Pharmacy customers are not simply retail customers. They have special requirements, and might not be feeling in a shopping mood as they enter the store’s doors, as they may be visiting a pharmacy because they feel sick, need to treat a recurring illness, or want to get professional health advice.
In many other ways, though, pharmacy shoppers’ needs, asks and expectations are very similar to those of people visiting a supermarket, or a fashion store.
These shoppers want convenience. They expect to have everything they need to know, and the ability to buy, right at their fingertips. They want value for money. They want their shopping experiences to be easy, smooth, and quick. And if they frequently shop at the same retailer, they expect to be recognized, regardless of which channels they use to engage with a company. They want to shop as they prefer – using click and collect, paying for purchases on their phone, and so on.
Retailers have already had to step up their game to deliver exciting, engaging and seamless online and in-store experiences for shoppers. Now, it’s time for pharmacies to do the same. Here are some examples of how some of the most forward-thinking pharmacies are innovating, to create convenient solutions for getting medication and healthcare products into the hands of their customers and, ultimately, help people live healthier, happier lives.
Since 2015, thanks to a partnership with medical care provider KRY, customers of Swedish pharmaceutical chain LloydsApotek have been able to take advantage of online medical consultations. Last year, the company expanded this service by piloting a new on-site medical consultation service, so customers can get even more thorough checks in their local pharmacy.
The aim is to offer customers a quicker and more flexible service than they may be able to get from their local doctor. Appointments are available seven days a week during pharmacy opening hours, and they are run by pharmacy staff who are trained to take blood tests, carry out cholesterol checks, and diagnose certain viruses and infections. At the end of each consultation, a doctor receives the results and follows up with the patient via the KRY app or a phone call. Test results are usually available within 15 minutes, and if the patient needs prescription medicine, they can collect it there and then – no time wasted.
LloydsApotek has clearly understood how pharmacies can play a key role in better serving the local community, giving their customers more options to manage their health – options which are flexible, to fit into today’s busy lifestyles. Speed is also a big part, as customer can get almost instant answers and solutions. Routine pharmacy appointments are growing in popularity with customers, and a positive side effect is that they help to relieve the burden on local doctor surgeries.
Forbes reported that 70% of Walgreens customers engage with the US pharmacy chain through mobile. It added that half of digital sales for the company come from mobile, and more than half of its app users interact with the app while in store.
Walgreens may be a business which is well over 100 years old, but it has managed to successfully move into the digital age by allowing its customers to interact with it via the channel they choose in a completely seamless manner.
One of the best examples of how Walgreens is using digital to improve the customer experience is its Refill by Scan app. Using their camera phone, customers scan the barcode printed on their prescription bottle label or prescription receipt to seamlessly order a refill in seconds. If they wish, they can change their store pick-up location as well as the pick-up time and day.
In the UK, Walgreens’ daughter company, Boots, is embracing digital too. It has appointed Disney’s former senior vice president to lead its digital transformation, which includes a seven-year partnership with Microsoft focusing on helping customers better connect with stores and take advantage of virtual care using their digital devices. Through their alliance with Microsoft, Walgreens and Boots plan to develop apps for chronic-disease management and patient engagement, as well as devices for managing chronic conditions.
Walgreens and Boots staff have a reputation for being friendly and helpful. But by using technology, the companies are able to take their customer service to a higher level, and make the buying experience not just pleasant, but also quick, fast and easy.
Kronans Apotek operates over 320 pharmacies across Sweden. Its company vision is to ensure 100% satisfied customers, every day, and its customer club currently has over 2.5 million members.
In recent years, the company has taken concerted steps to understand how to best serve its customers and give them the best possible in-store experience. The management team draws insights from customer feedback and data to understand how and where to prioritize its focus and ensure long-term customer satisfaction.
In 2014, based on customer feedback, Kronans Apotek launched an initiative which had the goal of becoming the nation’s experts in skincare and makeup. Several of the chain’s pharmacies now offer facials and other beauty treatments, as well as skin consultations. Building on this work, the company set up a new store concept called Care&Beauty, which focuses on stocking exclusive skincare and makeup, on top of offering the usual range of pharmacy products.
By tapping into customer data and giving its management meaningful insights, Kronans Apotek is able to anticipate what customers want and deliver a curated product selection, which differentiates it from its competitors and allows it to build a loyal consumer base.
US pharmacy chain CVS Pharmacy has concentrated its efforts on improving its delivery service in a bid to make it easier than ever for its customers to get the medication and personal essentials they need, when and where they need them.
In April 2019, the company confirmed it is offering same-day prescription delivery at 6,000 of its pharmacies across the US, building on its nationwide one to two-day delivery service which it introduced last year.
As soon as the medication has been fulfilled and prepared for shipment, customers can opt to have it delivered to them within hours. They can decide whether they want to use the CVS Pharmacy app, send a text, or call their local pharmacy to take advantage of the same-day service. They can also add thousands of popular health and household items to their order, including cold and flu remedies, vitamins, baby and personal care products.
Today, consumers want faster delivery for online orders, and this is a great example of how a pharmacy is keeping up with demand, helping customers to get hold of prescription drugs which they need to take right away, without having to leave their homes.
If your pharmacy is still stuck in its old ways, this is the right time to innovate. Consumers are more demanding than ever – and pharmacy customers are no exception. In the past few years, we have been working with some of the most innovative names in the industry, including LloydsApotek, Apoteksgruppen, Vitusapotek and Kronans Apotek, to develop pharmacy technology that can help you run your business in a simple and consistent way, while providing seamless experiences to your customers. Do you need help to fast-forward your business? Contact us.