By Gerry Spitzner
In-store technology is helping pharmacy retailers drive sales and improve the customer experience
It’s often hard these days to keep up with the speed at which technologies are developed. In fact, it can be down right mind-boggling. And for smaller, independent retailers with fewer resources to draw from than their larger competitors, understanding which technological solutions to invest in can be daunting.
Pharmacy retailers are seeking out any advantages in a time of unprecedented competition. In-store technologies that help create a more engaging and positive customer experience with convenience and speed is not only essential but expected.
- Make sure your router is up to date. Watch out. Speed matters; the world is not only moving fast, it is accelerating. Routers are now required to work harder. With smartphones, tablet computers, Internet-enabled store equipment, and more all competing for the same Internet connection, the router must work harder than ever before. If you’re not getting the Internet speed you expect, it could be due to your wireless router. So, even if you upgrade your Internet plan to a higher speed tier, you might not enjoy a faster Internet connection until you update your wireless router. And make sure the router has the latest firmware installed.
- The power of context. It’s no longer only about the screen, device, platform, or the physical store. Does your business’s mobile experience match where it’s being used? I.e. on the bus, watching TV, at the coffee shop or in your store? A tiny version of your website on a mobile device screen that is unreadable is totally unacceptable. Make sure your online marketing activities and website adapts to the size of screen that it’s being viewed on. Because responsive web design is mobile-friendly, it helps increase visibility on search engines, which in turn can mean more visitors to your website. More traffic results in better lead generation, added conversions and increased sales—three big reasons why you need a responsive web design.
- Get your Google in order. The increased visibility that Google has placed around Google Local listing results on mobile has meant that Google My Business is essential for local SEO. It’s free to set up and will enable you to appear in local search results for enquiries specific to your products or services. Keep your business listing’s information up-to-date and change your address, hours, contact info, and photos to help potential customers find you and learn more about your business. Encourage customers to leave reviews about your business which can help your search ranking. If you haven’t already, add or claim your business, then verify your business listing so it’s eligible to appear on Maps, Search, and other Google services.
- Use free Google research services. Uncover the latest marketing research and digital trends with data reports and articles from Think with Google. Use Diagnostic Tools & Industry Benchmarks to measure your brand’s site and campaign performance and get tips on improving key metrics. Use Culture & Trends to find out what your potential customers are engaging with and searching for. See what’s trending in your category or market. Use Competitive Analysis to see how you stack up against the competition. Find opportunities to differentiate your brand, product or service. Use Consumer Insights to explore real-time data to glean insights about consumer research, shopping, and purchase behaviours. Make more strategic decisions about your marketing campaigns and ad spending. Use Google Ads Keyword Planner to choose the right keywords. The keyword research tool will help you find the keywords that are most relevant for your business.
- Email marketing. You might think that email marketing is dying or dead, but this is a myth. It remains as the best way to engage. People still open emails. In modern business, email still dominates marketing channels. If you’re thinking about using this proven technique; start harvesting email addresses. This is where you should consider using a CRM system like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp to market prospects that have opted into receiving your email newsletters. And make sure to investigate and follow the requirements of CASL.
There’s no question that, in the modern business landscape, a big part of your operations and marketing strategy is digital. Whether it’s to serve the customer better, to enhance experiences for the customer, or to improve operational efficiencies and exploit previously unseen opportunities, pharmacy retailers are constantly seeking ways to leverage technologies that can help them drive traffic to their stores and loyalty among their customers.
Gerry Spitzner is the founder and principal consultant of pharmacySOS.ca, a Vancouver-based business management consultancy providing strategic operations services focused on drug stores and pharmacies. For more information: gerryspitzner.ca