As retail and drugstore customers evolve

It’s important to keep in mind that drugstore customers are customers above all. And as with every customer today, their needs and expectations changes.

Few years ago, patients expected a real accompagnement from the pharmacist, as a professional of his domain. Now, when they come to a drugstore, they’ve most likely already researched their symptoms on internet.

According to a 2015 research study conducted by Harris Interactive, 40% of French people research their symptoms online and we can suppose that this figure has since increased. They already look for advices, suggestions from other people with the same needs, and they have an idea of what they should buy.

Today’s customers don’t want to wait or even move to have something., They are constantly connected and have grown accustomed to personalized offers.

It may seem basic, but within the pharmaceutical Industry, customer expectations are not yet at the center of concerns and there is a lot to do.

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Digitalization is an essential lever

In order to catch up with this new age customer, pharmacies must first seek inspiration from the marketing process, and digitalization is an essential way to improve the customer buying journey.

First of all, having a website is no longer a means of differentiation but a basic need, and pharmacies are really late on this point. Only 529 pharmacies have an webshop to sell products. The main reason is the reglementation of pharmaceutical products and the difficulties of controlling the selling of products which need a medical prescription.

In store, there are many ways to include digital support.

Installation of video screens in the window to propose an interactive visual promotion, touch screens at many touchpoints to inform customers about products, availability or even advices or robots to guide customers. Of course, they merchandising strategy plays a main role and digital support can help.

The goal is to propose something more intuitive and visually attractive in order to transform conventional pharmaceutical shopping into a real customer experience.

Pharmacist have a new mission

In this context, pharmacist have to adapt the way they work. They are not longer a seller nor an advisor.

79% of pharmacists say they are ready to use tablets when they serve a patient (Medappcare, 2018), that’s living proof of a desire to digitize their industry.

But no all the pharmacists share this idead, some of them have fears. During their studies,  they are not trained to use digital tools, to manage social media practices or to use a webshop and all that goes with. And sometimes, they even dread having to hire employees for these types of missions and spend money for something they consider to be a waste of time.

To resolve their dilemma and to help them to organize their work, they are expecting a simple tool which gathers all thoses  missions and which they can simply use. Thanks to this type of tool, they will be able to combine their missions they have as a pharmacist, and be able to manage other missions.

As we can see, the pharmaceutical Industry has not digitally transformed just yet and it will take time to reassure this sector’s actors, and to re organize pharmacies. But slowly, digitalization of this industry is democratizing and legislations are changing to help them on this way.

And in the long run, there is hope to move forward in this direction, in the interest of both customers and pharmaceutical actors.

Subscribe to the Weekly Newsletter