I served as Webmaster for three years at Medicine Shoppe International (MSI). MSI offered two separate franchise brands, Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy and Medicap Pharmacy Stores. When I arrived, MSI’s web presences were running on a very outdated content management systems. While the franchise offered individualized web sites for each store, they were very time-consuming to update and maintain.
The key challenge was to develop a comprehensive web strategy, then select the web technology and staff resources to maintain it. The deployment of an up-to-date web site for both the franchise and franchisees was only the first step among many that included search engine optimization, localizing the franchisee’s web page and providing content from a national and local level. Additional efforts included Google Adwords campaigns, email marketing and social media.
After reviewing a series of proposals, we selected a vendor – Habanero – to develop and execute the installation and population of a content management system. We deployed SiteCore CMS. SiteCore was selected for its capacity to manage multiple domains, run on a .NET platform and high-level of flexibility in its template system.
Franchisee interest in using the web as part of the marketing mix varied widely. Many wanted a highly localized and customized web pages. Others were content with an online business card. Over time we developed a series of features that allowed franchisees to quickly and easily select various promotions and apply them to their scrolling navigation. Other options allowed the franchisee to include special RSS feeds, customized pages and the addition of images from their store.
Franchisees adopted their new websites, and made excellent suggestions for new features. As part of a program of continuous improvement, we developed and launched these new features, adding them to the stable of online marketing tools.
The improvements were an unqualified success. Ancillary work to drive traffic by managing Google’s Local Business Center and engaging vendors to update and maintain our franchisee’s online directories helped local users find their business. Many franchisees noted that people were impressed with the quality of the site and that it figured in the decision to stop by. The improvements of the marketing web in turn improved the relationship between franchisor and franchisee. The success of these efforts prompted international franchisors to adopt both SiteCore and the broad elements of the web marketing program.