4 Challenges Independent Pharmacies Face

Adapting to change is the best course of action

Widespread digitalisation is just one of the challenges that businesses today face on top of already existing challenges like the economic climate and competition. Businesses are now considering new operational strategies as a result of the digital revolution.

One of these businesses attempting to change with the times are independent pharmacies. It’s important to note, though, that these adjustments and difficulties also present fresh chances for growth and brand recognition. In light of this, the following list includes some challenges independent pharmacies encounter as well as potential solutions that might be able to assist them.

#1 Increasing operational costs

Inflation is driving up operating costs for pharmacies, which affects crucial components such as recruiting new employees and managing existing employees, shipping, pharmacy supplies, and more.

Short-staffing is also one of the challenges independent pharmacies face and as a result, this has placed additional burdens on the pharmacy. Existing employees may need to work extra hours to bridge the gap to ensure continuous service for patrons of the independent pharmacy. Struggling financially may also be a huge obstacle that obstructs independent pharmacies from paying their staff additional incentives.

Suggestion: Independent pharmacies can consider reframing or transitioning their store based on best-selling categories to maximise profit. This also entails looking into the demands of the consumers and possibly thinking of ways that will realign the business with the customer’s needs. A focused strategy makes it simpler to plan marketing initiatives and business strategies.

#2 Adapting to the digital environment

Due to the pandemic, a lot of companies switched their marketing strategies to social media platforms such as TikTok in order to make their brands more visible to a wider audience. Additionally, we observed a rise in the number of influencers from various professions, such as doctors, nurses, and others, who discuss their work and what it entails.

Some pharmacists were early adopters of this trend as well. Due to the fact that these pharmacist influencers frequently include branding on their profiles, this significantly increased their following and increased the visibility of their pharmacies.

However, there are still a large number of independent pharmacies that have yet to or are struggling to adapt to these digital trends. It’s theorised that this may be due to the age factor between young and senior pharmacists. Young pharmacists are seen as technologically savvy and are open to digital presence. These qualities may help them adapt quicker in the digital landscape as opposed to old-school pharmacists who may take a little longer to figure out their way around social media.

Suggestion:Independent pharmacies can greatly benefit from social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram’s diverse user base to build their online presence and differentiate themselves from the competition. Independent pharmacies can keep up with trends and deliver their message in an engaging way by observing and implementing popular topics or ideas. These trends can also be cleverly modified to promote the independent pharmacies’ strengths or in-house brands which may not be found in other big-name pharmacies.

#3 Rise of big names in the pharmacy industry

In the current climate, big-name pharmacies or chain pharmacies are gradually taking over the market, leaving only a handful of independent pharmacies available today. It’s a truly saddening fact that is difficult to digest.

In spite of everything, this challenging circumstance has a bright side. Customers still favour services that will make their lives easier and a seamless, straightforward pharmacy experience. Customers appreciate it when pharmacists take the time to speak with them and guide them in choosing the appropriate supplements and medications. That is just one of the many advantages that independent pharmacies have. Therefore, a neighbourhood independent pharmacy that knows and serves its neighbourhood is best suited to offer customers excellent services.

Suggestion: Even though it can be challenging to stay competitive, independent pharmacies that take on this challenge can discover innovative ways to boost their business growth and develop a devoted and loyal clientele. Such ways can include active social media presence and profile, online reviews, websites, and more.

Independent pharmacies can also provide their customers with in-demand services that are more popular, like telehealth services such as Whitecoat 360. Online consultations can be a good avenue for independent pharmacies to explore as many are back in the office for work and rarely have the time to make a stop at the pharmacy.

#4 Keeping Up With the Expanding Role of Pharmacists

Since the pandemic hit, a pharmacist’s role has grown considerably in patient care. Pharmacists now go beyond their existing responsibilities of dispensing medications, providing reliable information on medication administration and safety information to parents.

They are actively involved in educating the public on medicines and various health topics, participating in talks and forums, and being the go-to health source for people in the community.

Suggestion: If you work in an independent pharmacy and are embracing the pharmacist’s ever-expanding role, keep it up! We appreciate you, and we have every confidence that the community does too!

This is a Whitecoat 360 article. Whitecoat 360 aims to bridge the gap between healthcare providers and the community. Looking to increase brand visibility for your independent pharmacy? Join Whitecoat 360 as an advisor! You can check out www.whitecoat360.com for further information.

Sources: Pharmacy Times, WebMD