We live in an age of predictions. From who’ll play in the Super Bowl next year, (Go Hawks!!), to the next big technology trend, and all the way to which companies will be obsolete 5 or 10 years from now. Predictions are certainly something to pay attention to. It’s important to know what the experts think lies ahead so you can be prepared for it. But sometimes we get too tied up in what’s coming next and forget that predictions are something that MIGHT happen in the future. Not something guaranteed to happen. It’s just as important to pay attention to what didn’t happen and adapt accordingly. If you don’t, your business will fall woefully behind.
If you’re skeptical, check out this article on 7 Tech Predictions That Totally Missed the Mark. Think about what would happen if you had bought into these theories and never adjusted your course. The good news is we can certainly learn from these ill-fated predictions to help drive your pharmacy business in the right direction.
The collapse of the internet – In 1995 Robert Metcalf predicted that the internet would “catastrophically collapse” in 1996. Around the same time Clifford Stoll posed the idea that the internet couldn’t be successful because people wouldn’t shop online. Today these concepts are laughable. The internet is a part of our daily lives. Not only do you have to utilize it to attract and serve your pharmacy customers, you have to compete with online businesses. You have to make it easy for people to find your business online and even easier for customers to make purchases. That’s why services like home delivery and curbside pickup are so very important in today’s market.
The end of SPAM – We all wanted to believe Bill Gates in 2004 when he said that, “Two Years from now, spam will be solved”. It would be really nice if we didn’t have to have that irritating little folder in our inboxes that always seems to be full. Or if we didn’t miss important emails because our SPAM filter flagged them as suspicious. But why does this matter? Well, if you send any sort of email communication, and you should, you need to be aware that SPAM is a very real problem and can lead to your emails being ignored or just plain lost. You have to make sure that your messages are relevant and timely, and that you aren’t abusing your email recipients. This post from Seth Godin is a great way to think about how and why to email your customers.
iPhone? What iPhone? – Whether or not you’re an Apple fan, having an iPhone is now as common place as owning a personal computer despite predictions that Apple would never release a phone, and then when they did, that it wouldn’t gain any significant market share. Now there are smart phones aplenty and pretty much everyone has one (over 80% some reports say!). This matters for a couple of important reasons. First, your website should be optimized for viewing from a mobile device. Check it out and see how it looks from your smart phone. Can patients easily access key features and find the basic information for your store? (Address, phone number, store hours?) Second, it means that most patients should be really comfortable with mobile technology, so using mobile technology in a retail setting at the point-of-sale is just the next evolutionary step.
The failures of these predictions remind us that things can change drastically in a pretty short amount of time. The direction we think something will go in may have changed course by tomorrow. It’s important to stay flexible and always be looking at what changes in technology can do to make the business of pharmacy easier, more profitable and more successful.