Embracing the Future: The Rise of eCommerce in Pharmacy Retail

In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, eCommerce has emerged as a game-changer, reshaping industries, and forever changing the way consumers shop. One sector that is undergoing a significant transformation is pharmacy retail, where traditional brick-and-mortar stores are embracing digital platforms to meet the changing needs and preferences of customers. eCommerce is empowering both businesses and consumers alike, in more ways than meet the eye.

The Shift Towards eCommerce in Pharmacy Retail

Today, consumers expect convenience and accessibility, and eCommerce platforms can help pharmacies fulfill these growing demands. The global online pharmacy sector is estimated to grow by 79.4% between 2023 and 2028. Digital pharmacies offer customers the convenience of ordering over-the-counter products, personal care products and health supplies from the comfort of their homes while also substantially increasing annual revenues and customer reach.

James Dumont, from White Cross Dispensary in Ottawa, Ontario, attests to this transformation. He shares, “Embracing eCommerce has expanded our reach into the global market; it’s directly integrated with our brick-and-mortar business, seamlessly connecting us to a world of new customers and expanding our opportunities to new markets while providing us a substantial increase in revenue in a very competitive market. Looking back, I should have done this 10 years ago.”

Accessibility and Convenience Redefined

One of the most significant advantages of eCommerce for pharmacy retail is accessibility.  Online platforms provide increased sales opportunities as customers are not confined by store hours or travel. With widespread reduced pharmacy store hours due to retail pharmacy staffing issues, an online presence opens the potential for sales late at night or those shopping on their lunch break during a busy workday.

Combining delivery services with your eCommerce in pharmacy retail is now the standard expectation for consumers. The retail delivery market worldwide is projected to achieve a revenue of US$0.60tn in 2024 while the number of users in the retail delivery market is anticipated to reach 1.6bn users by 2028. Retail pharmacies that have delivery or contactless curbside pickup have a significant competitive edge, offering accessibility that is especially beneficial for individuals with mobility issues, chronic illnesses, or those living in remote areas with limited access to pharmacies.

Personalized Care in the Digital Age

While the convenience of eCommerce in pharmacy retail is undeniable, one might wonder if it compromises the personalized care and attention that traditional pharmacies offer, especially given that the role pharmacists play in patient care is ever increasing. With overburdened medical care systems, pharmacies have begun to bridge the gaps in medical services by providing wellness information, preventative health programs, vaccinations, drug consultations and non-emergency services. Offering customers an online alternative for over-the-counter items, frees pharmacists to focus on the customers who come in for more one-on-one interactions and community programs. While adding an online store may be counter intuitive for a busy pharmacy feeling limited on time resources, it may in fact be a way to streamline over the counter purchasing and increase staff availability for more personalized care.

Choosing a Platform and Setting up Shop

Choosing what platform to set up your online store can be overwhelming. There are many platforms to choose from and can involve a large time investment for the initial set up. One hack for pharmacies is to use Point of Sale Software that that gives you the flexibility to sell you to sell on multiple platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, and leading marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay. This type of POS integration allows you to create an inventory list once, and sync item and prices updates to all platforms. This is the quickest way to make sure your products get the most online exposure on the most popular eCommerce platforms, with the least amount of man hours.

Creating an online store, no matter what the platform, requires time and effort to ensure each inventory item with a picture, description, cost, size, unit of measure, vendor code and price. Look for platforms that integrate with eCommerce companies like 24SevenCommerce, who are creating solutions to ease the initial set up process using AI programing.

Streamlined Operations and Enhanced Efficiency

What about synchronizing online and in-store operations?

The right POS System will have integrations that sync inventory and the shopping experience across all channels. Ensure your POS system has integrations with automated systems for inventory tracking and replenishment so that products are always available when customers need them. Let our POS do all the heavy lifting in your inventory management and promotions for both stores. The Auto-Star syncing capabilities go beyond inventory to include the ability to tip, and add shipping charges on your online platform and have it process correctly in the POS. With the real challenges pharmacies face with labor shortages, don’t use precious staff hours needlessly tracking inventory and online charges. A point-of-sale system with the right integrations helps to eliminate discrepancies and enhance efficiency by automatically updating your inventory in real-time when a customer makes a purchase online or in-person.

eCommerce is not just a trend but a transformative force in pharmacy retail, enabling pharmacies to reach new heights of accessibility, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. By embracing the opportunities presented by digital platforms, pharmacies can position themselves for success in the digital age while upholding their commitment to quality care and service. It is time for pharmacies to thrive in the digital era while upholding their commitment to quality care and service.


PharmaChoice Trade Show 2024

Join us at the PharmaChoice Canada Trade Show! May 9 – 11, 2024 Halifax Convention Centre Halifax, Nova Scotia Booth #17 With over 800 locations across Canada, PharmaChoice is Canada’s fastest growing pharmacy banner. Auto-Star is proud to serve many of these unique locations and showcase our point of sale solutions at the PharmaChoice Trade…

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