A Good script for success

24 November 2012, Written by Brisbane Business News

A Good script for success
Anthony Yap's vision of the future of pharmacies is a one-stop shop for health, beauty and medicine.

The founder of Good Price Pharmacy (GPP) and the 2012 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner has gone beyond the call of duty to fill in prescriptions.

Yap, 34, established a holistic health service which promises proper provision of medical advice and streamlined services to make the visit as painless as possible.

He trains GPP staff to encourage customers to seek further advice on their medication therapy and medicine-taking regime.

"We conducted 1049 clinical interventions in September and have become a patient-focused chemist, which is the way of the future," says Yap, who is a registered pharmacist.

"We are providing a health solution to consumers, not just products or prescribed medication.
We provide a higher level of advice where we see potential problems and request pharmacists to counsel on them."

Yap has cut queue waiting-times by rolling out a VIP loyalty program. Customers can drop off their prescriptions in-store and be notified via phone, email or mobile text-message when the item is ready for collection.

He has also set up a script-reminder service that enables customers to request their script to be refilled via text-message.

"We engaged a company to develop a system that is linked to our dispensary system. We can enter their specific information and it will send customers a reminder when their script is low. They love it," he says.

The company has also outlined plans to launch an online store, but Yap is not convinced it will bring real cost savings.

"The use of online channels is very small because there are a lot of regulatory restrictions on how to dispense a prescription online," he says.

"Customers would have to sign an authorisation form and wait two or more days for it to arrive by mail. There is no real cost-saving from buying online as the minimum parcel postage fee is $8 while only orders over $100 have free postage. Most people needing medication want it now."

Brisbane-born Yap, and wife Hanh Luu, founded GPP in 2001 with $50,000 of savings plus a bank loan. They used the money to realise their dream of importing the big-box store concept, which was widely used by hardware stores, to the pharmacy industry.

"We had the pharmacy re-valued and found we had quite a lot of equity, which we used that to open more stores. Within the first five to six years, we owned all of our sites and decided to get critical mass by moving into franchising," he says.

"There are a lot of government restrictions on where you can open a pharmacy. We increased our footprint through franchising because it gave us a much greater ability to expand without being as capital intensive."

Yap is bullish about the next 12 months and vows to increase franchise store numbers.

"We are opening our 39th store in Cairns and would like to open six to seven stores each year. We are also trying to open-up stores nationally with a strong focus on South Australia, and New South Wales," he says.

"Potential franchisees need to share the same vision, be retail-focused, savvy and willing to continually evolve with us."

He will also focus on improving margins and reducing costs across all stores.

"We will continually review our product-mix, plans and pricing to ensure that we have the optimal mix of products in each category at our existing stores," he says.

"No model is perfect and there is room to improve. When you stop moving with consumer needs that is when you become irrelevant to the consumer."
 
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