A Survey of positioning strategies used by pharmacies in Nairobi
The pharmacies in Nairobi today are facing stiff competition and are operating in a highly turbulent environment. For enterprises to survive this stiff competition, it has been necessary to develop positioning strategies to enable firms occupy a distinctive place in the minds of the consumer and thus have a competitive edge over the other competitors. It is against this backdrop that this study was formulated to try and identify the positioning strategies used by pharmacies in order to cope with competition. The study also sought to establish the process the pharmacies follow when developing a positioning strategy. The survey design was used in the study. Out of a total of 468 pharmacies in Nairobi, 80 pharmacies were selected for the study and 68 (85%) of them responded. Convenience sampling method was used to select sample elements and the data was collected using the questionnaire method. Data on demographics of the firm was analyzed using frequency distribution and percentages while data on positioning strategies and the process used by the pharmacies when coming up with positioning strategies was analyzed using mean scores and standard deviations. The findings indicated that various positioning strategies were used by the pharmacies and the most popular ones were differentiation, location and customer service strategies. Branding and operating strategies were least used by the pharmacies. The adoption of new technology seems to be low in most of the pharmacies. The study also found out that the pharmacies followed the process of developing a strategic position like determining the future of the pharmacy, defining the market in which the pharmacy wants to compete, defining the segment the pharmacy wants to target and analyzing the current strengths of the pharmacy and evaluating the success of the strategic position. However most of them did not conduct research. The study did not focus on why the pharmacies embraced some strategies and the reasons for not embracing some. Further research should be conducted to find out why pharmacies are slow in adopting new technology and why the branding strategies are not popular amongst the pharmacies. The study further proposed that pharmacies should identify ways of distinguishing themselves from their competitors and explore new strategies that have been ignored by the sector. In addition to the widely used strategies like location, differentiation and customer service there is a need to incorporate new and creative strategies that would give the pharmacies an edge over the other competitors so as to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of a consumer.