In his latest book “To Sell is Human” Daniel Pink claims that, jointly in the United States, the educational and medical sectors (he refers to them as ed-med) have created more “new jobs in the last decade than all the other sectors combined.” Reflecting this trend in Ireland is Limerick based Touchstore.
It started off in 2000 by giving retail chemists reports on what their best selling items were as well as other valuable items of information. By 2006 the service was in over 200 pharmacies in Ireland. In 2010, through the purchase of another company which then became known as Touchstore Rx, they expanded into the dispensary management area.
According to Marketing Manager, John Cassidy, Touchstore is one of the fastest growing companies in its product area in Ireland and they are hoping to enhance and expand their activities with the launch of their new iPad app which is currently in development.
However a working prototype of the app, which has been designed and built by Touchstore’s own team of software engineers, will be launched at the IPU National Pharmacy Conference which takes place this weekend, commencing on 26 April.
The app is designed for the pharmacy owner to keep track of the activities of their store and its day to day operations — e.g., prescriptions going out, plus sales and analysis of other key factors.
“You should have an app if there is the possibility of having an app.” John says, “Every tech company needs an app to complement their offering. It’s something investors look for and it is an age where we are all using smartphones and we need to take advantage of that.
“We want to have more communication with our customers, make it more engaging. Listen to our customers and to give potential customers a good insight into what we are doing and what we are about.”
John is keenly aware of the value that the judicious use of technology can bring to a business. For almost two years he worked as a marketing communications manager in Silicon Valley — the current centre of the universe for technological innovation.
John points out that,“Networking is a journey.” And there are a number of stages when thinking of engaging with new people at an event. “There is pre-networking where you find out who is going to be there and you target who is going to be beneficial to your company. When you get there, you make a point of meeting them.”
“What I learned was that the most important part of networking was post-networking — getting in contact, meeting up with them again. At an event people want to mingle. They don’t necessarily want to focus in on one person. Post-event networking was the most important part.”
John also found that, in almost all aspects, Irish people are welcomed in the United States. On his first St. Patrick’s Day in San Jose, he remembers looking out the window seeing Hispanic guys seemingly having taken the day off work and wearing all green. “Everyone is Irish for that day.”
John argues that beyond the widespread celebration of the day, St. Patrick’s Day is a massive marketing vehicle for Ireland. It has to the potential to be Ireland’s “biggest profit-making machine”, not only in terms of the event itself and but as a billboard for attracting more investment to Ireland.
He believes that most companies in Ireland should have international ambition and he hopes and expects that Touchstore will expand beyond the shores of the Island and become a competitor on the global stage. Obviously, progress has to be made one step at a time but as he says, “You have to dream big.”