Celebrating 5 years in pharmacy
For the last 5 years Storbie has been embedded in the world of community pharmacy. By working with leading suppliers and technology we’ve evolved a website solution to meet the specific needs of this industry, and are proud to power more than 300 pharmacies online.
Having been around since 2007 we’ve helped many independent business owners get started online. But for the past 5 years we’ve turned our focus to our community pharmacies and have partnered up with their biggest supporters to make it easier when translating everything they do into a website. So, let’s wind back the clock to 2016 to see how far the solution has come, what we’ve learned, and where we’re heading next.
Once upon a time, a group of brainy people realised that it was far too tricky for SMEs to get set up online unless they had years of programming under their belt. Thankfully for our customers, this team had exactly that and wanted to help. So, they gathered around their computers with a cup of coffee (or tea as is more popular in the office) and got to work.
That was 14 years ago, and while our story has no princesses or grand battles, those heroes created a code-free system that has since saved thousands of independent business owners from tearing their own hair out over their online presence. Be it motorcycle parts, quilting supplies, or a beautiful dry-aged ribeye, Storbie was able to support whatever ideas our local entrepreneurs had with an easy to manage platform.
But little did we know, there were others who needed rescuing...
Partnering with the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand
In 2016 there were cries of help from the owners of community pharmacies around New Zealand. They knew they needed to get online but translating everything a pharmacy does into a website was a lot easier said than done. It was hard to ignore the change in consumer behaviour and pharmacies wanted to react – suddenly customers had less time to shop in store and the internet was where they were starting their search for solutions to their health problems. Without a presence online our local pharmacies were missing out but when you’re providing health services and selling medication it’s not quite as easy as slapping a t-shirt online and calling it a day.
Our protagonists heeded the challenge and set forth on their noble quest to create a specialised website solution for these pharmacies. As the saying goes, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’, so we used the expertise of those who knew pharmacy best to help us shape the solution. Some of the biggest barriers our future customers had faced with previous website options was the time it took to set up and maintain, complexities that come with pharmacy, and lack of control of the platform. After all, pharmacists are the experts in all things medicine, not in websites and SEO!
So together with the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand, suppliers, and leading POS systems, we rummaged through the ‘too hard basket’. We realised very quickly that majority of our customers wanted a solution that would accurately convey their business whilst requiring minimal setup and upkeep. By creating libraries of content to describe professional services, forming our Supplier Network to keep product information up to date, and working with pharmacy groups, our own customer base expanded, and with it so did the pharmacies’ customer bases. Community pharmacies finally had an easy option when it came to interacting with their patients online that understood their unique needs.
The Moral of the Story
The last 5 years have been a whirlwind, and that’s before a global pandemic threw a spanner in the works (can’t say we saw that plot twist coming). While it can be easy to keep your nose to the grindstone and push ahead, a bit of reflection can give us a new perspective of where we are now and how far we’ve come.
Storbie now proudly supports more than 300 independent community pharmacies with their online presence across New Zealand and Australia. We’ve successfully integrated with both POS systems in New Zealand and work with 4 of the major POS systems in Australia, with more coming soon. Our Supplier Network connects pharmacy websites with almost 60 different suppliers to help take over the bulk of the product maintenance, and we’re actively chatting to more brands to join and represent a wider range of retail products. As well as that, we’ve ticked off some of the most requested platform features – integrating with Google Tools, a booking system for your services, and additional design features including the one and only Hero Slider.
So, what are our biggest takeaways from this unique industry? Glad you asked.
1. Like it or not, change is inevitable
Pharmacy has changed a lot in recent years, and that change won’t slow down now. If the last 20 months have taught us anything it’s to be open to a new normal, even if it isn’t quite what we expected. While no one can predict what changes will come next, it’s a safe assumption that the digital world will play a strong role in shaping the future of businesses.
2. Trust from your community is irreplaceable
Pharmacy is one of the oldest professions there is, and for centuries pharmacists have been at the forefront of supporting locals with their healthcare needs. I’m sure we all have memories of sitting next to the dispensary with our parents waiting for the friendly pharmacist to help us feel better while we eye up a teddy bear on the gift stand. Who else would we trust to help look after the health of our future generations?
3. There's plenty of space online for independent pharmacies
Make no mistake, we’re aware of the big players in the world of online pharmacy, but while they take up a fair portion of the market share, by no means do they control all of it. To be successful online you don’t need to beat these big chains – a lot of the time convenience, great service and a friendly smile will win your customers over. The thing to remember is that you’re not going to get anywhere without putting your name in the mix!
With that, we’ve reached the end of this story, but there’s still plenty more to tell. On the horizon is our vision for Storbie to evolve as a community engagement platform that enables you to strengthen your connections with your local customers.
This includes more design and layout options, integrations with new POS, eScript marketing and loyalty systems, and improvements to our shipping options. So after we’ve put our feet up for a bit over the holiday period, we’ll be right back to work making the best solution for our customers.
Unsure of what a Storbie solution might look like for your pharmacy, reach out to us today to talk about your online presence, whether it is with Storbie already or not!
We’re so grateful to be where we are today, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our customers.
There's more where that came from!
Join our mailing list to keep up with the latest online retail goodness.