Bricks and clicks - a winning future formula
Bricks and mortar pharmacies have tirelessly gone above and beyond to serve local communities throughout the pandemic. While distance-selling pharmacies have seen a healthy growth in online prescription volumes, community pharmacy has remained at the forefront of everyday healthcare.
Covid-19 has certainly sparked a new era for pharmacy, but not one solely reliant on online. Community pharmacies have demonstrated commendable adaptability to meet the changing needs of customers and used bricks and mortar to their advantage to welcome customers through their doors.
Running a community pharmacy during a global health pandemic has certainly reinforced the need for agility and convenience. Reliance on doors staying open, increased demand for home deliveries and quick access to face-to-face advice has been the mainstay of local communities seeking everyday healthcare support. Changing patient needs have paved the way to offer customers the best of both worlds moving forward: digital convenience with access to face-to-face professional advice and support.
The very fabric of community pharmacy is rooted in never breaking the line between patient and a local healthcare professional. Retaining that essential line of communication between patient and pharmacist is a winning combination and should be celebrated and maximised as a leading competitive edge against DSPs. The warm welcome of a pharmacy team enables human connection to shine through alongside digital ease and convenience. Bricks and clicks should not be mutually exclusive; with the right investment and support, community pharmacy can do both very well.
The friendly human connection that expert health professionals bring is testament to the success of community pharmacy to date and a core attribute for future growth. Bricks and mortar pharmacies should not be side-lined but supported and equipped to digitise as much as possible.
More than half of Numark members fear the future impact of DSPs on community pharmacy with changes in digital and personal service acknowledged as being most important to help minimise threat and maximise customer retention. But local pharmacies are crying out for more support to help them make those changes and bolster their status as a critical third pillar of the NHS.
Our acquisition of the Co-op Health digital platform, rebranded Hey Pharmacist, will bring much needed support to its members. This is an incredibly exciting chapter for the future of community pharmacy with a winning formula of bricks and clicks at its core. The key to online growth is not just about increasing prescription volumes but rather how pharmacy teams best engage online audiences to drive them to visit the physical pharmacy. Afterall, wrap-around healthcare from a professional, offers far more than just receiving a prescription through the letterbox.
Further business acquisitions, NHS service commissions and a fairer, more sustainable funding model will only help strengthen community pharmacy’s capability to better compete in the online space. Convenience is no doubt a key advantage of online, but community pharmacy is a convenient local amenity. With access to digital propositions and services, bricks and mortar pharmacies are a powerful collective who together help champion ‘accessible’ everyday health.
We intend to invest heavily on your behalf to develop and launch both local and national marketing campaign that will push patients to you, but we need your support. We’re raising an army of members to get behind Hey Pharmacist, to support our ambitions to be the most visible pharmacy service in the UK. In turn, we ask that you support future investment as part of our relationship with PHOENIX, not only with Hey but through our wider propositions such as Golden Tote to ensure you are in a position of strength as we continue our expansion long into the future.
Only through your loyalty and support can we continue to fund the development of future propositions designed to secure your future. Together we will embark on a new era for pharmacy, future growth lies in these valuable propositions and services that help improve access to healthcare professionals rather than replace them.