Online Shopping doesn’t Have to be a Huge Threat to Your Pharmacy

rms-pharmacy-pos-online-shopping.jpgFor retail businesses, it seems that the battle to stay relevant is constant.  For pharmacies, the needs of consumers are always evolving, and their options for obtaining the products that your independent pharmacy carries are seemingly endless.  To say that trying to compete in today’s market is overwhelming is a gross understatement.  Especially when your competition includes online retailers that take the idea of convenience to a whole new level.   

But luckily, e-Commerce is not the holy grail of shopping to a majority of consumers.  A 2015 study found that most consumers (85%) prefer brick and mortar shopping over online shopping.  That same study also highlighted some key reasons for this preference that retail pharmacies need to keep in mind.  

Let’s take a look at some of these statistics and how you can use them to elevate your pharmacy to the next level. 

Customers don’t like to wait – Of those that participated in the study, 36% said that they don’t like waiting for items to ship when they order them online.  The immediacy of shopping in person obviously alleviates this concern.  But there’s more to driving a customer to your store than just being there.  Wait times should be short.  Forcing a customer to wait in a long checkout line will only frustrate them and they’ll be likely to take their business elsewhere.  You need to be properly staffed and have enough checkout lanes to handle the volume of customers you serve.  You also need to ensure that product is in stock so that customers can get what they came for when the come to shop.  Use reports generated by your POS system to monitor transaction volume and take advantage of features like min/max and replenishment ordering and simple EDI ordering to ensure that your shelves are never empty.   

Advice is important – Another important statistic is that 30% of respondents noted that they shop in person over online because they like to get advice from store staff.  Additionally, getting help and advice in store from one of your pharmacy staff members can make it significantly more likely that a customer will make a purchase. Here are some tips on making recommendations in your pharmacy 

Personal is better – To quote the article, “The report concluded that retailers that create high-value, personalized interactions will provide a more satisfying experience for customers. Specifically, in order for retailers to survive and retain market share, they must understand customer wants and needs and then use modern technology in-stores to empower their store associate”.  For Pharmacies, a great way to accomplish this is with point-of-sale technology.  Whether you’re removing the barrier of the front counter by utilizing mobile technology or providing better patient care by leveraging the power of advanced interfaces (like the interface RMS recently announced with Ortho Molecular Products), pharmacy point-of-sale is the key to keeping your pharmacy relevant and competitive.   

Don’t forget the other 15% – There are still customers who prefer and even need the convenience of not leaving their homes, especially for filling prescriptions.  If you leverage mail order services to capture this business, you can use the convenience of securely storing customer credit card information to charge to when shipping prescriptions and other items.   

You’ll never be done adapting to the changing needs of your pharmacy customers, but with the right partners in pharmacy technology, you don’t have to make those changes without helpful support.