Is a pharmacy website really worth it?
Short answer — yes, yes it is. Overwhelmingly, yes.
I guess you don’t have to read the rest of this article now, but if you want to know why and access free resources for your pharmacy, perhaps stick around.
Each year there are numerous surveys and reports that say the same thing about consumers — they will buy from small businesses that are credible, that meet their needs and are digitally convenient.
Websites are the tool that serve these three consumer needs.
Websites present your pharmacy as a credible business. The content of your website helps consumers match their needs with your business offer.
All of that is conveniently available with your business details (contacts, opening hours etc.) whenever a consumer needs it.
48% of consumers will stop considering a business if it doesn’t have a website. — Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report 2018
So, it’s not about whether it’s worth it or not — the real question is: ‘How do I create a website that serves my consumers’ needs?’. The benefit is bringing consumers instore, the risk is losing 48% of them.
And just another small statistic:
91% of customers have visited a store because of an online engagement. – Google
What must I have?
When looking at digital engagement, many pharmacies take the usual small business approach: What’s the quickest, cheapest option?
Usually this means setting up a poorly run Facebook page that wastes valuable staff time and damages the store’s reputation.
The ‘must-have’ is a responsive website (mobile, tablet and desktop friendly) that represents your pharmacy in a modern way.
If you have a website already, ask someone if they think it is tired and outdated.
Guild Digital offers a free service here via the Pharmacy Digital Readiness Assessment (view via guilddigital.com.au).
If you are part of a banner, all of this is taken care of in terms of a website, but there is more you can do with digital engagement.
Essential steps to take:
- Ensure you have an overarching business plan with goals and a digital strategy to achieve those goals.
- Publish your website with a strong domain.
- Plan, then expand your digital outreach through email, Facebook, Instagram etc.
- Ensure you have trained staff, a budget, and a digital partner who knows your business and consumers.
This will produce a website/digital engagement that looks good, serves a purpose and adds value to your business.
Start with the end in mind …
This is a standard digital journey for a community pharmacy:
- Sign up to the free Pharmacy Click and Collect initiative if you’re a Guild Member [pharmacyclickandcollect.com.au].
- Complete the FREE Pharmacy Digital Readiness Report [guilddigital.com.au].
- Set your business goals.
- Publish your website.
- Collect customer email addresses and begin a monthly e-newsletter.
- Develop a monthly content calendar.
- Begin Social Media operations.
- Develop eCommerce operations.
All of this comes from setting business goals, then using digital engagement as part of your strategy to achieve those goals.
How hard is it?
Digital engagement may seem beyond the grasp of the average community pharmacy team.
Truth is, if you can tell the story of your pharmacy, can list your products and services, and know your trading hours and phone number, you’ve got the basics of a good website.
The rest is reliant on where you want to take the business.
The truly hard part is publishing something that drives customers instore. This is where it’s important to have a digital partner. Your basic options are to:
1) Do it alone using a web-builder like Wix, Weebly or WordPress
a. Pros: nice-looking templates
b. Cons: left to your own devices to publish ‘something’; not a well laid out tool to capture pharmacy consumers
2) Engage a web-agency
a. Pros: can help lighten the load and give a polished outcome
b. Cons: can be pricey and non-pharmacy specific — cafés are different to pharmacies.
What resources are available to me?
The team that has produced the industry-changing Pharmacy Click and Collect initiative is now producing Guild Digital websites.
Guild Digital has resources for Australian Pharmacy, including the recently published ‘Australian Pharmacy Digital Engagement Guide’.
This is a free resource available to Guild Member Pharmacies, available from guilddigital.com.au. Guild Digital will also review your website and provide you with key strengths and weaknesses.
Consumers will be attracted to websites that are responsive, content rich, correctly laid out and relevant to their pharmacy needs.
Partner with a team that provides you with pharmacy-relevant websites, pharmacy content, a support team that can optimise your web presence and help you reach your business goals.
The outcome of this will be greater consumer traffic instore and a better bottom line. Head to guilddigital.com.au for pharmacy-specific information about the best way forward with your pharmacy website.
Aaron D’Souza, General Manager, Guild Digital