E-Commerce In The Pharmacy Industry
Whilst traditionally pharmacies have been centered around an in-store experience, as many industries make the move over to e-commerce some pharmacy chains are following suit. E-commerce presents several benefits for businesses including reduced overheads, broader reach, and the potential to generate more revenue. So how exactly is the pharmacy industry adapting to this new channel?
There is no doubt that the ways consumers choose to engage and purchase with brands has evolved, and more than ever consumers are looking online for products and services. Whilst the intricacies of providing services such as refills on prescription medication via an e-commerce platform have not yet been ironed out, the approach is highly successful for the sale of retail items such as personal care and beauty products.
Whilst some major brands are offering an end-to-end delivery service through their website, others are easing into digital world with the use of click-and-collect schemes with their customers. This method satisfies consumers desires to browse for products online, and even add them to cart, without requiring the pharmacy business to establish the infrastructure required for delivery.
During the current health crisis, pharmacies have seen a significant uptake in patronage from their local communities as consumers seek out hygiene products such as masks, sanitiser, and hand soap. However, with restrictions in place and a more conservative approach to public outings, many people are opting to buy products online where they can to avoid unnecessary crowds.
As a result, pharmacy businesses which have chosen to proceed with some form of e-commerce strategy will likely become the first choice among consumers. The option to purchase products via contact-free delivery, or even minimise time in store by utilising click-and-collect services is very appealing in the current landscape.
In the long-term, we can expect to see more pharmacy bases businesses moving into the e-commerce space in order to continue to meet the needs of their customer base. Even though many industries have already made the leap, it is not surprising that pharmacy is one of the last to integrate digital selling into their business model.
Pharmacies have been a staple of the community for a long time, and many customers value the ability to walk in and talk to a healthcare professional and receive advice. This is especially true for small local pharmacies, and as such they should consider how they can still offer this level of service via their online platform. Allowing customers to access a chat now function, or keeping a regular blog addressing frequently asked queries can ensure that the pharmacies maintain their connection to their local community whilst launching a digital presence.
No matter what approach suits the business best, making the shift into the world of e-commerce will help broaden the reach of pharmacy businesses and make health related products more accessible.