Based on the content of the 2nd Natonal Pharmacy Summit its clear there is an appetite in the healthcare sector – pharmacies in particular – to embrace digital. We found the calibre of the speakers was really excellent, and we were genuinely impressed by the forward thinking content of the event. Topics ranged from “How does technology change the game?” to “How can pharmacists turn shoppers into buyers”.
The common thread on the day was that to survive in today’s competitive climate requires a joined-up online / digital strategy combined with an engaging social media presence.
Catherine Picton (author and pharmacist) emphasised that “Community pharmacists must shift their focus away from dispensing and towards providing health services”. This was echoed by Richard Corbridge of the HSE who talked about the role that community pharmacies will play in a modern health system.
Pictured above at the Pharmacy Summit are Darren Kelly of the Irish Pharmacy Union with Eileen Carroll, Púca Client Services Director.
Why is Mobile Relevant?
The urgency to go digital was underlined by alarming statistics such as “67% of pharmacies feel threatened by customers purchasing their medicine online” from Kathy Maher of the Irish Pharmacy Union. Several of the other speakers picked up on the need to engage locally and in a relevant way, with a particular focus from Peter Doyle and Patrick McCormack (CEO of Sam McCauleys) on using social media to build your brand.
A Mobile-Friendly Online Strategy
The summit included speakers from successful online retailers including Mick’s Garage, Life Style Sports and Littlewoods Ireland, Geoff Scully gave a great talk about how Littlewoods have transformed their operation over the course of the past 8 years from a mail order business to an online retail behemoth. Littlewoods recently completing the transition to “pure online” by cancelling their paper catalogue print-run two years ago.
Geoff mentioned that an astonishing 50% of purchases on Littlewoods are completed on a mobile device, which certainly underlines the importance of a mobile-friendly approach. Gordon Newman fom LifeStyle Sports also shared his experience of using mobile-friendly retail strategies to drive footfall and sales.
One of the key take-aways from the event was that pharmacies need to bridge the “online/offline gap” and engage digitally with customers. Mobile is particularly useful in achieving this because it allows you to connect with customers in a way that is truly personalised, localised and trackable.
It’s easy to start utilising mobile-friendly communications to drive footfall and in-store engagement. Furthermore, if you engage digitally with customers once they are in-store their spending will increase up to 20% according to this recent report from Deloitte. So definitely worth thinking about in-store promotions and digital engagement strategies if you want your customers to increase their spend.