KUALA LUMPUR: Caring Pharmacy Group Bhd, which saw first quarter net profit jump more than fourfold on higher revenue and profit margins, is consolidating its multi-channel platforms and will launch its customer experience management (CEM) project in January next year, as part of its digital transformation initiative. “We want to streamline all our channels from our brick-and-mortar stores to our e-commerce through website and mobile app, to give consumers every convenience and a seamless experience where they can buy products in whichever area that they like. “They can walk into our outlet, get a consultation then go home and buy online and have the item delivered to their doorstep. Or if they want to save on courier charges or there’s nobody at home to receive the parcel, they can order products online and later collect from our outlet,” managing director Chong Yeow Siang told reporters at its AGM today. He said the CEM will allow customers to enjoy its services and products whether via mobile app, website (e-store), e-commerce marketplace or in an outlet. The group has already invested RM500,000 in the initiative, which will consolidate the various platforms into a single, uniformed and consistent experience for customers.’ In a separate filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group announced that its first quarter ended Aug 31, 2017 net profit jumped more than fourfold to RM3.25 million from RM721,000 a year ago, due to higher revenue achieved and higher gross profit margin. Revenue for the quarter rose 12.9% to RM125.25 million from RM110.94 million a year ago mainly contributed by higher sales generated from existing outlets due to aggressive and extensive promotional campaign launched during the quarter. Besides the digital transformation, the group’s strategy is to focus on pricing and products. In pricing, it aims to be competitive via diligent price surveillance and in terms of product, it is working with principles overseas to bring in exclusive brands. “We also want to improve our bottom line, that’s why these exclusive brands coming in are very important. Over the last two years, we worked with a lot of overseas principles to bring in very high quality, reliable, exclusive brands that are only available in Caring,” Chong said. The group is also instilling lean measures to reduce its cost of doing business. On its expansion plan, he said it hopes to open its first outlet in Sabah in six months’ time and is now in the midst of finalising details of the outlet, which will be its first outside Peninsular Malaysia. “We are definitely opening more branches. You can see the opening strategy is also out of the Klang Valley. Last month we opened in Kuantan and in December we are opening in Kota Baru. We are going to be a very complete national player. In Sabah we have already identified and confirmed a site, we are going there quite soon. Hopefully in six months’ time we have a Caring outlet to serve Sabah,” he said. The group had previously indicated that it would open its first outlet in Sabah in 2017. However, Chong said the process of opening outlets in the state is very different compared with Peninsular Malaysia and the group is building up its capabilities there. “At the moment we will focus on Sabah first. In every city we go, if we operate one outlet, it is quite lonely and not really achieving economies of scale. So in each city when we go there, (we will open) at least three or four outlets,” he said. Caring will continue its annual target of opening 10 to 12 outlets per year, with a capital expenditure of RM2 million to RM3 million, he said. During the quarter, the group set up one complex outlet and two high street outlets. Caring has 110 community pharmacies as at Aug 31, 2017.