Sidebar: Three challenges facing retail pharmacy — and their possible solutions
Sean Burke, a retail industry lead and associate partner at Clarkston Consulting, outlined the following challenges facing retail pharmacy in the year ahead, and suggested solutions for each:
1. Adapting to hybrid retail
The traditional drug store retail model has been largely the same for several decades, so adapting to the new expectations of the modern shopper has been a challenge for drug stores. A digital-first approach and organizational mindset is critical to meeting the demands of the current market and realizing a hybrid model. Infrastructure is also key. Beginning with a digital technology core, and layering on the necessary data and analytics capabilities, are the first steps toward adopting a hybrid retail model.
The solution: Drug stores must invest in the solutions and processes to create an omnichannel presence — the ability to meet and transact with customers across multiple channels and platforms — through initiatives such as an app that allows customers to buy online and quickly pick up in store, search the exact location of a product while in a store, or keep track of their loyalty status with the click of a button. More retailers are also leveraging self-checkout kiosks and experimenting with checkout-less stores, which drug stores could experiment with to improve the store shopping experience.
2. Regulations: Drug Supply Chain Security Act
Increased regulation on the traceability of prescription drugs will also serve as an obstacle for drug stores if they are not prepared. The final stage of the multiphased Drug Supply Chain Security Act, or DSCSA, will take effect on Nov. 27, 2023. Created in 2013 to provide the Food and Drug Administration with more regulatory teeth in the drug supply chain, the DSCSA outlines the steps to building an electronic system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs distributed in the United States.
The solution: Those involved in the drug supply chain need to begin reviewing their policies, processes and systems against the existing guidance to make sure the appropriate DSCSA compliances are in place.
3. Standing out from the competition
With consumers increasingly prioritizing their health and wellness, retail pharmacies will continue to face competition. Brick-and-mortar retailers, subscription services, mail-order companies and online pharmacies are all offering similar products and services and competing for the same consumer business.
The solution: Drug stores need to find ways to remain viable and competitive, such as instituting loyalty programs to enhance the consumer experience and build brand loyalty; investing in technological solutions to create an omnichannel presence and create a better in-store experience; and assessing and evaluating consumer data to adapt and respond to the evolving needs of the consumer.