The digitalization has penetrated all industries, even highly consultative ones such as pharmacies, which also have to comply with many legal requirements. There are large online shops for over-the-counter drugs and ordering apps where customers can pre-order medicines at the pharmacy. However, there are virtually no consistent digital sales concepts. In addition, the Corona crisis poses major challenges for the pharmacy business.
Therefore, the Tassilo pharmacy in the heart of Mattsee is working on an innovation that makes the entire ordering and pick-up process contactless. The small, family-run business proves that it is also possible for small businesses to carry out major innovations.
Innovation for more customer benefit
The innovation process was driven by the customers of the pharmacy. “As a small business, we don’t have the personnel resources for long opening hours. For working customers, it’s often too late to pick up their medication from us after their doctor’s visit in the evening,” says Franz Schätz, responsible for finance and marketing at the Tassilo pharmacy. In addition, the pharmacy wants to provide a digital, but also regional and personal response to the large online shops.
Digitization in the pharmacy sector is not an easy process. Pharmacists check every order to ensure that the medication matches the symptoms and provide advice on dosage and potential risks. A digital process must also be able to do all of this.
Ordering via the pharmacy’s own app
For the digital medication ordering process, the Tassilo pharmacy developed an app. Customers can order over-the-counter or prescription drugs by photographing the prescription or barcode of an old medication package. The app automatically recognizes which medication it is. It is connected to the pharmacy’s processing system and can therefore automatically book an order. Over-the-counter drugs can also be ordered via a search field.
After the order is received, the app informs the customer about the cost and the pharmacy team advises on dosage and potential risks and side effects through the app. As soon as the medication is ready for pick-up, the customer receives a message on their phone.
24/7: Contactless pickup of medication
The pickup of medication can also take place contactlessly. For this purpose, the pharmacy building is currently being renovated. A safe as an extended sales room provides the customers with the goods in pickup compartments via a QR code. This process is also available for prescription medication, although it is still being coordinated with the Chamber of Pharmacists. For this purpose, a scanner was developed that checks whether the scanned prescription matches the order. If they match, the prescription is kept by the safe and the medication is dispensed.
Especially during the Corona crisis, it is important to enable contactless dispensing of medication for the safety of customers and the operational safety of the pharmacy. Therefore, the Tassilo Pharmacy wants to start operating the concept for prescription medication as soon as possible.
Digital additional service for customers in the region
“With our concept, we want to create a significant increase in service for customers in our region. The current process (consultation, professional review…) is simply translated from face-to-face to digital,” explains Franz Schätz. “We are not an online shop for customers from other regions, but offer an additional service for people from the region.”
Personal contact is a priority – an instrument in pandemic times
Testing will be carried out with selected customers in December. The Tassilo Pharmacy aims to start full operation at the beginning of next year. Despite everything, personal contact is still important for Birgit & Franz Schätz and their team. The app only becomes functional after personal activation by a team member at the pharmacy. Users must also come to the pharmacy for consultation at least once every quarter. Personal contact can be complemented but never replaced.