distance selling pharmacy

In recent years, the landscape of pharmaceutical sales has undergone a significant transformation. In particular, Covid and social distancing drove more people towards online pharmacies. The rise of these businesses has provided both convenience and challenges for pharmacists in the UK. With the shift towards online platforms, building trust has become paramount for the success of these pharmacies. In this article, we’ll explore essential strategies for attracting patients to your distance-selling pharmacy. We will also help you understand how to build trust among your patients so you can create a loyal customer base. 

Understanding the Landscape

Distance-selling pharmacies offer a convenient alternative for patients to access medications and healthcare products without leaving their homes. However, with convenience comes the challenge of establishing credibility and trust in an online environment. Unlike brick-and-mortar pharmacies, where face-to-face interactions often foster trust, distance-selling pharmacies must rely on digital strategies to build rapport with patients. This is particularly important because trust, or at least brand recognition, may be the only way your pharmacy can stand out from the competition. 

Traditionally, pharmacies were able to compete based on location, it was more convenient to go to the closest pharmacy. They could also compete on service. Many traditional pharmacists pride themselves on great customer service and going above and beyond for their patients. Some pharmacies were able to compete by simply selling products for the lowest possible price as well. The problem with online pharmacies is that they are all equally convenient to access. There is also no interaction with a pharmacist, so it is pretty difficult to go above and beyond with service. You can still compete on price, but with so many online pharmacies competing, you are likely to find yourself in a race to the bottom if that is your only selling point. 

 

distance selling pharmacy

Must-Have Strategies

1. Brand identity

If they don’t remember you, they will never learn to trust you. If you want to build trust among consumers, you need to have a brand. Clearly define your pharmacy’s unique value proposition, mission, and brand personality. Identify what sets your pharmacy apart from competitors and articulate these elements consistently across all online channels. 

This can start with simply ensuring your website uses your brand colours and that your logo is easy to identify and memorable. Once you have outlined your brand, you need to stick to it. That means writing in the tone of your brand, using your brand colours everywhere and keeping your brand identity simply so people will recognise you in future. If you are too busy to do this yourself, we offer a branding service

2. Brand Recognition

Now that you have a brand, you need people to recognise and remember it. This is important because people build trust through relationships. People are inherently more comfortable buying from a business they recognise. That is why branding was created in the first place. 

That means people can’t just see one of your ads or one article about you in the news, they need to hear about you again and again. A great way to do this is through paid social media, display advertising and retargeting. Essentially, you want to show your ads to someone over and over again. This is so important that there is something called the marketing rule of 7. This states that potential customers must see a message at least 7 times before they remember it.

For distance-selling pharmacies, this is especially important. You are asking someone to trust you with a medication they are putting in or on their bodies. If all you have is a website and no brand recognition, the trust just is not there. 

This trust-building process is so important that it is one of the first things we recommend our customers do after getting their site up and running. Just remember that building trust does not always mean getting lots of conversions. You have to build the relationship before you can monetise it. 

3. Outside Verification

Along with brand building, you will want to establish a trusted presence online that is outside of your website. This is made up of reviews and other trusted sources. Positive reviews and testimonials play a crucial role in establishing trust and credibility for your distance-selling pharmacy. You should encourage satisfied patients to leave reviews on platforms like Trustpilot, Google My Business, and Facebook. This is because people who may be thinking of buying from you will often look to these resources to see if you are trustworthy. Make sure to respond to both positive and negative reviews professionally and promptly, demonstrating your commitment to patient satisfaction and continuous improvement. You can also display trust badges and ratings prominently on your website to reassure potential patients of your reliability and quality of service.

4. User Journey Refinement

When a user hits your distance-selling pharmacy website, you are still not done building trust. Aside from looking professional, your website needs to have a great user journey. That means reviewing how people move through your website and making changes based on their actions. 

We have worked with online pharmacies that had long and complicated patient forms. These were discouraging patients and annoying them right when they were thinking of buying. By simplifying these and making them easier to understand, we saw an increase in conversions and fewer people leaving the site in the middle of the buying process. 

That may not sound like building trust but it is part of your business’s overall reputation. You want your customers to think of you as easy to use and simple to understand. 

Need us to look at your user journey? Get in touch.

 

distance selling pharmacy

Time Frames for Attracting Patients

Building trust and attracting patients to your distance-selling pharmacy is a gradual process that requires consistent effort and patience. While there is no one-size-fits-all timeline, the following time frames can serve as a guideline:

  • Initial Setup (0-3 months): Focus on establishing your online presence through initial brand development, SEO optimisation, and brand recognition. Begin collecting patient feedback and reviews to lay the foundation for trust-building. The goal here should be to get as many eyes on your site as possible or at least get your brand in front of as many people as you can.  
  • User journey optimisation (3-6 months): At this point, you should be seeing a steady stream of people hitting your website. Look at how these people move through the site to understand their needs and then make changes based on what you have learned. Invest in creating high-quality content that educates and engages your target audience as well. This will show the people on your site that you are an expert in the online pharmacy world. Plus, if you create helpful content, they will come back just for that. You can also step up your advertising at this point.
  • Review and Refinement (6-12 months): Continuously monitor your online performance, social media engagement, and patient feedback. Use insights gathered from analytics to refine your strategies and optimise for better results. Leverage positive reviews and testimonials to enhance your pharmacy’s reputation and attract new patients.

In the competitive landscape of distance-selling pharmacies, building trust is essential for attracting patients and driving sales. By implementing the strategies we have discussed, you can build trust while also increasing customer awareness of your business. Remember that trust-building is an ongoing process that requires dedication and consistency. By delivering a consistent message repeatedly to your customers and prioritising patient satisfaction, your distance-selling pharmacy can thrive in the digital age.

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