The rise of online pharmacies has disrupted the traditional brick-and-mortar model of drug stores. E-pharmacies have made it possible for customers to purchase medicines from the comfort of their homes, with the added convenience of home delivery. This has led to a rapid growth in the online pharmaceutical market like the introduction of pharmacy smart lockers.
After the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, driving consumers to seek online alternatives, the question arises: is it time for traditional pharmacy stores to adopt online medicine delivery models? Let’s explore the advantages and challenges of online medicine delivery and discuss whether it is a viable option for brick-and-mortar drug stores to remain competitive in this digital age.
When it comes to purchasing medical supplies, the average customer seeks a personalized and private experience. This is where online medical stores have flourished as they provide a more tailored customer experience. While technology plays an important role, e-pharmacies have revolutionized inventory and logistics by leveraging economies of scale in shipping and warehousing. This has allowed them to focus on improving other aspects of customer experience like direct communication, home delivery, fair pricing, and availability of generic medicines. The online shopping experience and cost control capabilities of e-stores have helped them secure a larger share of the pharmaceutical retail market.
However, despite these advantages, some consumers still prefer to buy medicines from local stores that they trust. Local stores may not have the same advantages in terms of cost control and logistics, but they excel in last mile fulfillment that e-stores have not been able to match. If local medical retail chains can improve their customer service and overcome the visible shortcomings of last-mile fulfillment, they could potentially limit the growth of online medical stores to urban metros and Tier-1 cities.
Are Traditional Drugstores Losing their Edge to Online Medicine Delivery Models?
While some customers still prefer to physically visit drugstores, studies show that over 60% of users have started ordering their medicines online. The driving force behind this shift? Optimized service delivery that caters to emergency needs and accessibility. But traditional drugstores are lacking in offering such customer-centric experiences, which may lead to loss of business.
Furthermore, customers expect more than just a basic over-the-counter experience from their visits to medical stores. Automated experiences in stores are known to increase the likelihood of repeat visits and consolidate periodic purchases to the same store. Yet, most conventional pharmacy retail franchises limit their automation efforts to billing and inventory scheduling, overlooking areas like queue management, faster checkout, easy returns, or adopting pharmacy smart lockers.
So, what’s the solution?
Self-service medicine delivery lockers or smart pharmacy lockers could be a game-changer for pharmacy retail businesses.
Following numbers showcase the overall picture of customer needs in medical stores:
- Over 24% of customers visit multiple stores to get all their medical supplies.
- 74% of pharmacy customers prefer delivery choices regarding date, time, and venue.
- 15% of prescriptions require personalized adjustments based on customer height and weight.
- 66% of retail store customers face lengthy return processes.
- 60% of customers have yet to experience home delivery of medicines despite the global demand.
It’s clear that the traditional model of brick-and-mortar drugstores needs to evolve to keep up with the changing needs and expectations of customers. By embracing pharmacy smart lockers and other customer-centric innovations, pharmacy retail businesses can meet the demands of the modern era and stay ahead of the curve.
Opportunities in Online Medical Delivery Model
As the trend towards e-pharmacy delivery grows, customers are still looking for convenience and accessibility when it comes to purchasing their medical supplies. Location (46%) and convenient accessibility hours (32%) are still important factors for customers, often outweighing discount programs offered by online medicine stores. Despite this, traditional retail medicine stores are facing competition from online giants.
One challenge for retail stores with slow-moving inventories is the difficulty in upgrading them with medical supplies that require more intensive storage and technology for delivery. This can create a gap between same-day and same-hour delivery options, leading customers to seek out online stores for their medical needs. Smart storage solutions, such as smart lockers for pharmacy, can help bridge this gap and enable drugstores to deliver critical medical supplies without compromising their quality.
Another opportunity for brick-and-mortar medical stores is cash in transit. E-pharmacies often face delays in realizing their daily and weekly revenues due to cash handling processes between their 3PL logistics partners and banks. Pharmacy smart lockers can enhance the medicine security and commit to faster revenue cycles for medicine delivery of retail medicine stores. This can also help minimize credit risks and reduce external financing requirements in the long term.
By taking advantage of these opportunities, traditional retail medicine stores can compete with online giants and meet the changing needs of customers in the e-pharmacy space.
Benefits of Pharmacy Smart Lockers for Online Medicine Delivery Model
Smart pharmacy lockers are essential parts of online medicine delivery model that offer many benefits to both customers and businesses alike. These lockers provide a secure and convenient way to store and deliver critical medical supplies, reducing the risk of theft or damage during transit.
Here are some of the key benefits of using smart electronic lockers for online medicine delivery:
- Fast and efficient delivery: With smart lockers for medicine storage, patients and their close ones can receive their orders quickly and efficiently. These lockers can be strategically placed in hospitals, clinics, or residential areas, allowing customers to pick up their orders at their convenience. This eliminates the need for customers to wait for delivery trucks or visit physical stores saving them time and effort.
- 24/7 accessibility: Pharmacy smart lockers provide round-the-clock accessibility, making it easier for customers to receive their orders whenever they need them. This is particularly useful for customers who require emergency medication outside of regular business hours or have mobility issues that prevent them from physically visiting a store.
- Contactless delivery: Smart medical lockers offer a contactless delivery option, reducing the risk of exposure to viruses or other illnesses. Customers can retrieve their orders without coming into contact with delivery personnel ensuring safety and peace of mind.
- Improved inventory management: Medication lockers provide businesses with better inventory management capabilities allowing them to track and monitor their supplies in real-time. This enables them to restock their medicine more efficiently ensuring that customers always have access to the medications they need.
- Cost-effective solution: Smart electronic lockers are a cost-effective solution for businesses, reducing the need for delivery personnel and lowering the cost of last-mile delivery. This translates to cost savings for both businesses and customers, making online medicine delivery more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Secure pharmacy smart lockers offer numerous benefits to customers and businesses in the online medicine delivery space while improving the patient experience as well. They provide a fast, convenient, and secure way to deliver critical medical supplies, improving customer satisfaction and reducing operational costs for businesses.
Online medicine delivery has revolutionized the way people purchase medicines. With the convenience and flexibility that it offers, more and more customers are switching to this delivery model. However, it is not without its challenges. The need for temperature-controlled storage and secure delivery mechanisms, as well as concerns about data privacy and cyber threats, are some of the key challenges that need to be addressed.
For traditional drug stores, the adoption of online medicine delivery can be a viable option to remain competitive in the digital age. By investing in automated lockers and other technology-driven solutions, they can enhance their service delivery, improve customer satisfaction, and drive sales. However, it is important for them to strike the right balance between online and offline operations, and to prioritize the needs and preferences of their customers.
Ultimately, the success of online medicine delivery and its impact on brick-and-mortar drug stores will depend on various factors such as the regulatory environment, technological advancements, and customer behavior. As the industry continues to evolve, it is important for all stakeholders to keep pace with the changing landscape and embrace innovation to stay relevant and competitive.
To learn more about the growing popularity of e-pharmacies and how pharmacy smart lockers are changing the face of the pharmaceutical retail market, keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs.
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