Medicine Shoppe Goes CRM Shopping

by Amit Tripathi    Aug 30, 2004

Although the retail boom in the FMCG sector is yet to take off in India, a few distribution giants are hoping to notch a quick lead in the retail race. Medicine Shoppe, one of India’s largest community pharmacy retail chain, plans to woo its customers and franchisees to retail benefits, by first acquiring a new Customer Relationship Management solution and also providing added benefits like mediclaim (medical insurance) to customers.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Viraj Gandhi, managing director, The Medicine Shoppe India, said, “We are looking for a CRM solution and it will go live within two months. At the moment we are in the process of evaluation of various solutions available in the market.”

A CRM application is the need of the hour given the fact that Medical Shoppe is now reaching its customers in a myriad number of ways. On one hand it has tied up with Oriental Insurance Company to provide mediclaim to customers who buy medical goods (medicines, equipments etc.) worth more than Rs. 5,000 from any of its retail outlets or franchises (supermarkets like the Adanis) in the country. On the other, the company plans to aggressively expand by appointing at least 500 franchises in the country by 2006.

The IT landscape at Medical Shoppe at the moment has a combination of databases namely SQL and MS Access with Visual Basic as the front end. At the shop level the VB-Access combination is used whereas at the distribution center level SQL database is used. Also in use are in-house developed applications like the Franchise Supply Chain (FSC) for ordering goods, a Decision Support System (DSS) for sales, inward & outward accounting etc.

In addition, the company provides SMS reminders for medicine stocks, and medical history of individual patients and implements bar-coding for maintaining quality and authenticity of the drugs dispensed.

Gandhi added, “IT is working wonders for us. We are also looking to move to a unified database format in the near future.”

The Medicine Shoppe started operations in India in February 1999 with outlets currently operational in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and several other cities in Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Goa, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. Till date, the enterprise has managed to setup 57 retail shops.

Tags: CRM