Here’s how click and collect opens up new opportunities for online pharmacies

by | 18/05/22 | Insights

The emergence of digital retail platforms has led to a flourishing of shopping methods, from door-to-door home delivery to locker pickups, click and collect services and even workplace drop-offs.

Of these options, “click and collect” has become fundamental to the modern shopping experience. It enables customers to purchase goods online before picking them up at a retail outlet and time of their choice. It also empowers retailers with a cost-effective way to distribute orders. 

Convenience is the fundamental driver behind click and collect’s success, enabling a better user experience for consumers everywhere. Among other reasons, this feature is beneficial because it: 

  • Minimises the risk and costs of missed deliveries, stolen parcels and hours spent waiting for their orders’ arrival.
  • Is faster and cheaper than home delivery.
  • Reduces the need for additional labour for businesses. 
  • Saves time spent on customer service.
  • Ensures a level of privacy and personalisation for many consumers by giving them the option to have minimal interactions.

Click and collect represents a form of omnichannel retail that brings together “the benefits of the digital shopping experience…with the instant gratification of same-day store pickup and easy returns,” as one senior analyst said to Reuters.

READ MORE: What digital retail can teach community pharmacies

The roots of “click and collect” 

The origins of click and collect can be traced back to British retailer Argos’ phone- and SMS-based services, and Tesco’s 2011 introduction of click and collect for groceries. Since then, click and collect has surged in popularity, with sales growing in tandem with the global adoption of e-commerce. 

Between 2019 and 2020, click and collect sales doubled, led by enthusiastic acceptance by UK shoppers and merchants. In Ireland, in particular, click and collect is growing in popularity among younger consumers. In 2019, 44% of Irish millennials were expected to use click and collect.

For retailers, click and collect represents a more cost-effective distribution network than home delivery. They don’t have to maintain their own delivery networks or waste resources on postage. Yet, by leveraging their existing brick-and-mortar outlets or partnerships with other outlets, retailers can still offer customers a wide range of pickup locations with little additional investment.

Covid-19 has introduced a new dimension for click and collect sales. This is due to a shift in consumer behaviour towards more socially-distanced forms of shopping. Furthermore, an increasing number of consumers in Ireland are also shifting towards a hybrid working model. This makes picking necessities on the way home from work less convenient. Therefore, giving patients the option of requesting their prescription online, and picking it up in-store is more desirable.


A lifeline for pharmacies  

For many businesses, click and collect was a lifeline softening the decline of non-essential retail sales during lockdown while also bolstering the margins of food businesses. For pharmacies, this feature has played a major role during the Covid-19 global health crisis. Pharmacies, in particular, became centres for community health in light of NHS backlogs. Click and collect ensured consumers were still able to safely access basic medicines without overburdening staff-short pharmacies. It also meant that in-store wait times and queues were reduced, helping staff and patients to socially distance themselves and remain safe.

Despite their reliance on digital tools, pharmacy click and collect features aren’t e-commerce platforms. They are simply digitalising an existing process. As such, they’re ideal tools to create the foundation for an online pharmacy. 

READ MORE: How pharmacies can connect to their community through an omnichannel strategy

Say, for instance, a patient wants to order Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC). Instead of having to go in-store, patients can fill up an online pre-screening questionnaire. This questionnaire is easily and quickly assessed by a pharmacist. The pharmacist can then process the order, leaving the patient to pick it up at their convenience. 

Benefits of click and collect for pharmacies 

Let’s dive a little deeper into the tangible benefits of click and collect for pharmacies.

More revenue, less investment

Pharmacies are increasingly turning to additional services to bolster revenues, but doing so requires significant investments of time and resources. Shifting towards a service-orientated approach could also negatively impact dispensary businesses. This is where click and collect services come in.

By implementing click and collect, pharmacies can generate extra revenue by focusing on profitable, new services. For instance, Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC) and Viagra Connect services can be introduced without adding to the workload of pharmacists.

Cutting out admin stress

Paperwork remains a major burden on pharmacists, with around 98% of surveyed respondents saying they spent too much time on it. With click and collect, responsibility for filling in forms is shifted onto the patient. This means pharmacists can spend less time on tedious admin work. For instance, it reduces time spent helping patients fill in forms, and assessing answers is a far more streamlined process. In addition, it also offers more privacy to patients when filling in these forms, which may be desirable when requesting prescriptions like Emergency Hormonal Contraception or Viagra.

For many pharmacies, less admin also helps them cope with existing staff and skills shortages that currently plague the entire industry. Pharmacist graduates are on the decline throughout the UK and Ireland, but demand for pharmacy services is on the rise.

Opportunities to upsell

The “collect” aspect of the feature can also create more revenue generation opportunities by drawing customers in-store, especially during a time when more sales are taking place online than not. Research has shown that consumers are more likely to spend more money in-store than online, and they’re also more likely to buy more in a physical space. Pharmacies can take advantage of these shopping habits to create ways to upsell their products, but also offer purchase suggestions to complement their existing orders. 

READ MORE: Here’s how digital platforms help short-staffed pharmacies

Prevent customer loss

Increasingly, click and collect is becoming an expectation, rather than a “nice to have”. In the aftermath of the pandemic, a hybrid of online and in-store shopping habits is expected to stick around. This means that pharmacies that fail to implement this service are more likely to lose out on potential and existing customers who may turn to other pharmacies who do offer this service.

By implementing click and collect, pharmacies can not only ensure they keep their existing customer bases, but they can also make the case for their competitive advantage over rivals who do not.

How HasHealth can help  

Implementing a click and collect prescription system can appear deceptively simple. However, many businesses can end up toggling between disconnected platforms in order to process orders, payments and fulfil orders. Having an integrated service can dramatically reduce the stressors of enabling click and collect by bringing every necessary tool onto a single platform. 

HasHealth empowers pharmacies to easily offer click and collect prescription services without the need for additional resources. The solution can be integrated with your existing digital platforms, through which patients can place their orders online, before being taken to a pre-screening questionnaire. 

HasHealth’s end-to-end system also integrates a payments platform, as well as a communications tool to alert patients when their order is ready. Both these services can drastically cut down on time spent shifting between different applications, leaving you with more time to focus on the work that really matters. 

To learn more about how click and collect can take your pharmacy to the next level, book a demo with us today!

Unsplash images courtesy of Sam Balye, Cleo Vermij and Henrik Donnesta.

Offer your customers more

HasHealth offers pharmacies the tools they need to offer click and collect services including integrated payments platforms, collect pre-screening health questionnaires, manage customer records, and more. Book a call to learn how we can help you deliver a better customer experience.

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