Wholesaler Diversifies into Kiosks, World Wide Web

Article excerpt

A New Jersey independent wholesaler has teamed up with an interactive technology firm to link consumers in search of health-care information to in-store kiosks and to the World Wide Web.

In a move to diversify beyond the drug wholesale industry into healthcare services to help its customers compete, Neuman Distributors Inc. has teamed up with Mediview Inc. to produce in-store kiosks that give consumers touch-screen access to information. The joint venture also gives manufacturers and advertisers a marketing vehicle for their products, retailers a way to attract and keep customers, and shoppers using the system instant coupons. Consumers can also use their home computer to access the system via the World Wide Web.

"Retailers are making room for these multilingual, consumer-friendly information centers, with an eye on capturing customer attention at the point of purchase," said Anthony Bonelli, Neuman president/COO.

"This market innovation is consistent with Neuman's strategic business goal to move beyond distribution and become a provider of health-care services."

Ready for a July launch, Neuman's kiosk program will be offered on a month-to-month lease. The short-term arrangement avoids the problem that left thousands of angry independent pharmacy owners holding expensive leases when another kiosk firm, Recomm International, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

"A factor in the Recomm debacle is that Recomm lacked any penetration in the marketplace," said Jane Kunzweiler, Neuman's director of business development. …