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Is the Rise of Prescription Delivery Services Affecting High Street Pharmacies?

By Maria Hickey on November 8th, 2023

The internet has disrupted many traditional business models, and pharmacies are no exception. With the rise of online pharmacies and prescription delivery services, high street pharmacies face new challenges to adapt in the digital age. 

What should pharmacy owners make of this trend, and how can they continue thriving?

The Appeal of Home Delivery

For many patients, the convenience of getting prescriptions delivered is highly appealing. The benefits of home delivery include:

  • Convenience – Prescriptions are delivered right to your door, saving time and eliminating extra trips to the pharmacy. This is especially helpful for those with busy schedules or mobility challenges.
  • Accessibility – Home delivery provides access to medications for those who have difficulty leaving their home due to illness, disability, or lack of transportation.
  • Medication adherence – Having prescriptions delivered may improve adherence to medication regimens as the medications are conveniently available at home. This is important for managing chronic illnesses.
  • Choice – Many delivery services allow customers to choose when medications are delivered and provide notifications of upcoming refills and shipments. This puts patients in control of their prescriptions.
  • Safety – Delivery prevents exposure to illnesses that patients may encounter at a pharmacy, especially important for immunocompromised individuals. Medications are also securely packaged to maintain safety in transit.

More Than Just Medicines

Some patients also appreciate the expanded product range from online pharmacies. Shelves at high street chemists are often tightly curated due to limited space, but online pharmacies offer wider selections of over-the-counter medicines, wellbeing products, and healthcare devices. 

For customers who know exactly what they need, the simplicity of their local pharmacy may be ideal, but those wanting to browse options may prefer the expanded selections available online. High street pharmacies should recognise this facet of consumer demand and the appeal of broad product choices.

Providing Health Advice 

Where the high street pharmacy retains an advantage is providing personalised care and health advice. Consultations with pharmacists build trusted relationships between patients and their local chemist. The pharmacist offers knowledgeable guidance on the optimal treatments for the individual’s health needs, strengthening community connections. 

Replicating this level of care online is challenging. While some online pharmacies offer consultation services, the impersonal nature makes building patient rapport difficult. For this reason, high street pharmacies should promote this strength of tailored care and familiarity with their customers and community. 

Adapting the High Street Pharmacy

While the rise of prescription delivery services presents challenges, opportunities exist for high street pharmacies to adapt and expand their value. Some pharmacies now offer their own local delivery options for mobility-impaired customers to sustain customer retention.

Many pharmacies are also enlarging over-the-counter product selections to enhance choices for customers. This may demand evaluating store layouts and inventory management approaches to accommodate expanded offerings. 

Pharmacies can also lean into services like medication reviews and health screenings to deepen patient relationships. Ultimately, more time spent providing personal care builds trust and satisfaction. 

Embracing Digital Channels

Adapting to the digital age may mean pharmacies embrace online channels themselves. Developing ecommerce websites or partnering with delivery aggregators opens opportunities to serve customers online. 

Social media also offers pharmacies new avenues for health education and customer communication. With thoughtful use, digital channels provide valuable touchpoints between the pharmacy and community. Blending these technologies with in-person care creates a robust local healthcare provider.  

Protect Your Pharmacy with Insurance

While prescription delivery introduces new competition, high street pharmacies still offer unmatched value through personalised care, health services, and community relations. 

Navigating the evolving pharmacy landscape carries risks. However, with the right preparations, high street phar

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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