In the new, omni-channel world, pharmacies, like other retailers, are looking into new ways to offer their customers seamless shopping experiences, irrespective of channel. In specific, pharmacies are putting much effort into finding effective ways to reconnect and integrate the physical (brick and mortar stores) and the digital world (website and loyalty app, accessed on desktops and smart devices), offering customers new means to interact with the brand.
The modern consumer
Modern consumers are very informed and empowered, and their relationship with retailers is very different from what it was just a few short years ago. Today, people select products and services based on not only on traditional advertisements, but also on interactions with friends and trendsetters, as well as personalized marketing. They know where to find information and are aware of the different options and products in the market. To attract and retain the business of today’s consumers, you must delight them when they visit your locations, and offer a convenient and consistent experience throughout your touchpoints.
A better shopping experienceTraditionally, customers visit a pharmacy for three main reasons:
- To pick up prescriptions that can only be picked up in a drugstore. The pharmacy industry is a heavily regulated one that is undergoing changes as paper-based prescriptions are being replaced by e-prescriptions.
- To explore and buy various health and beauty related products. This applies to over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, supplements, cosmetics and various other products. This market is less regulated, and highly competitive.
- For various health related services and consulting,g. blood pressure monitoring.
Point number one, picking up a prescription, is a common reason to visit a pharmacy - and a pain point for many customers. Before a customer can purchase prescription items, the prescriptions need to be reviewed, labelled and approved by a pharmacist. This is a process that takes, at best, a few minutes. Therefore, it would be convenient for customers to be able to order prescriptions for pick up before entering the pharmacy’s doors. A good online solution (either web-based or a mobile app) that enables customers to order prescriptions beforehand can be a simple and cost-effective way to provide a better in-store shopping experience, as it enables customers to go to the pharmacy at their convenience, once the items are ready. Some pharmacies even have a specific queue for their click & collect customers, to ensure speedy transaction and further improve the shopping experience. Successful pharmacies have managed to bring the user’s in-store experience into their app or website. This means that the customer not only can select a prescription for pick up in the pharmacy; he or she can also browse the product catalog, and see pictures of the products, with detailed information on features and attributes. Customers can then order these items online or shop in their local pharmacy, for example when collecting their pre-ordered prescriptions.
A good pharmacy solution helps keep customers loyal by giving them reasons to come back. One example is refill of prescriptions. Take, for example, a customer who needs a monthly refill of a certain drug. If the pharmacy is using an advanced software system, the customer can subscribe to a refill in his local pharmacy. He will then get a reminder a few days before the refill is ready. Pickup can then occur either in the pharmacy or via home delivery. Another example is personalized marketing. Good management systems will enable you to use the specific customer’s purchasing history to send her relevant deals and promotions, delivered straight to the customer’s mobile device through the mobile app. Coupons (in physical or digital format) offering discounts based on previous purchases (for example, a free item every Nth purchase) are also a good way to reward loyal customers. By tailoring the offers based on personal preferences and past purchases, you can give customers a very valid reason to keep returning to your establishment.
Empowering employeesOne of the most important things any retailer can do to retain customers is to provide good customer service. Today, customers are used to being able to get a wealth of information, as well as personalized ads and recommendations, online. When they enter a store’s doors, they expect staff to be as knowledgeable and quick to access information as websites and social networks. A good pharmacy IT solution needs to empower employees, providing them with hassle-free access to information:
- Staff (or at least staff members with the clearance to do so!) must be able to access up-to-date drug and medical information, as well as product details, such as nutritional information for dietary supplements, features and ingredients of cosmetics, etc.
- Current marketing activities, such as active promotions and initiatives for loyal customers, should also be available to consult in a digital format within the pharmacy, for example on tablets and on the POS terminals.
- Employees also need access to relevant customer information (as allowed by local regulations) to be able to personalize their interactions, and provide relevant product recommendations.
To satisfy modern consumers across the channels, it is fundamental that pharmacies implement technology that supports their goals, and responds to customer demands. Download our e-book “7 important topics to consider when selecting pharmacy software” to get more information on the features the ideal pharmacy software should have, and don’t hesitate to contact us to get more information on LS Pharmacy, our software solution designed to help pharmacy chains provide excellent shopping experiences across the channels.