Oslo, Norway

Offer customers what others do not carry


A half-dozen other pharmacies have also set up shop in the area. “The closest one is right across the street,” says Yemi Awoyemi. Competing for every customer is a matter of course.

In an attractive old building, the 35-year-old woman manages one of the most modern branches of Apotek 1.The Norwegian pharmacy chain of the PHOENIX group has 333 stores in total and has been a pillar of the group for many years. It makes a key contribution to healthcare in this northernmost country in Europe. With slightly more than five million inhabitants, Norway is sparsely populated.

Though visitors to Oslo would hardly realise it. People hurry along the streets, and no one seems to have any time. Those who need medication go to the first pharmacy they happen to see. The manager smiles. “Most customers are not loyal.” Nevertheless, her aim is to convince everyone that her pharmacy is the largest and best in the area. She has therefore turned quality and friendliness into a trademark.

Often we feel like a family.

Working closely with people is what Yemi Awoyemi likes best, and that also applies to her 30-strong team. “Often we feel like a family,” she says. Although it is rarely quiet in the branch, which covers 209 square metres. Part of the reason is that this is an emergency pharmacy. It is open for 12 hours Monday to Friday, 10 hours on Saturdays, and 3 hours on Sundays. Shift work is the rule, and good planning is essential. This means Yemi Awoyemi isn’t just a pharmacist, she’s also a manager. “Although I always try to spend plenty of time with my customers.”

For her, the quality of advice of a pharmacy is as important as the supply of medications. Thousands of packs are kept in stock here, with a total value of three million kroner (€310,000). This wide product selection is an advantage. Customers like coming to a pharmacy where they do not have to order their medication in advance. Every month, 35,000 packages pass over the counter.

Offering customers what others do not carry – that is a strategic cornerstone of Apotek 1 and includes services such as the prescription service. Customers leave information about their medication and dosage with the pharmacy. When customers run out of their medicine, they will receive an SMS, and their medicine will be made ready for pick-up or delivery. At Yemi Awoyemi’s pharmacy 40 customers use the new service, which is also available for prescription-only medication. In Norway, doctors issue electronic prescriptions, which are stored in a national database that pharmacies can access.

Prescription service is just one of the many services offered by the PHOENIX group in Norway and part of the All-in-One service range, which unites manufacturers, pharmacies and patients. On request, the PHOENIX group can take on the entire goods distribution process for the pharmaceutical industry. Via three European hubs, it transports thousands of pallets to regional supply networks, from which the medication is delivered to pharmacies. The PHOENIX group also supports manufacturers with industry expertise from its pharmacy network.

After all, the pharmacy is the best place to find out about customer preferences. Yemi Awoyemi, for example, specialises in skincare, an area that is important to many Norwegians. Three of her staff have special training in this area, and one of them is always available. You can receive a brief consultation or make an appointment to return at an agreed time – and then perhaps become a loyal customer.

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