The booming topic of conversation lately has been the competitive advantage that non-traditional pharmacies (big-box retailers and grocery stores, for instance) have over traditional chain pharmacies. I have always wanted to peel back the layers of the pharmacy industry and determine what exactly differentiates the consumer experience with these two types of drugstore retailers. And now appears to be the perfect opportunity.
We recently launched our annual Pharmacy Benchmark study to our InMoment panelists, and more than 6,000 North Americans shared their thoughts about recent experiences with various drugstore retailers. Our study allowed consumers to openly voice their opinions, which helped us to surface some precise strengths that non-traditional pharmacies enjoy over traditional chain pharmacies.
By looking at key attributes that our identified pharmacy industry leaders are executing at high levels, I was able to draft a “recipe for success” for pharmacy industry leaders.
Recipe for Success for Pharmacy Industry Leaders
Mix your pharmacy with quality products that consumers demand
Non-traditional pharmacies can offer lower prices because they compete on a mass level, hence the name “big-box.” Despite low prices, consumers are interested in the products offered at these locations because of their known quality.
In order to compete on the level of the top industry leaders, it is important to highlight quality products that are in high demand for consumers. Limited-time promotions and deals that may even incorporate a consumer’s loyalty card generate the most success in these circumstances.
Season your pharmacy with well-trained, genuine staff
Aside from convenience, one of the top reasons consumers were drawn to a particular drugstore was for the experience provided. Experiences help to drive loyalty, and, in our study, it was the staff who specifically drove consumers to have an exceptional experience.We asked consumers to rank various staff members based on availability, friendliness, expertise, and attentiveness. For the top industry leaders, consumers gave high acknowledgement to the pharmacist and pharmacy staff. The major differences between top and bottom competitors were focused around wait times and expertise level.
Friendliness of staff members proved to be an expectation, a minimum requirement. It takes a lot more for consumers to confide in a pharmacy as their primary prescription provider. This is why I say it is crucial that pharmacy staff and pharmacists are educating the consumer as much as possible about their prescription(s) and quoting accurate wait times.
Tips to Improve Wait Time and Staff Expertise
- Increase staff count during peak hours
- Encourage consumers to use time-saving ordering methods (call-ahead, online/apps etc.)
- Train staff on ways to effectively communicate with customers
Add a dash of a personalized experience
The nature of consumer feedback has moved toward being more positive than ever before. Our recent CX Trends report highlights this concept, and it was shown to be important for pharmacy leaders looking to provide a personalized experience.Personalization means much more than knowing someone’s name, and that’s where the consumer’s voice is so important. Let them be heard! Offer them the ability to talk about the experience, provided there is a solid foundation to handle the influx of comments.
Whether it is face-to-face or through social media, attentiveness is a quality that consumers who gave the highest rankings to industry leaders monitored closely. Consumers’ voices are empowered in today’s market, and if optimizing these interactions is set as a high priority, consumers will appreciate the extra mile their pharmacy is willing to take for their business.