When Uber first started being a thing, I was a little weirded out by it. On the rare occasion I had to use some kind of car service, I stuck with regular old taxi cabs. But services like Uber and Lyft eventually became more prevalent and mainstream. And, despite my regular habits and remaining reservations, convenience won out. These new services were just plain easier to use.
On a recent trip to Boston, I did find myself in a cab on my way into the city from the airport. I noticed advertisements in the car touting options to use mobile apps to make traditional cabs more user friendly. Basically, it seemed that cab companies are trying to catch up with an industry that was previously leaving them behind.
Making a reactionary change is certainly better than making no change at all, but there's always the risk of it being too little too late. Once a customer breaks an old habit to make a new one, there's a good chance that you've lost them forever. I already have the Uber app on my phone. Am I really going to download another one and learn how to use it when it offers no clear benefit? Probably not.
This is something every business, including pharmacies, needs to think about. Identifying what's coming for your industry and how to best approach solving new needs. Here are three examples of trends we've seen grow over the past year and that we anticipate being even more important in the year to come.
Patient care as a primary business model – The business of pharmacy is no longer about filling prescriptions or selling odds and ends. Patient care and wellness is now a primary focus. Pharmacies that embrace this model can see big returns. Especially if you use a service like the Digital Replete Program with Ortho Molecular Products. When you partner with RMS and Ortho Molecular Products, you get the opportunity to take advantage of an interface that enables product recommendations based upon nutrient depletion caused by prescriptions. It's a win-win as you'll not only provide better patient care but will also improve your bottom line.
Convenience is king – Customers have always wanted things to be easy. The difference today is that there are so many options available, that not going above and beyond can result in a lost customer. That's why services like curbside pickup, or bedside delivery if you're an outpatient pharmacy, are fast becoming the norm. Using a mobile application like RMS' EvolutionPOSV2 tablet helps to take these services to the next level.
Everyone wants it now – As much as we like things to be easy, we also don't like having to wait. This means if you have any front-end merchandise, it's important to keep them in stock. Use your point-of-sale system to monitor product movement. If you have a large front end in your pharmacy, think about using an Inventory Control program to make sure that you don't lose customers over out-of-stock items.
Keeping up with industry trends is a never-ending project. There's always something new to consider and evaluate. But if you don't, you run the risk of being left behind.