“Commitment to deliver and provide fast and reliable health care products that would be accessible to the community”. This is what the three giants from the pharmaceutical retail industry envisioned their company to carry out in their existence. Amidst of the heightened competition and the growing numbers of rivals in the industry, they managed to outgrow and even took the opportunity of the changing world to establish their company and deliver their service in full bloom. History Mercury Drugs, known for its tagline “Nakasisiguro gamot ay laging bago” was founded by Mr.
Mariano Que in 1945, shortly after the liberation of Manila from the Japanese occupation. He started from a bottled of a considered wonder drug for all maladies called sulfathiazole. He pioneered in selling “tingi-tingi” or piece by piece in the sidewalks of Bambang Street Manila and eventually opened his first small drugstore and named it Mercury Drugs. The store’s name stands for the messenger of gods, Mercury, the Roman god of commerce and manual skill. He needed a winged feet for his swift flights which is associated to the corporate philosophy of total and speedy customer service.
The company has expanded and reaches every community with their products and service throughout the country and continue growing even in the grounds of the City of Naga with its effort on satisfying, pleasing and further serving people with their quality and life saving medicines made affordable and accessible. On the other hand, South Star Drugs is a proud Bicolano health care company. It was the couple Tomas Dy-Macau and Magdalena Tang-Dy whom started the business back in the year 1937 in Naga City.
Their first product was an assortment of Chinese herbal medicine under the name Southern Drugs. But soon after, western medicine was also introduced; the couple took an advantage and began offering it to the Bicolano market. A favourable response was achieved and a new name was given to the enterprise, thus New South Star drug was born. The company saw the growth of the business and keep on expanding as it is driven with their mission to make health care products available to hard to reach communities and enhance the development of the communities in which they operate.
They are dedicated to inspire, create value and support good health. They aim to serve and touch lives with a hope of making a difference in the future. In addition to the growing pharmaceutical industry in Naga City came Watsons, the largest health and beauty retail chain in Asia. Its journey began in the Philippines in the year 2002 as it opened its doors partnering with SM Prime Holdings Inc. , the country’s leading shopping mall developer. The partnership brought Watsons in the top list of Filipinos’ health and beauty product provider.
As SM aggressively explores every market opportunity in the nation, it brought Watsons in every region which created consciousness of what Watsons had to offer. The company offered a variety of diversified products from medicines, cosmetics, fragrances, personal care and general merchandise. The company’s mission is to help people around the world to look good, feel great and at the same time infusing an interesting shopping environment that creates unique customer experience and gives inspiration to live beautifully inside and out. Watsons has been uniquely identified as a fashionable health store.
Products and Service – Innovation and Strategies Located in feasible high traffic areas, the pharmaceutical retail giants continued to remain visible in every busy street and shopping malls in Naga City. They have seen the trend of adding convenience items in their basic product offerings. This was an adjustment brought by the demand of the changing environment and lifestyle within the Philippines. South Star Drug and Mercury Drug even extended their store hours opening 24hours 7days a week to provide the purchase of medicines and supplies in an emergency and urgent situations.
The pharmaceutical giants also exceeded what the people expect from their service as they introduced self service concept in drug store selling. They launched the call and pick up order service which is eager to promote convenience and fast service in purchasing medicine or hospital supplies. They were adaptive to changes and constantly innovating to offer a faster and more reliable service through acquisition of computerized point of sale system which gave a quick transaction response to their customer.
Modern equipments were added to their facilities like biological refrigerators which ensure the quality and preservation of the life-saving medicines. They installed projectors above their counters where customers can view health tips and other announcements like health counseling, screening and many other amenities. To alleviate competition in the market and secure customer loyalty, Loyalty card programs or a point driven loyalty card was also introduced wherein members can save on their future purchases by earning points.
In this approach they can express their gratitude to their loyal customer through the card by providing benefits in their frequent purchase and at the same time earn profit. It appeared that the creation of loyalty cards can be considered as a win-win situation both for the customer which will be benefited in their future purchase and also with the company that may possibly find a helpful tool in customer retention. Opportunities and Threats Health is always a better capital in making your way to success, but in the modern society health is always a risk. Food supplements were already creating a tremendous break, from nowhere promising into becoming a better way of improving man’s wellbeing.
The food supplements and vitamins launched in response to man’s health gave a significant opportunity for drug stores to include variety of these products in their assortment which further gave them an increase in transaction count and later realized as profit. They were not just a venue for those who are ill but they also offer healthcare products that promote wellness. As mentioned, pharmacy stores were not only literally a place for OTC and prescription medicine but as been observed it turned into a pharmacy – convenience store that caters to other necessities though compared to supermarkets and other retail outlets their basic products were a little expensive.
They have watched as their basic product offerings added growth to the company’s sales. The entrants of Generics pharmacies within the City brought threat as it was a provider of cheaper array of medicines which are also as effective as the branded ones as seen on commercial advertisement through television and print media. The government also expressed their support on promoting the efficacy of generic drugs that adversely affect those branded ones that are mostly available in the Watsons, Mercury and South Star.
Response to Green Marketing “To have a sustainable environment” is a call today to any entrepreneur to be conscious to his environment while engaging to any business. As a response to help preserve our environment and promote awareness the company is very vocal on its advocacy in protecting our environment. The 3R’s, which is Re-use, Reduce and Recycle are visible on their shopping bags that seems to be a constant reminder of their commitment to the call for sustainability.
The pharmaceuticals also have begun using oxo-biodegradable plastics and launching eco-bags that would replace their previous shopping bags in accordance to the Government policy to help sustain our environment. Commitment to Society Affordability and accessibility of medicine and healthcare products were not just the benefits of these pharmacy stores but they significantly contributed to the creation of jobs for the people and added revenue for the City of Naga. More than establishing the company they are also committed in serving and making a difference for a better future.
It is not always making profit but the good thing about these companies is that they were able to practice their social responsibility. To name, Mercury Drugs consistently conducts free clinic to the less privileged that provided them with medical consultations and free medicines. They also promote awareness on diseases that requires much attention, and further educates through a series of health counseling in selected branch. Recently they joined the Philippine Business for Social Progress that helps rural and urban marginalized communities to have an access to potable water system. The company supported the institution in improving the quality of life through promoting better health and sanitation practices.