Last mile care is the future of drug stores

LogiNext CEO Dhruvil Sanghvi discusses the growing importance of flexible prescription fulfillment among patients, and how the last mile is increasingly the most important element of fulfillment.

Industries today are giving their operations an overhaul to keep up with the competition. New technology has provided updated tools for customers to shop more conveniently. As a result, the retail landscape is shifting rapidly, and retailers need to adapt to meet their customer’s demand for convenience.

Thanks to medical e-commerce, the way medicine is dispensed and delivered has also changed. A July 2021 LogiNext eCommerce report points towards a rise in 40% of medicine e-commerce sales since June 2020. The use of logistics technology has helped provide retail solutions amid social and physical restrictions, allowing patients to receive their medicine and other drug store supplies, throughout the pandemic.

Studies show, however, that consumers want to continue buying from medical e-commerce platforms even after restrictions have been lifted. Up to 70% of consumers will continue buying medical products online, leading economists to predict that the medical e-commerce market will grow to more than $150 billion by 2025.

To keep up with this demand, Amazon launched PillPack, an online pharmacy that provides a nationwide drug network. CVS also has a prescription delivery membership service that includes free delivery and on-demand deliveries.

Traditional drug stores and pharmacies need to keep up or else they will be left behind. For many facilities, last mile delivery platforms may be the make-or-break technology that keeps them competitive.

Enhanced last mile delivery can provide many benefits to those who need continued access to medical supplies.

Patients undergoing treatment outside of medical facilities may need to utilize telemedicine tools to communicate with their doctors. Their caregivers may also need to constantly run to the pharmacy to restock on medicine and other supplies.

When drug stores utilize last mile delivery, patients have easier access to medicine. Medicinal products can be delivered to their doorsteps on a regular schedule, ensuring continuous supply.

Elderly caretakers can also greatly benefit from last mile delivery. For example, many caregivers need to think about logistical concerns when purchasing wheelchairs, medical beds or patient lifts. Last mile delivery provides the solution. Not only can caregivers have access to more suppliers, but logistical concerns are also taken care of.

What drug stores and pharmacies can leverage against bigger retail companies is the ability to cater to personal connections. However, this can only be done with a good order-management system in place.

The right last mile delivery software can provide drug stores with systems to better manage orders. Their customers can also be provided automatic updates that  result in a great customer experience. They can receive exact delivery times and be updated regarding any potential delays. This leads to better expectation management and bolsters trust among customers.

Order management software also paves the way to flexible delivery options. For example, caretakers may need medications delivered the same day after a patient is discharged from the hospital, but suddenly can’t be at the delivery address. They can immediately change their address or send a note about the best time they can receive the parcel.

A good last mile delivery system allows customers to change delivery information with just a few taps. It also allows drug stores to handle cancellations and returns more easily.

Key Takeaways
Customers are continuing to look for more convenient ways to receive medicine and other supplies. One way for traditional drug stores and pharmacies to keep up is by having better last mile delivery solutions, that include route planning, route optimization, delivery associate management and detailed data analytics.

Pharmacies should focus on scaling their digital infrastructure to meet demand. One solution is LogiNext Mile, which can help pharmacies digitize and optimize order scheduling, customer communication, routing and dispatching.

The reality is that medical retail is going digital. It’s time for pharmacies and suppliers to embrace medical e-commerce and last mile delivery. 

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Dhruvil Sanghvi is CEO of LogiNext and a Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur.

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