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Retail pharmacy searches for its top model

Retail pharmacy is seeking changes to the business, but what will be the ideal model?

The retail pharmacy is undergoing massive transformation—some because of business conditions and others are intentional. Retailers are getting squeezed and, as a result, they are closing stores and being more strategic. On top of that, young buyers are partial to online e-commerce outlets, big box department stores and specialty beauty outlets.

But retail pharmacies also have been expanding the role they play in the healthcare ecosystem, offering screenings, immunizations, chronic disease management and more. They also are eyeing a future in which they are more seamlessly integrated with the healthcare infrastructure and rewarded for an expanded scope of responsibility. The only question is: What does that look like?

Our cover story this month takes a look at various scenarios of retail pharmacy’s future—one with pharmacy benefit manager reform, one where pharmacy is a one-stop health destination and one where pharmacists operate at the top of their licensure.

While we were at it, we also took a gander at what pharmacies could look like—literally. Our second feature explores what would be the impact of adding a dynamic look to physical stores. Could it be part of an overall strategy for winning back customers lost to competition online and new concept stores that offer many of the same products and services?

Store design is mostly about the customer experience. Our reporter talked to many sources who believe that stronger interior design concepts could help lure back and capture new customers, especially as traditional pharmacies are poised for a transformative shift to becoming holistic healthcare hubs.

“What the consumer-experience proposition settles on is really understanding the purpose of a place and having a strategic design approach for that specific location,” said Lara Marrero, a principal and retail and consumer experience leader in London for global architecture firm Gensler. “When you understand the ‘why’ behind a place, [meaning] what it is the brand is trying to do in that particular location within the brand fleet, [then] you can ask ‘How can we arrive at a design that really captures that community?’”

More Blog Posts in This Series

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