New loyalty programme will drive the growth of SA's independent pharmacies

10 July 2017

South African patients and small businesses will benefit from the Umvuzi Loyalty Programme that has been launched by pharmaceutical wholesaler Pharmed, which is proudly part of the Imperial Logistics group.

Pharmed is a pharmaceutical wholesaler that distributes prescription medication, homeopathic, surgical, dental and veterinary products to dispensing doctors, retail pharmacies, private hospitals and allied healthcare professionals. Living up to its reputation as “the independent pharmacy’s choice”, Pharmed is constantly looking for innovative ways to help independent pharmacies to navigate an increasingly complex business environment, says managing director Greg Carver.

“Independent pharmacies in South Africa represent the largest number of stores in the retail sector. Pharmed has recognised, however, that the number of truly independent pharmacies is diminishing due to financial pressures and the amalgamation of small groups.” The company’s latest response to the challenges faced by independent pharmacies is the creation of its three-tiered “Umvuzi Loyalty Programme”, which will enable participating pharmacies nationally to access various business benefits based on their monthly spend with Pharmed. It features Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers, catering for pharmacies that spend from R50 000 a month up to over R400 000.

“The Umvuzi Loyalty Programme brings the independent pharmacies a range of services that will grow their business. These services include business tools, training and mentoring. Leveraging an online portal, the programme also ensures that they can access these services whenever they need to,” Carver explains. The positive spin-off for patients and the independent pharmacies’ customers will be enhanced service levels, as a result of the knowledge and skills acquired by the pharmacists and their staff through the loyalty programme.

The objectives of the Umvuzi programme include educating the independent pharmacist and his or her team to grow sales and increase access to healthcare in their local area. It also aims to help reduce the pharmacies’ dependence on price, and enable them to focus more on service to sustain their businesses.

The programme will yield benefits for Pharmed, too, by reinforcing the company’s position as the preferred supplier for the independent pharmacy. “In the Umvuzi Loyalty Programme we have harnessed expertise and resources from across the Imperial group in order to drive the growth and success of independent pharmacies, to enhance their service to their patients and customers, and to increase Pharmed sales,” Carver concludes.

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