A drugstore is a place that sells medical supplies, cosmetics, and necessities all together. A drugstore was first launched for consumers who wanted buy medicines and necessities in one place. Actually, this new spending pattern originated from the United States and some other European countries in which pharmacies have added daily necessities as items with drugs after separation of prescribing and dispensing drugs. Now in Korea, this drugstore business has grown so fast that one brand, CJ OLIVE YOUNG, generated approximately two hundred billion won in sales last year. The other brand, GS Watsons, also recorded one billion won last year. Drugstores are emerging as the hottest commercial item in Korea. However, there are some concerns about it.
What is the Problem?
In the past two years, drugstores have been appearing on every street. OLIVE YOUNG and GS Watsons are known as the most popular drugstores (there are already 3 of these drugstores around SMU) but in a few years, it is reported that more drugstores will be launched such as W store (Kolon), December 24 (Café bene) and BOONS (E-mart). Some interpreted this phenomenon as some major companies expanding their business like tentacles. The most concerned problem is that they are stealing the commercial district of small traders. That’s because there is a huge overlap between drugstores and small traders. The main purpose of drugstores is aimed at beauty and health care, however, they put miscellaneous goods such as snacks and necessities on their shelves. Also, as the competition between drugstores themselves becomes fierce, more items are being added. As you know, SSM (Super Supermarket) or convenience store is being regulated strictly by the government and public for protecting small traders. But, there is no restriction about opening drugstores, so they are expanding the number of stores freely.
I agree that there should be restriction on drugstores. From last year, I could find drugstores very easily on the street. At that time, I often stopped by there for buying some necessaries. I felt that kind of store is very fresh and convenient for consumers. But as time goes on, some concerns about it came to my mind. I considered the problems from my personal perspective and a social perspective. At first, by my personal perspective, the goods in the drugstore are mixed with too various kinds of stuff, so I doubt whether each kind of goods is managed well. One day, when I dropped by a drugstore, I was surprised to find that sanitary pads are being sold next to perfumes. I think something like sanitary pad should be cared for very immaculately. There, however, there was no border line between sanitary and chemical products. I think it is a very serious problem. The second reason is the distrust of medical supplies. In the drugstore, diverse medical supplies are being sold such as vitamin supplements and other nutritional supplements. These are the products which were originally carried in only pharmacies, because they are undoubtedly ‘medicines’. I can’t deny that I doubt whether they can be traded in regular ‘stores.’ In short, I cannot give them credit, and there might be lots of people who think like me. Easy approach medical supplement can cause abuse and misuse on it.
Nowadays, it is easy to find drugstore in the street. I think it is a fresh new type of stores. As spending pattern of customers is changing in these days, the way of selling goods should also be changed. Drugstores are the right way, and exactly succeed in reading consumers’ habits. Firstly, drugstores provide the convenience of getting diverse things at one time. I think drugstores are a very innovative type of store because they let us buy necessaries very easily without going to a department store or big supermarket. Most of drugstores have a very neat space, but having all the necessaries. It is such an efficient selling pattern. The next reason why I agree with drugstores is the trust in the brand values of drugstores. The most popular drugstore is OLIVE YOUNG. It is one of theaffiliates of CJ Corp. CJ. is a big company which is gaining public’s trust. Just by the fact that OLIVE YOUNG is being managed by CJ Corp, we can trust all the products of OLIVE YOUNG. That is the brand power. For consumers, brand value is one factor to make a rational decision. The last reason functions as a gathering space of foreign cosmetic brands which have rarely seen in Korea. There are many popular cosmetic brands abroad, but some of them are not easy to get their products. Whenever I want to buy them, I should search through the internet shop where deals with the brand. However, as the drugstores begun to trade them, I no longer need to be tired for seeking them out. In drugstores, various kind of foreign brands are being traded, and there is almost every product which young women want. I think it is exactly right on young women’s habits and desire. Although I cannot say that the products’ price which the drugstore are trading is inexpensive, consumers might be gaining benefits by the ‘very convenience’ approach them from economics standpoint.