Customers expect more than the tried-and-true methods used in the past to entice them to spend money.
What works today may not work tomorrow as technology continues to evolve. In order to compete, independent pharmacists must be ready to embrace change. Online shopping is nothing new, but people are doing it more often than ever before—with 58.4% of internet users reporting that they make at least 1 online purchase every week.1
The pandemic has dramatically shifted what people use the internet to shop for, with groceries seeing a particularly large increase. This is true in pharmacy too, with many wanting to have prescriptions delivered to their homes or order refills and OTC drugs but then pick the purchases up in-store.
“We know how important innovation is right now because the world is changing at a rapid pace,” said Tricia Simpson, Vice President of Pharmaceutical Distribution Marketing, eCommerce and Transformation at Cardinal Health. “An independent pharmacy can focus on driving future success by taking one or two steps toward innovation. This could be adding a relevant solution or creating e-commerce capabilities for prescription refills and OTC products.”
Harnessing the power of e-commerce takes just 3 steps for the independent pharmacist:
Keeping the personal touch. With 62% of online customers saying that they make purchases based on previous customer service interactions,2 ensuring that customers have the chance for face-to-face interactions can lead to customer satisfaction and returning customers. This personal touch is what makes independent pharmacy so important to the community.
Developing and maintaining a presence on social media. It can seem like a full-time job, but those posts on Facebook and Instagram are a free way to get a pharmacy’s name out there as well as provide customers a way to contact the pharmacy at any time.
Using in-store/online promotions. Everyone loves a deal, and independent pharmacists can provide them.
At the end of the day, independent pharmacy customers want what has always been the secret to the success of independent pharmacy: an incomparable customer experience. Today, they want that experience in the form of on-demand services and the latest in technology.
The Cardinal Health™ Pharmacy Marketing Advantage PLUS or PMA PLUS digital solution is one way for pharmacies to marry the old with the new. The platform offers an easy way for customers to order prescriptions and OTC products using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. It also offers pharmacies thousands of products for either customer delivery or in-store pickup.
“Historically, many independent pharmacies have been limited in shelf space due to the size of the store,” said Simpson. “Now, with PMA PLUS, independent pharmacists have access to both a customized e-commerce website and an inventory of thousands of products that don’t need to be stocked in store. When a customer orders products through the e-commerce site, Cardinal Health ships them to the pharmacy for either in-store pick up or delivery to the customer’s home.”
Pharmacists who use PMA PLUS get a customized, mobile-responsive website; search engine optimization services to ensure that their pharmacy is well-placed in search results; a mobile app with prescription refill and marketing capabilities; the ability to send a weekly newsletter to patients; and a data-driven analytics dashboard.
PMA PLUS worked for John “JJ” Bernabei, RPh, CEO of Tri-State Medical Group Pharmacies, including three Medicine Shoppe stores. “We’ve been around the block with our website and mobile apps, but we needed somebody who knew best practices and could do it for us,” said Bernabei. “With PMA PLUS, Cardinal Health not only does the work for us, but it’s individualized for each of our stores. Now that our patients have a selection of products to choose from through our e-commerce site, they spend more money on OTC items that they can get from us. We make money, and we continue to build our relationship with them. We’re providing them with their prescriptions, and we’re also providing them with everything they need for their daily living when it comes to their health.”