Bringing It All Together with ECRS Catapult®
Explore how one independent pharmacy uses ECRS Catapult to centralize business operations and build lasting success.
Young’s Pharmacy, located in Bethlehem PA, installed ECRS Catapult® Point-of-Sale (POS) in March of 2006. They needed to replace an existing system no longer able to keep up with their innovative business ideas. ECRS recently spoke with Co-Owner Jeanette Young about their unique growth strategies, overall business management and how they are bringing it all together with one automated solution.
ECRS: Explain briefly about your decision to purchase a new POS system?
Young: Our previous system lacked certain functionality needed in our retail pharmacy. It lacked an interface to our shopper rewards program, had only limited reporting capabilities and did not allow for electronic receiving.
ECRS: What specific features led you to choose ECRS Catapult as your final POS solution?
Young: Catapult seamlessly integrates with our shopper rewards program. The system also provides simple customer management, a General Ledger interface to our accounting program, an advanced pharmacy system interface and a strong, bi-directional EDI interface with our main supplier.
Customer Rewards & Marketing Programs
ECRS: How do you manage your customer rewards program with ECRS Catapult?
Young: Previously, we used manual punch cards that customers brought into the store. This is all computerized now. Our program is set up to send customers a $10 gift certificate for every $200 worth of applicable items purchased. They have 6 months to use the certificate. Only certain items qualify as reward purchases. For Young’s Pharmacy, located in Bethlehem PA, installed ECRS Catapult™ Point-of-Sale (POS) in March of 2006. They needed to replace an existing system no longer able to keep up with their innovative business ideas. ECRS recently spoke with Co-Owner Jeanette Young about their unique growth strategies, overall business management and how they are bringing it all together with one automated solution. example, prescriptions are not a reward-eligible item. The Catapult system automatically determines which items are eligible and tracks purchases. A report is electronically sent from Catapult to our marketing service every night. Information is updated to the customer’s rewards account, and they can monitor it via the web at any time.
ECRS: How do you use customer marketing and rewards programs to monitor and affect consumer behavior?
Young: We use customer marketing programs to help build our front-end sales, attract new customers, ensure customer retention and influence shopping patterns. Sunday is our slowest day. To increase store traffic on that day, we released a promotion that offers doublerewards points for qualifying purchases made on Sunday. Through quantifiable sales data we discovered that this promotion did actually increase our Sunday numbers, and we were able to directly influence shopping patterns. We can also download the customer list and do targeted marketing through phone or email blasts for special store events and newsletters. This was used recently to promote attendance for a store open house.
ECRS: How many customers do you have currently enrolled in your rewards program?
Young: We have 4,750 active customer accounts.
ECRS: You also use ECRS’ integrated gift card service to enhance marketing campaigns. Please explain how you are using this functionality.
Young: Yes, we use ECRS gift cards in a number of different ways. Gift cards are used for returned purchases instead of just giving cash back. This ensures the purchase, and revenue, stays within our store. We also use them in campaigns to build prescription business since this is not included in our rewards program. Massmailers are sent based from a local address list offering a $10 gift card if someone brings in a new prescription. The hope is that once we get the new customer, we will keep them. Young’s also releases a customer newsletter. We give away $10 gift cards for contests included in the newsletter to increase the open rate. Of course, we also use the gift cards in place of paper gift certificates. The ECRS gift card program works very well. There are no fees and all of the information is centralized in the POS system.
ECRS: Do you feel customer marketing and rewards programs are important for independent pharmacy retailers?
Young: Yes, targeted marketing campaigns and rewards or loyalty programs can help build sales, bring in new customers and retain existing customers. It’s great because customers are getting rewarded for shopping in your store. These programs can also help retailers compete with larger, chain stores.
Catapult Inventory Management and EDI Supplier Integration
ECRS: Please explain your inventory management process with Catapult and ECRS Gateway.
Young: Our inventory is set up to reorder automatically based on item movement. At the end of the day, we create a Catapult Purchase Order and the items needed are auto-populated based on item movement. We quickly review the PO and click “submit”. The order is then sent electronically via the ECRS Gateway to our supplier. We receive a confirmation email from the Gateway and the supplier once the order has been received. Once the order is filled, we receive an email alerting us that the PO has been updated with quantities shipped and invoice costs. A Price & Cost Change worksheet is automatically generated in Catapult, prompting us to change prices as needed. Previously, we had to manually download prices from the supplier and walk the floor to find the item and update the price.
ECRS: What are some of the benefits to automating your front-end inventory management?
Young: After installing POS, the reduction in inventory value was about 20%. This came out to be around $20,000 saved each year. It also saves us time and resources. We save an estimated 5 hours per week in ordering with this system, and it insures inventory accuracy even if someone is out.
Pharmacy Management Interface
ECRS: How does the ECRS interface with your Pharmacy Management System benefit both your customers and your business?
Young: This is a very nice feature. It centralizes the entire prescription pick-up process for both employees and customers. When a customer picks up a prescription, they sign electronically on one signature capture pad and the information is directly transferred to our PMS provider. If the customer’s wife comes in later to pick up the same prescription, we can easily pull up the transaction information from any terminal. We have a detailed record of who picked up the prescription, when it was picked up and the electronic signature. Another nice feature is the will call prompt. When a prescription is scanned, other available prescriptions for the customer and other persons associated with that account will show up on the POS screen. This avoids customers having to do multiple pick-ups. It also ensures that all prescriptions in the bag are being paid for because they are listed on the POS screen when the cashier scans the first bar code. Having the PMS interface speeds up the entire prescription checkout process, ensures accountability, helps customer service and allows for easy storage and retrieval of vital information.
Complete System Benefits
ECRS: Overall, what areas of the business have been most changed through the use of ECRS Catapult?
Young: Front-end inventory management, prescription accountability, easier customer check-outs, customer loyalty/marketing management… It’s one system with multiple benefits. It ties everything together.
ECRS: Would you recommend ECRS Catapult to other pharmacy retailers?
Young: Yes, it is a very easy-to-use system and helps us better streamline business operations.