Bochum’s oldest company – student support

Traditional companies often have to face the challenge of deciding on the path they should take for the future. Dr. Inka Krude, since 2003 owner of the oldest company in Bochum, the Alten Apotheke 1691, also had to find an answer to this important question. “I had to decide whether the concept of a pharmacy as a normal store would be able to survive on its own in future or whether I also ought to set up an online-shop to sell medicines.” She needed some professional help.
At a final dissertation workshop for the Chamber of Industry and Commerce at the University of Applied Sciences Bochum, Inka Krude got in touch with Professor Ute Ritzerfeld-Zell. This professor of economics and a marketing specialist then spoke to her student Claudia Naumann who was soon to take her finals. The topic appealed to her. “I wanted to do a diploma dissertation in the field of marketing with a focus on e-commerce”, Claudia Naumann explains, “So Dr. Krude’s problem sounded very exciting.”

Unfortunately there were very few publications on this topic which meant significant questions remained unanswered: who buys medicaments on the internet? How many online customers are there? Why are people reluctant to go to a normal pharmacy? She developed a suitable questionnaire together with her professor.

Online customers were contacted by email and Claudia Naumann approached the walk-in customers at the store itself. There was a very good response and the results were surprising: a significant proportion of people preferred the pharmacy store and this was true for the younger customers as well. Even the online customers saw many advantages in buying medicaments from a store and were quite critical of ordering on the internet: prescriptions have to be sent in, postage and packaging costs balance out the cheaper purchase prices and the quality of advice is worse than in a normal pharmacy. “People were also afraid of receiving counterfeit medicaments or cheap copies”, Claudia Naumann explains.

From the numerous replies that she received the student then derived key recommendations for action for the Alte Apotheke. These included extending the courier service for elderly people and for people with limited mobility and introducing a loyalty points and reward system. “I have implemented Ms Naumann’s recommendations and am more than satisfied with the results”, Inka Krude is delighted. Her customers have also reacted positively to the changes so this Bochum pharmacy should remain the oldest company in the city for many years to come.

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