Optimized customer experiences in pharmacies

The Corona pandemic has not only permanently changed customer behavior, but also customer expectations. A positive customer experience is increasingly important for the business success of a pharmacy and can often only be realized through the interaction of digitalization, personalization and automation.

Markus Prange, Head of Sales D/A/CH at Visplay, sees numerous potentials in cooperation with BD Rowa™ how pharmacies can meet the new requirements thanks to Visplay's systems and products. In the following interview, Markus Prange talks about current market developments and possible solutions from Visplay for pharmacies of the future.

A man dressed in a shirt stands in a bright pharmacy.

1. What can Visplay do for the pharmacy? Until today, they have done many projects, especially in fashion retail.

"Fashion retail has always been a pioneer in terms of the staging and flexibility of spaces and products. We are noticing that approaches and solutions are also clearly gaining relevance in other areas. This starts with the rapid repositioning of shelves, continues with the electrification of shelf and wall structures for lighting, and ends with the adaptation of electronic price labels that draw their power from our current-carrying systems independently of batteries. Visplay offers industry-specific shelving and tray solutions for pharmacies."

2. Virtual shelves, virtual walls, boutique character, automation: what is happening in the world of pharmacies right now?

"The pure prescription business will shift to the micro fulfillment center in the back office of the pharmacy due to div. changes. That's why it's even more important that the pharmacy evolves from the place of the transaction (prescription business) to the place of the competence center."

3. Why do you think the pharmacy of the future will look different from it does today?

"Everything that one expects in a classic pharmacy and presupposes in terms of product range will disappear into the background. This creates space for topics such as skin analysis with beauty products, etc. Things which go beyond the pure need, for which one wishes however a competent consultation. Not to forget the test & vaccination station, which can be quickly set up as needed. It is the logical consequence that if the basic conditions change, the space must also adapt to the new requirements again and again to function differently. In addition to the external perception, the space should also allow for a much more hybrid use. Why not clear out the midfloor in the office and use it for a seminar or information evening? Or even brand the room per season on a special theme, to be perceived externally as a competent partner for this topic?"

4. Visplay makes shelving systems: Why does pharmacy need a system? What direction is this going for pharmacies?

"In the future, it will be even more important to stage the space and the merchandise in a visually appealing way. Not only to be able to react to changes in the product range, but also to highlight focal themes accordingly. Good lighting in the shelves creates an optimal product focus, electronic price tags that can be adapted quickly and with little effort are just as important as clarity in the room concept - here our discreet and timeless systems provide ideal support so that the product is in the foreground and not the shelf or merchandise support system. Other digital media, such as screens, can also be flexibly used again and again in the dispensary and electrified via the system."

5. What is the role of customer guidance/routes defined by shelves/presenters etc. in this context?

"Especially a well and clearly structured office, creates orientation and clarity, a jungle of displays in different sizes, colors and valences rather causes the opposite. It is even more important to create a clear customer approach and guidance with highlight walls and surfaces."

6. Which design aspects are crucial from your point of view?

"You should make sure that everything that makes up the impression of the room for the customer can be changed with manageable effort and budget. By that I don't just mean colours and surfaces, but also the possibility of always being able to adapt the routing and zoning to current needs. Not to forget the shop window, which also underlines the presence of the pharmacy in the physical space outside opening hours."

7. From the customer's point of view, the services provided by pharmacies are essentially interchangeable (or are they?) According to your findings, what is the relevance of the store design solutions you have presented?

"The products are certainly interchangeable to a certain extent, the difference is certainly the competent advice on the most diverse topics, the second opinion complementary to that of the doctor. This should also be reflected in the architecture, here we have various solutions that support this type of room impression. A competent equipment/charisma supports this competence. The goal must be to make the own pharmacy also from the visual perception to the brand."

8. What investments can be expected?

"That's not so easy to answer across the board, but one thing is quite certain, with a good system structure of Visplay, whether on the wall or in the central room, costs can be saved in relation to changes in the room. All systems can be reused in an extension or new build, which is not only sustainable but also saves time and money."

9. What advice do you have for pharmacies in terms of securing the future? How can potentials associate with the design of the pharmacy be identified?

"I would always go for a flexible and not necessarily wall-bound infrastructure, which can always be adapted to future requirements for space and products. With electricity in the shelf structure, you also keep other options open in the direction of digital. Currently, already usable for lighting, electronic price tags or monitors, other applications that require electricity are also conceivable in the future."

10. What else should the reader know about Visplay?

"All systems, including the current-carrying ones, are certified, durable, reorderable and offer maximum flexibility. Simple, even illuminated structures can be easily configured yourself with 2 configurators on our website. The AR function also offers you the possibility to virtually place the shelf you have configured in your room via mobile phone or tablet. With over 80 years of experience in the field of flexible product presentation, we are pioneers in many things. We already presented the solution of being able to operate electronic price tags sustainably without a battery on the shelf at EuroShop in 2017."

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