Catching Up – Embracing Digital Transformation
The challenges of the high street are well documented but they are all the more evident in the face of the current global pandemic. That said, some high street ever-presents become even more important, and can even see growth, when times get tough.
For example local butchers have been doing a roaring trade over the last six months as consumers shun the large supermarkets and shopping centres in favour of the quieter, more intimate surroundings of a trusted local retailer.
Likewise, pharmacies are continuing to thrive and have become a critical source of trusted information, as well as a supplier of over-the-counter and prescription medicines. With fewer people venturing out, there’s an increasing need for pharmacies to ensure their online proposition provides consumers with a consistent experience.
Healthcare in general is thought to be around a decade behind the digital curve. So Clydewire is delving into the market to highlight how a well planned approach to digital transformation can help pharmacies maintain the trust of their customers while driving growth.
Among the first things to consider is: why is healthcare behind the eight ball?
There are of course a multitude of reasons, but regulation updates and amendments, government funding cuts, an aging population and the need to focus on day to day dispensing activity have all had an impact.
That said, patient behaviour should always be the primary driver behind digital transformation. And, despite an aging population, there’s lots of evidence to support the view that patients are becoming more digitally sophisticated and trust online innovations. For example, just in the two months between February and April 2020, the number of prescriptions delivered digitally increased by a massive 11.5%.
What’s been done so far?
Digital prescriptions were launched in Scotland in 2009 – the first country in the UK to do so – and they have created significant efficiencies for prescribers and pharmacies alike. But digital can do so much more than just improve process, and it is clear that there’s still significant capacity for the growing number of online pharmacy businesses to leverage the full range of benefits digital transformation can create.
Here are just a few reasons why pharmacies should commit to a more digital approach:
- It improves visibility in a crowded marketplace
- Make time savings and associated efficiencies
- 24/7 access for customers
- Sell popular over the counter medical supplies online
- Improved communication and opportunities to engage with customer base and prospective market
- Cost efficient and highly targeted marketing opportunities
- Measure success of marketing activity and adjust strategies accordingly
These are compelling reasons to invest in digital transformation and there’s evidence to suggest that some of the larger multiples are investing heavily in their digital propositions. For example, according to Salience’s recent study, the market’s online visibility is rising at real pace with year on year increases of around 60% and the top brands are seeing even larger increases with some closer to 300%! Boots, unsurprisingly, comes out on top, but some of the newer players in the market are also seeing triple digit growth. The same Salience study shows that Boots is becoming incredibly effective on social media too with easily the biggest reach in the market.
Boots is clearly a massive brand with the budget and human resources to match. So what can smaller, local pharmacy brands do to ensure they get a slice of the online action?
First, it’s clearly not just about having a website. A coherent approach that combines the following elements is a good place to start:
- A well designed website with customer focussed functionality and an outstanding user experience
- Exceptional hosting infrastructure to maximise site reliability
- Access to expert, 24/7 support
- Intelligent marketing strategies designed to increase awareness and reach while generating high quality leads
Now is the time for companies to get their digital transformation underway and make sure they are ready to capitalise on Ecommerce opportunities, while also making strong efforts to gain and maintain trust from customers. At Clydewire we work with clients to help them achieve their goals by leveraging our in house commercial expertise and ability to build bespoke solutions. Contact us at 0141 308 1029 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.