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Covid Interruptus or Covid Disruptus?

Shopfront Solutions

In 2020 did your Pharmacy or Product/Service business

  1. go into lockdown hibernation
  2. change a few systems and processes but keep business pretty much as usual
  3. take the opportunity to make quantum change in your business or service model?

How you answer these questions could determine whether your business will still be sustainable in 12-months’ time.  That’s right, the time between now and December 2021 could be all it takes to impact your financials as the global pandemic continues to significantly accelerate change of Dr visits, Pharmacy and consumer shopping patterns. 

Those businesses that have changed significantly versus any business sitting back and expecting things will return to some normality will begin to show clearly by the September Financial quarter (if not sooner), at which time depending on which category you fall into,  you could be making further positive tweaks to your new model or be starting to have discussions with your business advisor???

In recent episodes of Pharmacy View Technology in Pharmacy podcast series I had the opportunity to talk with Pharmacists and several key industry executives and not one of these people were expecting anything but significant change within the Pharmacy industry starting with telehealth appointments, e-scripts, click & collect and/or click & deliver services.

Many Pharmacies have had to install new ecommerce platforms or significantly beef up existing platforms to cater for increased online expectations as a starting point.  If you think customers are generally impatient when waiting for scripts in your Pharmacy, wait til you see what happens when a customer who has used your online portal doesn’t receive a quick response to their online interaction.

If you’ve embraced the change to online click & collect or click & delivery service, have you also appointed an online service champion who’s only priority is communicating with online shoppers and being concerned with how quickly an online transaction is completed and out for delivery?

I’ll use the Uber Eats model as an example of consumer expectation where I can search a menu, place an order for food and pay for it all within seconds/minutes. The next step is me watching when my order is picked up and is on its way, then clearly knowing how long it will be before I am enjoying the taste of the selected food.  While I’m not saying this is the level of delivery you must be providing today, if your Pharmacy online portal isn’t heading in that direction very quickly, then rest assured there are other Pharmacy businesses already doing this and many well on the way.

My expectation also is this rapid change to consumer socially distanced interaction will also see changes to the layout and ranging of your retail offer.  More concise ranges will begin to come into play, if they haven’t already happened as a result of stock supply shortages.  Many suppliers are focusing their lockdown production resources on just delivery of core product, limiting the number of promotional and new products. If you’re a Pharmacy business within a group or banner who provide strict planogram layouts, my expectation is that you may be continually tweaking these as product supply waxes and wanes. Importantly here would be to talk with your wholesaler or group BDM to ensure that you are never seen to be significantly out of stock, even if this means making temporary changes to planograms to spread ‘in stock’ items across ‘out of stock’ empty spaces.

Which brings me to the next evolution of retail technology for consideration being the move to ESL tags.  Several major retailers including within the Pharmacy space are currently trialing electronic shelf price labels as a way to introduce next level shelf-based communications and marketing.  The latest iteration of these labels includes lithium battery power with a 7 – 10-year life expectation removing the requirement to provide power to every wall and gondola unit.  If you’d like further information on our digital marketing and communications platform for Pharmacy, simply click on this link Shopfront Solutions to see our service offer and submit an enquiry form where one of our tech experts will gladly follow up. 

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