundated with in-store offerings, according to Baxley. "We are streamlining the mix of product to cut down on the confusion at the point of sale," he said.

On the pharmacy side, Kerr had a banner year in 2012 in providing medication therapy management (MTM) services.

"Kerr Drug pharmacists performed over 36,000 patient encounters for more than $800,000 in fees," said senior vice president of store operations Mark Gregory. "These totals are almost exactly double the activity that was produced in 2011."

In March of this year, OutcomesMTM named Kerr Drug the top regional pharmacy chain in providing MTM services to patients in 2012, marking the fourth time in the past six years that it has received the designation.

"We have worked very hard to have MTM services integrated into the daily practice of pharmacy at Kerr Drug," Gregory commented when the honor was announced. "Most of all, we are proud of the impact our pharmacists have had on the thousands of patients who have benefited from these invaluable services."

Another key development in Kerr's pharmacy operation was the completion of the deployment of the EPS/PDX pharmacy system, according to Gregory.

"Installation of this system required a great deal of cooperation and hard work by several individuals, including every member of our pharmacy and store management teams," he said. "Because of this effort, we are now operating on one companywide system for the first time in over five years."

He also noted that more services hours have been installed into the scheduler, allowing for additional hours to be earned in direct correlation with patient care services performance.

"This is a step in the right direction toward giving each pharmacy the help it needs to operate as efficiently as possible," Gregory said.