On this episode of the Pharmacy View podcast, Scott and his guest, Roger Simpson of The Retail Solution, take a look at tech trends that will have lasting impacts in the post-Covid world. A thought leader with more than 25 years’ experience in the areas of retail consulting and training, Roger shares thoughts about how to improve customer service and in so doing boost total retail sales – in particular within the pharmacy space.
Whether it’s artificial intelligence, big data or delivery by drones, all roads for pharmacies lead back to engaging with community. Building on the high levels of trust already present among customers in the health care sector, pharmacies have an opportunity to leverage technologies that will minimize pain points and maximize consumer satisfaction. Roger provides insights about some specific new tools as well as four baseline “must have’s” for retailers who want to thrive in an increasingly tech-influenced world.
Establishing a community identity and attracting customer loyalty entails training in-store managers to be in-store mentors and leveraging sophisticated methods for individualizing consumer information. With today’s tools and training, retailers can increasingly replicate the personalized retail experience neighborhood shopkeepers once offered their customers – with a 21st Century twist.
- A brief introduction to Roger and his background with retail sales optimization.
- Status update with regard to pharmacy retail in a post-pandemic world (online sales have grown dramatically!).
- Bricks-and-mortar recently experienced a surge of customers returning, although store visits are still down overall (especially as domestic travel has increased).
- The challenges of purchasing online versus access to the touch and feel of products associated with the in-store experience. (Hint: Personalized experience is important.)
- Having a seamless online presence is critical in retail and particularly in pharmacy. From browsing virtually to picking up physically, it has to work for the customer.
- News and thoughts about corporate moves at Premier Investments.
- Drone deliveries are already in trials and increasingly will be the trend — especially useful with regard to distributing pharmaceuticals to remote areas.
- Artificial intelligence and big data as game-changers in retail worldwide.
- Personalization as a critical tool in tailoring marketing to individual consumer needs – including needs of which individuals aren’t yet even aware!
- Merchants will be using curated music, scents, mannequins tailored to personal tastes in their question to attract buyers and promote sales.
- 3-D printers will likely impact how pharmacies do business, including the potential production of common or specialty prescription drugs.
- Four things retailers – including pharmacies – should focus on going forward:
- Invest in technology. It’s critical to leverage big data, AI and other strategic platforms.
- Invest in people. Physical retail is far from dead and offers may be strengthened by doubling down on personal touch and training.
- Stores have to look and feel right – removing potential pain points, including lack of immediate information related to inventory.
- Commitment to community. Retailers can differentiate by featuring local products and providing an actual hub of activity for consumers.
- “Online sales have grown dramatically, which is to no one’s surprise, and that trend has continued.” (02:46)
- “Pharmacy is a very competitive industry (and) shoppers have so much choice. We have to remove the friction and make it easy for customers.” (10:11)
- “The future of retail is very exciting but daunting as well because there’s a huge amount premised on technology. If we thought there’s already a lot of technology, just wait a few years and see what happens.” (13:58)
- “In 2030, shopping will feel incredibly personalized … like (they) know me as a close friend or maybe as well as a personal stylist.”(20:43)
- “That’s what community pharmacies are all about: How do I help my community be healthier and stay healthier longer.” (28:56)
Social Media Clips:
- An overview of current positives for retail overall and polling results related to what consumers desire in their shopping experience. (06:11-06:54)
- Technology’s global impact on retail now and into the future. (14:25-15:25)
- How big data will enable retailers to segment out and individualize consumer needs, then cater to them. (18:02-18:30)
- What the future of retail will look like: A store designed just for you. (20:55-21:35)
- Things that Covid has taught us and lessons to learn. (23:00-23:23)
- What specifically technology can help with in terms of community outreach and engagement. (29:26-29:39)
Links for Roger Simpson: